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Of course, all the usual ‘disaster flick’ elements are here in force: the victims vacillate between heroic stoicism, paranoia and absolute hysteria; whilst above the surface a plethora of super-brained scientists and square-jawed heroes combine forces to first locate, and then rescue the hapless day-trippers (who presumably have too much money to spend).
As is the case with most Arthur C. Clarke novels, A Fall of Moondust’s characterisation finishes a distant second to the evocation of ‘grandiose spectacle’. And it is in author’s remarkable descriptions of an arid, airless landscape that we find the true star of the book: the moon itself.
Quite frankly, I lost interest in the fate of the victims early on, instead I found myself pleading for more and more Moon imagery.
Almost certainly not one of Clarke’s best, but interesting nevertheless; its un-taxing approach makes it an ideal distraction for one of those depressingly long train journeys.
The story line is simple - a tourist vehicle on the moon sinks into the lunar dust and there is a race against time to rescue the 22 people on board.
And, er, thats about it.
Pretty formulaic stuff. A few plot twists, but nothing major, minimal characterisation, and no 'wow' factor.
I am being a little harsh - when this book was written in 1960, im sure it appeared far more impressive. But the moon has been demystified, and Clarke's more futuristic works (the Odyssey sequence, Songs of Distant Earth, Rendevous with Rama, to name a few) pack a lot more punch.
Only really worth reading if you have a great desire to read all of Clarke's works.
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