- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (14 Mar. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0575073179
- ISBN-13: 978-0575073173
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 19.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Fall of Moondust (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 14 Mar 2002
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... this adaptation cranks up the tension effectively --Bournemouth Daily Echo, February 29, 2008 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
¿The best book yet about man¿s most dramatic journey, the most exciting science fiction novel for years¿ Evening StandardSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
It's a simple enough idea but the novel setting and details are brilliant. Think of the consistency of the dust, the lower gravity meaning that it hangs in the 'space' above ground when disturbed, the vacuum and cold hampering rescue efforts. Every idea we can think of is shot down for some reason and the challenge inside is to stay calm. The passengers have two books, and elect to read aloud 'The Orange and the Apple', a saucy tale of a meeting between Isaac Newton and Nell Gwynn. That kind of little human detail is enough to bring them alive and make us care about the rescue.
Yes this is dated now, but it's great fun and not too long. It's a good read.
Is it fair to criticise a novel that is now more than fifty years old for seeming dated? Probably not, though the mere fact that I offer the thought is a testament to how well Arthur C Clarke's other novels have survived the passage of time. I do recall thinking this novel was marvellous when I first read it as a teenager, yet a little of that glow was absent now.
The basic story is, as so often with Clarke, beguilingly simple. At an unspecified date in the 21st century man has colonised the Moon, and some of the wealthiest citizens now spend their holidays there. Several of them have gone for an excursion in the Selene, a specially designed craft which skims across the dust filled 'seas' of the moon offering fantastic view of earth dominating the lunar skyscape. By great misfortune, Selene's passage over the dust bowl coincidence with a 'moonquake' which causes an underground cavern to collapse. The disturbance causes Selene to be pitched down into the chasm where it is immediately covered by tones of fine silicon dust which, as well as smothering the ship and hiding it from vie, also render radio contact impossible.
The rest of the story revolves around the attempts firstly to locate and then rescue the Selene. Clarke always pitched his stories in the realms of the scientifically plausible and unlike many science fiction writers, he had a great understanding of human relations. His characters are always utterly believable, regardless of the outlandish circumstances in which they might find themselves. Here he gives us a varied list of passengers from different walks of life back on earth, including, fortuitously, ex-Commander Hansteen, one of the leading space navigators of his generation, who happened to be visiting the Moon in his retirement.
The sense of datedness arises partially from the attitudes of the characters. The all-pervasive male chauvinism is, no doubt, a reflection of attitudes prevalent at the time it was written, but that does not hold true for most of Clarke's other works. I also felt that he might have dashed this off rather quickly - it displayed an uncharacteristic ponderousness that left if feeling more like a latest draft than the finished article. Despite these doubts, I enjoyed rereading it, but this is clearly not a work in the forefront of what is generally an outstanding portfolio from one of the masters of the oeuvre.
This is my first novel by Arthur C. Clarke, and as I enjoyed the style of writing immensely - will certainly not be my last!
I found this book easy to read; enjoyable, and with just about the right amount of suspense to keep me satisfied without all those over-long and invented words and names that become so tiresome in this genre... About the only criticism (and it is small) that I would have, is the fact that there was not enough story before the big 'accident' outlining life as it is on the Moon. I would have liked more background to day-to-day living by the Moon's inhabitants to begin with - but it seemed to me the Author appeared a little too eager to get into the 'life threatening' and crisis situation part of the story way too soon...
However; a very enjoyable read indeed that I could recommend to any SF fan.
NOTE: 'SF Masterworks' series has some of the finest examples in this genre, and I find do stunningly attractive artwork for their chosen titles, but the quality of these Editions leave a lot to be desired... The print, though bold is poor somehow; there are numerous spelling errors, missing or duplicated words - and even the print is not the same size throughout! It's also a bit small too for my liking - but I'm always 'seduced' by the outstanding and enticing artwork!
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