Moonseed Hardcover – 3 Aug 1998
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Stephen Baxter established himself as a major British sci-fi author with tales of exotic, far-future technology. More recently, in Voyage, Titan and now Moonseed, he shows his love for the hardware of the real world's space programme. (Comparisons with Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff have been frequent.) Moonseed is a spectacular disaster novel whose threat to Earth comes from a long-forgotten Moon rock sample carrying strange silver dust that seems to be alien nanotechnology--molecule-sized machines. Accidentally spilt in Edinburgh, this "Moonseed" quietly devours stone and processes it into more Moonseed. Geology becomes high drama: when ancient mountains turn to dust, the lid is taken off seething magma below. Volcanoes return to Scotland, and Krakatoa-like eruptions spread Moonseed around the world... A desperate, improvised US/Russian space mission heads for the Moon to probe the secret of how our satellite has survived uneaten. Baxter convincingly shows how travel costs could be cut, with a hair-raising descent on a shoestring lunar lander that makes Apollo's look like a luxury craft. The climax brings literally world-shaking revelations and upheavals. Moonseed is a ripping interplanetary yarn. --David Langford
‘The best SF author in Britain’
‘Good science by someone who knows what he is talking about’
‘Baxter recalls the most visionary moments of Wells and Clarke’
‘Tom Clancy meets Tom Wolfe’
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Top Customer Reviews
The gradual disintegration of the Earth by the Moonseed makes a great plotline that Baxter follows through to the exciting finale. A great yarn. The sort of big book you take on holiday expecting to get halfway through in two weeks but then find yourself finished after two days of through the night reading. Few other books have done this for me - Clancy's Red Storm Rising and Sum of All Fears, Greg Bear's Eon, Asimov's Foundation series are among the few others.
A word of warning though. Baxter doesn't seem to have a wholly consistent style across his books. I have just finished his novel Time and was frankly disappointed. He seemed to have a good idea that ran out of steam halfway through and resorted to hard sci-fi as a means to get through to the end with that one. But Moonseed is excellent and a thoroughly recommended read.
And there is more again: the disaster is not all. Another aspect of 'Moonseed' is space. Space: the exploration of it, and the journeying into it. Space is of huge importance to 'Moonseed', because from space comes the disaster, and to space travels a scientist in an attempt to provide a solution. Baxter draws up (via careful real-life research) an audacious, rough-and-ready, and highly dangerous mission to the Moon, twenty or more years after the Moon missions have ended.Read more ›
The idea of the book, Earth being destroyed by the introduction of an exterestrial bacteria, is truly scary. The way Baxter handles the destruction and fear in the population is beautiful.
So, your wondering why only the four stars. The answer is simple. The end is a let down which leaves a sour taste in your mouth just when you should feel great. It's not that what happens is bad, just that it's not given its full justice. It's rushed, nothing more. More description and explanation would have been welcome.
But don't let this put you off too much. this is still a great book using great science and is well worth reading.
The story flows really nicely and would appeal to non sci-fi readers. This is one of my favourite books of all time and I hope to have many more years reading it.
The opening few chapters are typical of Baxter, and the action/mystery starts very quickly with a big capturing event in the first few pages. I found myself instantly engrossed in a story which rapidly spirals to encompass the whole planet, and show how different people deal with different events. The scale of some of the events range from small families up to entire countries and even planets. I did however find that by the middle of the book it felt as though we were running out of steam. Random characters were introduced, to disappear or be killed a few pages later. Action sequences (no doubt designed to instill the sense of catastrophe) would often be short to a few paragraphs and I got the sense that we were rushing through the action.
Whilst some of the characters are explored in depth and you get a real sense of who they are, and what they care about, others are seemingly introduced as fillers. To complete a narrative task which hints at a large back story, but sadly we never get to explore or fully understand.
All in all I enjoyed this book and as per usual, it was a fun and easy read. The science is explained well and concepts are grand. It was let down by feeling rushed, particularly towards the end of the book to its epic conclusion. And after the climatic ending (I won't say what happens for spoilers) it felt as though it was approaching, came, and went in no time at all. A good book, but not without some surprising faults.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved the geological aspects of this novel, whilst the plot is incredible, Baxter makes the story seem plausible-the best of the trilogy: it can be read as stand alone.Published 13 months ago by starflash quilts
Slightly less apocalyptic science fiction based on geology! Although like many of Baxter's stories the whole world is ending, this has a clever twist that finishes the story on an... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Salsatap
The end seemed rushed; we suddenly started skipping five, ten years at a time. Would have been better to have written a second book instead of summaring the end: there were a lot... Read morePublished on 28 Nov. 2013 by meadow55
I enjoyed it but it seemed to take so long to get where it was going. The characterisation didn't really work subtly enough to make them matter as individuals.Published on 14 Sept. 2013 by J. Farrar
The idea behind this book is an interesting one an has been outlined by other reviewers. However I found myself checking how many pages I had left to read as at time it felt like a... Read morePublished on 3 Feb. 2013 by Spen
I have tried a few Stephen Baxter books and I don't think i'll be trying many more. The basis of this is the interesting concept that humanity will be forced to evacuate the Earth... Read morePublished on 12 Nov. 2007 by Zaphod Beeblebrox
Moonseed is a strange novel, reading like a collision between Baxter's usual hard-SF style and the sort of set-pieces (and clichés) one would expect from a typical 1970's... Read morePublished on 25 Mar. 2006 by Jane Aland