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Fall of Moondust Paperback – Dec 1964

4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (December 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340065885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340065884
  • Shipping Weight: 503 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
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Product Description

Review

'Marvellously convincing' -- Times Literary Supplement

'Sonic superbly ingenious and exciting new twists' -- Daily Express

'The best book yet about man's most dramatic journey, the most exciting science fiction novel for years' -- Evening Standard --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

A brilliantly imagined story of human ingenuity and survival, A Fall of Moondust is a tour-de-force of psychological suspense and sustained dramatic tension. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is one of Clarke's earlier and perhaps not so well-known science fiction novels. It's based on an intriguing idea that was, before the first landing on the moon in the 1960s, perceived as an actual possibility: that some lunar plains, because they appeared to be exceedingly flat and smooth, were composed of extremely fine dust. Such a "sea of dust" would be far more treacherous than any quicksand on Earth, and there was a very real fear that the first lunar probes would sink and instantly vanish into such a sea. Clarke wrote A Fall of Moondust between August and November 1960, and it wasn't until the mid-1960s, when the Luniks and the Surveyors landed on the Moon, that it was proved there were no dust seas there. Clarke had already used the idea of "moondust" in Earthlight (1955), but the original concept was first developed by James Blish, in one of his science fiction stories (as Clarke relates it in the preface to the 1987 edition of A Fall of Moondust).
The story is a psychological thriller in a science fiction setting on the Moon. Captain Pat Harris, "the skipper of the only boat on the Moon," is the pilot of the Selene, which is a dust-cruiser (the only one) on the Sea of Thirst. The Sea of Thirst is composed of moondust, and the Selene is basically a pleasure cruiser for wealthy tourists. Captain Harris, together with the stewardess Sue Wilkins (an attractive and capable young women who is the object of Harris's erotic fantasies), takes the passengers on a cruise across the sea to the Mountains of Inaccessibility and back. But on the way back, disaster strikes (when a huge gas bubble bursts under the surface), and the Selene begins to sink into the dust.
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Format: Paperback
A Fall of Moondust is a lesser-known Arthur C Clarke novel that bears a handful of similarities to Andy Weir's The Martian. Instead of a highly-trained astronaut stuck alone on Mars, however, A Fall of Moondust considers a mixed bag of tourists whose rover gets trapped under the lunar surface. A note of explanation is necessary here: Clarke wrote this novel before much was known about lunar geology, and decided to explore hazards under the popular hypothesis that the lunar surface was covered in meters of extremely fine, conductive dust built up over millions of years of meteorite impacts.

When the rover goes missing, a predictable series of events unfolds: Earth assumes (at first) the tourists are dead, the tourists try to establish contact with the lunar outpost while growing increasingly antagonistic to each other, the rover's backup power and life support slowly begin to dwindle, a rescue mission is launched and aborted after nearly ending in further disaster, etc, etc.

There wasn't too much that was new to me and truly surprising here, but a) Clarke did it first and b) the travails of the lunar expedition are still compelling and (getting past the now-discredited dust hypothesis) grounded in hard science, just as I like it. As with Clarke's arguably most famous work, Rendezvous with Rama, there's not really a strong theme addressed in A Fall of Moondust, so the novel is almost entirely devoted, for better or for worse, to the pure exploration of the scientific concepts. Four stars.
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Format: Paperback
This is hard-science science fiction at its best. Despite the fact that Moondust was written in 1960, years before we had better images of the Moon than were available via large telescopes on Earth, Clarke's characterization of living and working in the lunar environment - except for the presence of widely-scattered pools of liquid-like, fine dust and the absence of of a general covering of soil - is mostly correct. The story, itself, kept my interest and has aged well. Parallels with the Apollo 13 accident add interest. A neglected classic.
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By Bootsy Bass TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 23 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Any book by Mr. Clarke is worth reading. The fact that this was written in the early 60s, before man made it to the moon, makes it even more fascinating. There even could be vast oceans of dust, like water on the earth, as Mr. Clarke makes reference to in a forward written for a mid 80 s edition.
Good well written classic science fiction.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A genuine classic. As many twists and turns as a modern day action thriller, with the intelligence we expect from AC Clarke. In addition to interesting science facts, as with any great story, the characters are the key. This story has it all. It is a fun and exciting story that is hard to put down once you get started.
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