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A Fall of Moondust [Paperback]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 26 1987 Gollancz Classic SF
A science fiction novel, last published in 1995, in which time is running out for the passengers and crew of a tourist cruiser that is trapped in a sea of choking lunar dust, and their rescuers are stretched to the limit by the unpredictable conditions of the alien environment. By the author of THE DEEP RANGE.

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'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

4.0 out of 5 stars
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3.0 out of 5 stars Early Clarke Feb. 27 2004
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Neglected Classic Jan. 11 2010
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Clarke - great fun Jan. 8 2000
By A Customer
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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4.0 out of 5 stars great author..... June 23 2014
By Bootsy Bass TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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