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Moonfall [Mass Market Paperback]

J McDevitt
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 19 1998

It's the 21st century, and all is right with the world. Or so it seems.

Vice President Charlie Haskell, who will travel anywhere for a photo op, is about to cut the ribbon for the just-completed American Moonbase. The first Mars voyage is about to leave high orbit, with a woman at the helm.Below, the world is marveling at a rare solar eclipse.

But all that is right is about to go disastrously wrong when an amateur astronomer discovers a new comet. Named for its discover, Tomikois a "sun-grazer,"an interstellar wanderer with a hundred times the mass and ten times the speed of other comets. And it is headed straight for our moon.

In less than five days, if scientists' predictions are right, Tomiko will crash into the moon, shattering it into a cloud of superheated gas, dust, and huge chunks of rock that will rain down on the earth, causing chaos and killer storms, possibly tidal waves inundating entire cities...or worse: a single apocalyptic worldwide "extinction event."

In the meantime, the population of Moonbase must be evacuated by a hastily assembled fleet of shuttle rockets. There isn't room, or time enough, for everyone.And the vice president, who rashly promised to be last off("I will lock the door and turn off the lights"), is trying to figure out how to get away without eating his words.

In Moonfall,McDevitt has created a disaster thriller of truly epic proportions, featuring a cast of unforgettable characters:the reluctant Russian rocket jockey entrusted with the lives of squabbling refugees; the woman chosen to be first on the moon; the scientist who must deflect the "possum" (POSSible IMpactors) knocked from orbit or witness the end science itself. And at the center of it all is Charlie Haskell, the career politician who discovers his own unexpected reserves of only himself and his country, but for all humankind.

Moonfall,is a spellbinding tale of heroism and hope, cowardice and passion played against the awesome spectacle of human history's darkest night.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Over the last few years, Jack McDevitt has quietly been producing an outstanding collection of science fiction novels. Earlier works such as The Engines of God and Ancient Shores had a thoughtful, archeological-exploration bent, but with Moonfall he takes off the gloves to create a splashy, near-future science fiction thriller with a big cast of characters and a do-or-die attitude. At the center of the story is Charlie Haskell, the U.S. vice president, who in 2024--an election year--has arrived at the American Moonbase to cut the ribbon and declare it operational. But there's a problem, and it's a doozy: a "sun-grazer" comet, with immense mass and speed, is on a collision course with the moon. Haskell, with an eye to his public image, puts himself at the bottom of the evacuation list. But time grows critically short, and soon more than his political future is in jeopardy--broken chunks of moon will begin exploding outwards. If they reach Earth, some of the chunks are big enough to cause an extinction event. McDevitt pays attention to his science while revving the action, and the stakes couldn't be higher: Haskell's choices will decide who lives and who dies--if anyone survives at all. --Blaise Selby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Racing neck and neck with doomsday, this breathless near-future thriller pits young, single and politically hopeful U.S. V.P. Charlie Haskell and a gigantic international cast of heroic helpers against an interstellar comet that blows the Moon to lethal smithereens and threatens to wipe out life on Earth. Just before the comet is spotted, cancer-riddled President Kolladner dispatches Charlie to the ceremonial opening of the U.S.-led commercial Moonbase, setting Charlie up for a spacewalk into destiny. Loaded with flaming action and fortified with characters from today's headlines, the novel hurtles cinematically from one point of view to another so rapidly that the characters, except for Charlie, tend to blur into one another. After McDevitt explodes the Moon midway through the novel, fearsome tsunamis wreak havoc on both American coasts. With a murderous gang of rocket-hating backwoods militants thrown in for a whisker too much good measure, U.S. know-how and rough-riding true American grit save the day on the ground. In space, Charlie faces more perils than Pauline did?and loses some of his credibility as a result. Overall, though, McDevitt's scrupulous research and ability to bring the arcane intricacies of space engineering within the grasp of the earthbound make this a fine-tuned disaster to remember.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling sci-fi romp June 14 2006
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Good science fiction is just fun to read. In Moonfall, Jack McDevitt has given us a gripping, enjoyable story that held this reader's interest throughout. I don't know if all of the science presented herein is wholly believable, but the author certainly makes it sound plausible. The main characters are inherently interesting, especially Vice President Haskell; McDevitt actually makes the prominent politician very human, noble, and heroic. The story is an exciting twist on the old planetary catastrophe theme--rather than have a comet hit the earth, McDevitt has a comet hit the moon. That major event is really just the start of the action, though, as earth finds itself having to confront the effects of that spectacular explosion. The race to evacuate the newly established Moonbase and then to find a way to avert a potential extinction event on the earth is thrilling and happens in the context of a dramatic, well conceived pace.

While the "macro" story was riveting and well-done, the "micro" stories were slightly problematic. The events are related in a chronological fashion, with constant shifts from one scene to another and back again. It was hard to remember exactly who some of the secondary characters were, and some of them, especially those being employed to relate the devastating events happening on the earth, hardly seemed to belong in the story and, in a couple of cases, seemed to be left dangling at the novel's end. Many of the main characters reacted to events in ways I would not have anticipated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Novel Twist on Well Trod Ground June 12 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Do you remember the body changer movies of the '80's? You know, where a father and son swap lives for a week or so? There were a bunch of them, all bad, until Tom Hanks came out with "Big."
This book is "Big."
Same ground as "Deep Impact", and "Meteor", and that Bruce Willis film that best remains nameless, but Mr. McDevitt takes a Tom Clancy approach and has the comet destroy the moon instead of the earth with the fall out of the moon debris being dealt with with a cast of wonderful, well written characters, and a plot that keeps you at the edge of your seat to the very last page.
I've rarely read better fiction than what Jack McDevitt is putting to paper. Almost every book has it's own unique style and so far, they all are wonderful!
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I first saw this book, I thought, "Gosh, a meteor hitting the world. How fresh and new," and then rolled my eyes. It took me a second to clue in that the meteor was impacting the moon, not the Earth. At which point I thought, "Well, slightly different, but still likely to be pretty similar."
This wasn't the case. First off, Jack McDevitt's strength lies in his characters. There are a wonderful range of characters in this book, and you don't have a clue who will survive. That's another strength: the plot is not predictable, and the mortality rate is plausible given what is going on.
Set slightly ahead in the future, man has finally opened a base on the moon - just in time for the moon to be in the way of a high-speed meteor. Spotted by accident by an amateur astronomer (one of the only overdone "Seen-it-before" moments of the book), there's a kind of panic pace to the first half of the novel as the people of the moon try desperately to get back to earth and the orbital stations that support the colony.
The second half of the book deals with the fallout - having the moon shattered is even worse than the single meteor, as now the shards of the moon are threatening to fall from the sky...
Throughout this high-paced background however, it is the characters who shine through this novel. It was the first McDevitt I'd read, and it launched me on a McDevitt jag for quite a while after. Give it a shot - there are no Aerosmith soundtracks to make it hurt.
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5.0 out of 5 stars McDevitt's Best -- Exciting and believable May 23 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Forget "Armeggedon". Forget "Deep Impact". This is THE space/disaster book that SHOULD have been made into a movie. Jack McDevitt's "Moonfall" presents the reader with a gripping plot, solid character development, and cutting edge "hard" science fiction.
From the opening of "Moonbase" to the final hair-raising solutions, this book is not to be missed.
From the coattail-riding Vice-President who wants to be a real hero; the chaplain (yes, unlike many SF writers, McDevitt is not ashamed to recognize that most people have and need a faith) who truly discovers his own faith; the young wife who discovers that her "Casper Milquetoast" husband is far more of a hero than she ever believed; to the brilliant young scientist who finally discovers the solution which may save the planet, McDevitt's characters are deep and believable.
Finally, McDevitt's science is plausible. This is not a novel of the 24th century; rather it is set in the mid 21st century, using technological concepts quite feasible in the near future.
Of all the McDevitt books I own and have read (5), this one is my favorite. Buy it -- you won't regret it.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A Beach Book
OK, I read this 500+ page book in two days. But, it was like "Airport" in space. I knew that almost everyone would live happily ever after and I still turned page after... Read more
Published on Dec 27 2003 by D. McCaf
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable!
It's not that the book itself in unbelievable. What is unbelievable is that a modern writer could make such a wonderful story out of what anyone would say a priori was going to be... Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2002 by Richard F. Grantges
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
This book is simply boring, looks like the script for the next independance day. It should make a lot of money with Hollywood
Published on March 7 2000
2.0 out of 5 stars No real surprises
A few years ago I read a book called A TALENT FOR WAR by this guy called Jack McDevitt. I read the whole thing in a day and it has been one of my favorites ever since. Read more
Published on March 6 2000 by Terry Gibbons
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading
I enjoy catastrophe books, especially dealing with cataclismic natural events. This book about a comet smashing into the moon, with subsequent large chunks of the moon threatening... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 1999 by Brian Kelley (
2.0 out of 5 stars FAST TO PEICES...
I picked up and put down this book in one day. I read from cover to cover and when I was done, I gave it away... with a warning, this book misses the mark by a long chalk. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good book
I liked the premise - tidal waves caused by a comet exploding the moon. What I did not understand is why the author continued to introduce new (and minor) characters up until the... Read more
Published on Aug. 12 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Bland, disappointing
The book cover describes "Moonfall" as "the Titanic in space." The Titanic was a predictable kid's movie. What does that say about this book? Read more
Published on July 31 1999 by Kenneth R. Bridges
5.0 out of 5 stars Moonfall gives rocks-hitting-Earth a swift kick
Fellow Amazonians may have read my previous 1-star review of Lucifer's Hammer...And after reading Moonfall, I'll stand by that rating AND the 5 stars I give Jack... Read more
Published on May 16 1999
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