You know who Ben Mezrich is—you just don’t know that you know it. Sex on the Moon is his fifth work of non-fiction in the past 10 years, and the story captured here is easily as memorable as the others. Previously, Mezrich has detailed the famous gang of MIT whiz kids who cheated Las Vegas out of millions of dollars, the shady securities traders who squeezed millions out of the Asian markets, the second set of MIT students to beat Vegas odds, and the version of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook founding that ultimately won three Academy Awards for The Social Network. This time, our anti-hero is Thad Roberts, an ex-Mormon geology student with dreams of becoming an astronaut. But he can’t get to the moon, so he brings the moon home with him. Literally — he gets a job at NASA and spends years planning out how to steal a small collection of authentic moon rocks that are a priceless part of American history.
Despite the end results of extensive jail time and public ignominy, for 90 percent of this story, Thad is a very sympathetic character. He no doubt owes a debt of gratitude to narrator Casey Affleck, whose gentle rasp and easy-going vibe enable listeners to get smoothly swept up in Thad’s ridiculous ideas. Affleck has the advantage of Mezrich's extensive research, as much of the dialogue in the book is verbatim from FBI files or court transcripts. All Affleck has to do is act the part, and he does so with utter believability. Thad’s quest for social acceptance and true love is delivered with such amusing tenderness that Affleck at times elevates this unconventional heist story to real poetry through the almost musical cadence in his voice work. He is a terrific complement to Ben Mezrich's writing, and one must of course speculate on whether Affleck will play Thad Roberts when this weird little true crime story is inevitably adapted for film. Megan Volpert
Thad Roberts, a fellow in a prestigious NASA program had an idea - a romantic, albeit crazy, idea. He wanted to give his girlfriend the moon. Literally.
Thad convinced his girlfriend and another female accomplice, both NASA interns, to break into an impregnable laboratory at NASA - past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways - and help him steal the most precious objects in the world: the moon rocks.
But what does one do with an item so valuable that it’s illegal even to own? And was Thad Roberts - undeniably gifted, picked for one of the most competitive scientific posts imaginable, a possible astronaut - really what he seemed?
Mezrich has pored over thousands of pages of court records, FBI transcripts, and NASA documents and has interviewed most of the participants in the crime to reconstruct this Ocean’s Eleven–style heist, a madcap story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.
©2011 Ben Mezrich (P)2011 Random House Audio
"Movie-worthy treatment to the guy who stole moon rocks from NASA" (The New York Daily News)
"An in-depth look at Thad Roberts, who along with three other NASA interns, stole pieces of lunar rock to impress his girlfriend. Mezrich has done extensive research to recreate the story of how an aspiring astronaut ended up getting caught for stealing over 100 pieces of the moon." (The Atlantic Monthly)
"Mezrich has uncovered another high-stakes, fascinating true story....part love story, part madcap caper, part astro-geekery, the book is one of the summer's most fun reads." (NPR)
I would listen to it again, as long as it was with another narrator. The Kindle text synthesizer has a more engaging voice than the narrators...
Nick Sullivan or somone with a similar voice would have made a much better match, but basically anyone but the current narrator would be bettter.
The story in itself is quite full of moments all through, but sure the moments for the handover are of course the most intense.
It's a shame such an interesting story gets destroyed by such a boring narration, but nonetheless, very much worth a read. If you manage to overlook the narration and concentrate on the story you're in for a treat.
The fact that it is a true story made it hard to stop listening. Loved the main character, Thad Roberts.
The actual heist.
Since I had seen Casey Affleck movies, the narration felt like a movie.
It is probably the first book where I sided with the person who is portrayed as the bad guy - Thad Roberts and disliked the person who is portrayed as the hero - Axel Emmermann.
I collect spores, molds, and fungus.
I wasn't aware that this was a true story and that makes it a bit more interesting. Its an entertaining story although I found the main characters' name ("Thad") a bit annoying. I don't know why. I'm not sure why nobody cared for the narration- I didn't see anything wrong with it though Casey Affleck is a little flat. If you're looking for a light listen for a few hours this is a great choice.
Like all of Ben Mezrich's books, he found a great real life story and that carries the day. Given the way his books tend to become movies, the choice of Casey Affleck to be the reader, though, is suspect and honestly is kind of lacking. I go back and forth on whether it was a good choice. He's NOT a good reader and mostly delivers a throaty stumbling read, but on the the other hand, you can't help but associate his voice with the book's subject and THAT at least is immersive/an interesting characterization, but the voice does get old.
Terrible narration. Reader speaks in half tones like a teenager; has no breadth control and swallows the end of his sentences. Affleck should never be employed as a professional reader. His vocal limitations are a distraction from the story. Just because Affleck is in movies doesn't mean he has training. His narration was a real disservice to the book and the author.
Loved the book! It was a little slow at times but pretty much kept my attention!
Keeps attention. You belive that he is the one who experienced the events.
Yes for both. Ben Mezrich does an excellent job in researching and presently complicated topics in an understandable manner. I am a big fan of Casey Affleck's work as an actor and am glad to see he is sharing his talents with a broader audience.
This is my first Ben Mezrich book.
First his clarify of speech was excellent; no mumbles or swallowed sentences. Secondly, he clearly captured the characters and was able to bring out the nuances of the text by proper voice and tonal inflection.
No - subject was well covered.
AUDIBLE MAKES READING POSSIBLE AND EASY FOR ME...I AM VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I WISH THEY HAD ALL THE BOOKS I WANT I WOULD SNAP THEM UP!
A TEENAGER. THE IMAURITY OF HOW THAD LOOKED AT RELATIONSHIPS WAS WAY TOO YOUNG FOR ME.
THAT HE DID NOT GO IN DEPTH ON HIS RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE IN HIS LIFE. HE SEEMED VERY SUPERFICIAL. RESEARCH ON NASA WAS GOOD THO.
NOT REALLY. HE WAS CLEAR BUT HIS VOICE IS NOT ONE FOR READING A BOOK.
THAD'S WIFE MITE HAVE BEEN INTERESTING IF THE CHARACTER WAS DEVELOPED MORE.
HE WASTED HIS GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR SILLINESS
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