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A Fall of Moondust | [Arthur C. Clarke]

A Fall of Moondust

Time is running out for the passengers and crew of the tourist cruiser Selene, incarcerated in a sea of choking lunar dust. On the surface, her rescuers find their resources stretched to the limit by the mercilessly unpredictable conditions of a totally alien environment. 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 by the field's foremost author.
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Publisher's Summary

Time is running out for the passengers and crew of the tourist cruiser Selene, incarcerated in a sea of choking lunar dust. On the surface, her rescuers find their resources stretched to the limit by the mercilessly unpredictable conditions of a totally alien environment. 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 by the field's foremost author.

©1961 Arthur C. Clarke; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (108 )
5 star
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4 star
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4.0 (64 )
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Story
4.2 (63 )
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2 star
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  •  
    J. Rhoderick Frederick, MD USA 04-15-10
    J. Rhoderick Frederick, MD USA 04-15-10 Member Since 2010
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    "A quick, fun read that entertains as it teaches"

    A Fall of Moondust is sci-fi disaster story that begins by placing a group of people in an impossible situation and follows along as they attempt to survive while awaiting rescue. It is a lot like the popular Discovery Channel show "I Shouldn't Be Alive," or stories like those depicted in the movie "Alive," although much less dark. Clarke's story is unique because of its setting. The Moon, and space is general, is harsh. Life is not suited to its extremes and the challenges we encounter there are vastly different from those we face here on Earth. As with Clarke's other stories, and as is common in disaster stories, the characters here are participants in the story rather than the focus of it. The real star of the show is the Moon and perhaps even the deadly moondust itself.

    A Fall of Moondust was published in 1961 and it sometimes shows. The social mores reflect the time period and there is an obvious lack of computers, as if the 1950s had progressed into the 21st century without any further advances in computing technology. Regardless, Clarke certainly foresaw the future, and this novel is probably more relevant today than it has ever been before. With the recent discovery of water on the Moon and with NASA's plan to establish a lunar outpost there, the Moon may soon become a staging point for exploring the solar system and, yes, even a tourist destination. My biggest gripe with this story is that it wraps up a bit too quickly at the end. Many of the characters simply disappear and I didn't feel as if I was ready for the end. The narrator was quite good. His cadence and intonation were perfect and foreign accents were well done.

    A Fall of Moondust is a simple story and, while it may not be Clarke's best novel, it is a quick, fun read that entertains as it teaches. It is essential reading for Clarke fans and for anyone who enjoys settings in space. Soon enough, we may find this setting more real than Clarke could have imagined in the 60s.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean 04-19-10
    Dean 04-19-10 Member Since 2009

    a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.

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    "A three hour tour gone wrong."

    A short action triller set in the near future moon. Complete with settlements through the solar system. A simple three hour tour goes a bit wrong....and they are not stuck on an island with Gilligan. The story would make a great fast paced action movie...sort of a posidon adventure, a very fun read.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 12-03-11
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 12-03-11 Member Since 2010

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

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    "Old Fashioned Science Fiction"

    No aliens in this one. No ancient artifacts.

    This is as if we actually had people living on the Moon. There is nothing far fetched about it. You actually feel like we could live on other planets. In this story we see what that would take. AC takes no easy ways out. It is a fast paced story with chapters that end with teasers. It totally captured my attention.

    No one writes science fiction like this these days. Bova and Baxter come close. It is probably harder to write stuff that could be true, that is well researched then to make up stuff. AC keeps you entertained without the bells and whistles of modern day authors. There is no character development here. There is a small attempt at romance, but it is basically science and at eight hours it is the right size.

    A couple of small problems, like the first time the boat sinks it stays horizontal (what are the chances of that?). And we never hear how bad it must smell in a enclosed area with lots of people for days and no shower. And I am pretty sure there is no dust deep enough for a boat to sink in, but ??

    If you like science fiction with lots of science then you will love this book. It is also a great adventure.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Conrad Halling Somerville, MA 12-30-10
    Conrad Halling Somerville, MA 12-30-10 Member Since 2008

    Conrad Halling

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    "Interesting But Dated"

    Clarke clearly did a lot of research before writing this novel, and his writing is intelligent and well-organized. As usual with Clarke's novels, the emphasis is on technology, not people, and the characters are cardboard cutouts with no real personalities.


    Much of the novel is out of date. We know now that there are not seas of dust on the Moon. Sexism is overt, and the purpose of women in the book is seemingly only to serve men. All scientists and engineers in the book are men. This reflects the cultural attitudes of the early 1960s (as reflected in the "Mad Men" television series).


    As another reviewer commented, Clarke completely missed the development of computers and other electronic devices. I was amused by one scene in which the passengers of the stranded vessel gather together their reading materials, which include a couple of paperback novels and a newspaper. No one is carrying a Kindle-like or iPod-like device for reading or listening to books.


    Despite these flaws, the story is still entertaining as Clarke moves logically through the consequences of the sinking of a boat-like vessel under several meters of dust and the difficulties of finding the vessel and rescuing the passengers.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 10-28-12
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 10-28-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Excellent, would be a great disaster type film"

    This is I think the best of the early Clarke. I enjoy all of his novels in general, but this is the culmination of the early ideas and writing style. With a minimum of updating this could be filmed as is and would make for a great Poseidon Adventure type disaster film. At one time a film was proposed I believe and it could be done. Turn up the tension between characters a bit and update some small items and it's ready to go. I've read it 2 or 3 times and listened to it twice now and enjoyed it each time. Very realistic, not the symbolic and poetic style of Childhood's End, which is the best of the other branch of Clarke, excluding 2001 which is as much Kubrick as Clarke. Just recommending Moondust to a friend and she enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger 08-22-14
    Roger 08-22-14 Member Since 2012
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    "A worthless story from a legendary author."
    What would have made A Fall of Moondust better?

    Nothing could have made this story better. I deleted the book after several chapters.


    What was most disappointing about Arthur C. Clarke’s story?

    Example: "everyone take their clothes off...". A consistent theme starting ten seconds into the book. It's a shame you can't have a book that is just good clean fun.


    What three words best describe Oliver Wyman’s performance?

    Good.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Fall of Moondust?

    Too many to list, see "disappointing".


    Any additional comments?

    Audible should employ a credible rating system. This would help to avoid a purchase of a book that is unusable, a waste of time and money. By the way, this book did not actually qualify for the one "star" I had to give it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George SANTA FE, NM, United States 08-06-13
    George SANTA FE, NM, United States 08-06-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Fun Read"

    A story about a rescue in difficult conditions; well researched, well played. Another good sci-fi by Arthur C Clarke.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Newcastle, Australia 02-21-13
    Ian Newcastle, Australia 02-21-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Classic old-time SF"

    I read this in print as a child, and it has always stuck in my memory. Listening to it again now, it didn't disappoint. I'll confess to being a lifelong Clarke fan, but somehow I never got around to reading this one again. You need to allow for the fact it was written over 50 years ago, at a time when people were still dreaming about ever getting to the moon. Once you can do that, it becomes a good space adventure which is fairly realistic given the extent of knowledge at that time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry Piney Flats, Tennessee, United States 09-01-12
    Jerry Piney Flats, Tennessee, United States 09-01-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Clarke Does It Again!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to A Fall of Moondust the most enjoyable?

    First of all, Clarke has alway thought out the 'facts' of his worlds and his storylines. Who would have thought of sand behaving like a liquid? But then, Clarke was and is, foremost, a scientist and physicist who worked with NASA for many years and is one of the smartest people on this planet. I abosolutely love everything he writes, and a Fall of Moondust is imaginative,shows good character development as well as some suspense.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The tour guide service, where they were actually taking passengers on outings across the lunar surface on sightseeing tours!(ala Gilligans Island in this case)


    Which scene was your favorite?

    After the quake, the boat is sinking, and the Captain, not wanting to alarm his passengers, says, "I don't believe there's anything wrong yet, we can get out of this"


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    "Under the sands of Luna...nobody can hear you scream.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Edinburg, TX, United States 07-18-12
    Amazon Customer Edinburg, TX, United States 07-18-12 Member Since 2006

    texas_bookworm

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    "A bit subpar for Clarke."

    Although it was first published in 1961, this novel resembles the "disaster movies" of the 1970s, such as "Poseidon Adventure," "Towering Inferno," and "Earthquake." Except for the distressed vehicle being a "moon bus," this could easily be a submarine trapped under the sea, an airplane unable to land, a speeding train without brakes, or any of a number of other Earth vehicles in distress.

    While I stand in awe of Arthur C. Clarke as a writer and a futurist, this novel just simply does not come close to the greatness of "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Rendezvous with Rama," and "Childhood's End," three of the best SF novels ever written. The writing is good, Clarke's hard SF approach is present, but the story suffers from stilted characters, predictable situations, and one too many "cliffhanger" plot twists at the end.



    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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