©1961 Arthur C. Clarke; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
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.
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.
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
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.
I am already a fanboy of Arthur C. Clarke, so i already loved this book. I thought the reader did a great job, very clear at a good pace, and the way he changes into the characters when they speak was not overly done, but natural sounding. Overall highly recommended.
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.
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.
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)
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"
"Under the sands of Luna...nobody can hear you scream.
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.
Arthur C Clarke is one of the greats of the genre, and while A Fall of Moondust isn't his outright best work, it still easily passes the quality bar for me. Clarke is a smart writer with a mind for detail. Injections of intelligent imagination such as his descriptions of the static-induced glowing wake behind Selene remind the reader of the author's chops. It was enjoyable to find that Clarke rose to the expectations I have of good Sci-Fi.
I also found the novelty of the setting enjoyable. There's an old-school charm to the idea of a lunar pleasure cruise sinking in a sea of fluid dust. We were concerned that this might be a real hazard before Apollo 11 reassured us that the surface is pretty solid (eight years after this publishing). This is how the future was imagined in the mid-20th century and I love it. People on the moon communicating with "tele-fax." Awesome.
I loved the descriptions of Selene's initial outing. This is a fairly low-key pleasure cruise we're talking about here but Clarke's description of the Sea of Thirst really got the gears turning in my brain. On the other end of the spectrum, the build to the final climax during the rescue attempt was tense and exciting. They're two very different moments but I can't decide which I liked more.
Wyman did all the characters good service. Hansteen was one of his better characterizations.
I enjoyed the narration overall and found it easy to understand and engage with. The one quirk I noticed - which is possibly due more to Clarke's writing that to Wyman's reading - was a tendency to give a little too much emphasis to the mini cliff-hangers that pop up at the end of just about every section. This made the book feel like it was written in serial format, but I'm actually fine with that and thought it added to the vaguely campy charm this book has acquired with age.
I smiled quite a few times when Clarke described something particularly cool, or when the tale wrapped up in a nice, tidy, complete arc (I'm a sucker for total resolution - and epilogues).
This book has aged well for the most part, but I did have to cringe here and there when glimpses of sexism popped up. It's like your slightly racist grandma; she means well, but sometimes...
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.
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