Snagged this beauty at a library sale of strictly science fiction and fantasy. I think they were a dollar a book… Beardface and I left there with almost the entire sale. It was full of older sci-fi, a lot of it we had not yet read or did not have in our collection. You can look forward to more of these gems as the year goes on!
Now I’ve read quite a bit of Mr. Clarke, but most of it was his more main stream works. This one is nowhere near mainstream, and probably for good reasons. It was enjoyable and fun, full of interesting science conundrums but nowhere near as insightful or prophetic as some of his bigger works, although he does make some interesting observations.
I love me the old sci-fi, but as I get older I realize just how sexist they are. Yes I know it was a different era. Yes I know it was a boys club back then. But that does not make them any less difficult for those of us ladies who love the genre today. I cannot read hardly any of Jules Verne. Some of his things are so anti female you feel like you are breaking laws just by cracking the cover. But anyway. I digress.
Normally I am a fully submerged reader. I don’t over think things, I just like to get into the story and run. This book was the first that made me want to take notes. I don’t like taking notes, but I did whilst reading this one and it actually added to my enjoyment of the thing. Very weird for me. Very. I actually took a Coursera class a couple of years ago, thinking it would be fun. It was a class about the history of science fiction and fantasy. And it was fun. But I didn’t make it through the entire class because I became exhausted with how hard the reading was. It was soul sucking to me to have to take notes at the level required in order to answer the essay questions. It was fun and interesting to get your classmate’s considerations on your essays though, I must admit. But. Again I get off subject.
The first instance I realized I wanted to remember something I’d read was when Mr. Clarke talked about tv censorship being set aside in the 80’s and the programming it led to. Then I was giggly and a little over come by some of the “high-tech” devices of the world, teletype, paper print outs (on the moon where people live). I decided one had to put oneself into a special mindset in order to read the very old science fiction or one could very easily lose the fun of the story by wallowing in the science the author got wrong.
I really did like this story though. In it, a cruise ship that took tourists around a sea of dust on the moon gets sucked into a pocket and sinks. The majority of the story is about the group of people in the ship and those that work to rescue them. Suspense is held very well with more than once you are sure that the outcome will not be good. While they were stuck, to keep moral up and to distract from imminent death, the passengers take to sharing the small amount of reading material they have by taking turns reading aloud. One of the books they read is Shane, a western novel by Jack Schaefer, originally published in 1949, 12 years before A Fall of Moondust was published. In the front of the book is a forward written for that republishing of somewhere in the 2000’s where spaceflight has been going on since the 1970’s. It delighted and fascinated me. It talked about space and cowboys and why the western went out of style until the frontiers of space opened up. The author of the forward talks about new space being like the old west… and of course… all I can think about is Firefly… and space cowboys. 🙂
Anyway. If you can set aside the idea that specific things did not happen on the specific dates that are now in our past, give this lovely book a try. There are fun characters and an interesting solution to an unusual problem. Arthur C. Clarke is a Grand Master for a reason!
… and just for visual reference. Beardface and me aboard the Liberty Clipper enroute to the Bahamas… You wanna have fun? Book a cruise on a tall ship. Just saying. Oh, and wear a patch. Seriously. Wear a patch.