Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Moonfall by Jack McDevitt

Spoiler Level: Medium

Wow, just absolutely wow. I may have loved this book even more than McDevitt's Eternity Road, which is saying a lot.

Earth is officially opening Moonbase, the first permanent international lunar colony, when a new, unusual comet is spotted just days before it's due to impact with the Moon.

So just how serious a threat is this? Scientists disagree. Some argue that while it will definitely spell bad news for Moonbase, the point of impact and distance between the Earth and the Moon mean it will have little to no effect on the Earth itself short of losing lunar tides. Other scientists argue this could be an extinction event. Guess which ones the politicians decide to listen to?

And that's part of what makes this book so amazing-- the indifference of so many people to the thought of losing the moon. I actually went around and started asking people if they'd care if the moon went away. (Most did, but a few didn't.)

The book is set in an election year, and every step the politicians take during the crisis is done with an eye on how it will come across to the public. What's even more amazing to me, however, is how prescient the book was. It was published in 1998, before 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. There's a scene where the President is in a private meeting being advised that yes, parts of the moon could impact on Earth and cause tsunamis, but the President's reaction is if that happens, they'll deal with it then. It plays out almost exactly as the video of President Bush being warned that the levees in New Orleans would not hold. Downright eerie.

The book just builds and builds and builds and never lets up from beginning to end. I never wanted to put it down. McDevitt books are always an awesome read, but this one doubly so.

Oh, and on a completely unrelated note... this is post #200! Not bad for a silly little project that I thought I'd lose interest in within a month.

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