bookrev: Red Moon by David S. Michaels and Daniel Brenton
This book combines an in-depth knowledge of the Soviet Cosmonaut program and moon exploration in general with a plausible near future environmental/political forced need for a new fuel supply and an intertwined, well thought out face-paced read. One of the most enjoyable reads off my stack in quite some time.
I am linked to this book in many ways:
- We lived outside of Cape Kennedy during the space race years, where my Dad was chasing Apollo rocket stages down to Ascension Island to search for salvageable parts;
- This book and my first novel were on Paul Levinson’s list of Best First SciFi Novels;
- I have lived in Houston, home of Johnson Space Center, for several years.
The plot revolves around two events spaced (pun intended) fifty years apart: the race to the moon in July, 1969, from the Soviet Cosmonauts point of view, and a return trip to the moon in July, 2019, to look for an assumed source of desperately needed energy in the form of a Helium-3 deposit from a comet.
The near future world of 2019 is dominated by a Chinese/Arab alliance which has control of most of the worlds oil, and a US and Russia devastated by drought. The need for a new energy source draws a joint US/Russian team back to the moon, where Milo Jefferson believes he has spotted evidence of a Helium-3 rich deposit from a long ago comet.
The historical fiction revolves around Grigor Belinsky, a Soyuz cosmonaut who is pushed and pulled by the tides of Soviet politics until he is somewhat blackmailed into prepping for a dangerous dash in an untested rocket assembly to get to the moon ahead of the Americans. Many well known figures from Soviet politics and the Cosmonaut program are well woven into the story.
The two timelines collide when the exploration team in 2019, led by Janet Luckman, finds a Soviet lander called Firebird, part of the Luna 15 rocket. Was is manned? If so, where is Grigor Belinsky?
This is a hard to put down read because of the intrigue the authors have laced into the two main story lines. The politics of both eras (1969 and 2019) assert influences and roadblocks on the players involved. Sides in ’69 and ’19 do not want to know the truth, and do not want any notion of what might have happened with Belinsky to get out, as it would severely impact the power structures in many ways.
The technological space writing is first rate, and kudos are given on the books website (see below) to Mark Wade, author of the internet site Encyclopedia Astronautica. The descriptions of the equipment, test flights, space walks and other astronaut/cosmonaut adventures have a very real feel to them.
Buy it at BOOK’s Inc.