Author: Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter established himself as a major British sci-fi author with tales of exotic, far-future technology. More recently, in , and now , he shows his love for the hardware of the real world’s space programme. (Comparisons with Tom Wolfe’s have been frequent.) is a spectacular disaster novel whose threat to Earth comes from a long-forgotten Moon rock sample carrying strange silver dust that seems to be alien nanotechnology — molecule-sized machines. Accidentally spilt in Edinburgh, this ‘Moonseed’ quietly devours stone and processes it into more Moonseed. Geology becomes high drama: when ancient mountains turn to dust, the lid is taken off seething magma below. Volcanoes return to Scotland, and Krakatoa-like eruptions spread Moonseed around the world. A desperate, improvised US/Russian space mission heads for the Moon to probe the secret of how our satellite has survived uneaten. Baxter convincingly shows how travel costs could be cut, with a hair-raising descent on a shoestring lunar lander that makes Apollo’s look like a luxury craft. The climax brings literally world-shaking revelations and upheavals. is a ripping interplanetary yarn.
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