I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.
The Moon can make for entertaining science fiction
By MARK LARDAS
July 13, 2019
Final Frontier: A Sci-fi Celebration of the Indomitable Spirit That Carried Humanity to the Moon,” edited by C. Stuart Hardwick, GotScifi Group, 2019, 325 pages, $14.87
It has been 50 years since the first moon landing. Those alive then remember the excitement. The president called it the proudest day of our lives. For many it was.
“Final Frontier: A Sci-fi Celebration of the Indomitable Spirit That Carried Humanity to the Moon,” edited by Galvestonian C. Stuart Hardwick, is a science fiction anthology with lunar exploration as the theme.
The book is a collection of a dozen short stories and two poems sharing the theme of space exploration. Most are reprints and of the short stories, four have won awards. All are worth reading.
They are the type of science fiction you would have expected to be published during the years of the run-up to Apollo: hard science fiction set (or starting in) the solar system, dealing with either life in interplanetary space or exploring the solar system. Even the first story, “The Rocket Maker,” an off-beat story about a custodian at a Central American airport attempting to build a moon rocket qualifies as science fiction despite surrealistic touches.
All, except a song by Spider Robinson, were written in this century. Space exploration still kindles a flame in authors and readers.
The stories are a nice mix of science fiction themes: thrillers, standard exploration stories, a rescue or two and some alternate history. There’s something for all science fiction fans.
The book is the work of the new generation of science fiction writers. Besides Spider Robinson, contributors include Mike Barretta, Marianne Dyson, Sean Monaghan, K. B. Rylander, Matthew Rotundo, Ronald Ferguson, Martin Shoemaker, Nancy Fulda, Philip Kramer, David Levin, Patrick Lundrigan, David Walton, and editor Hardwick. If you haven’t heard of them before, odds are you will become familiar with them in the future.
You would think space exploration stories would be an old hat — contemporary fiction rather than science fiction, at least. Except while the first moon landing was 50 years ago, the last time man walked on the moon was 46 years ago. Moon exploration remains firmly fixed in science fiction.
As the “The Final Frontier” shows, moon missions and solar system exploration still make entertaining science fiction.
Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.