Ballard, Samuel R. Delany, Thomas M. All of these New Worlds authors, and many others like them, challenged the predominantly optimistic outlook and linear storytelling techniques of science fiction up to that point. In their place, New Worlds substituted moral ambiguity, sexual fluidity, narrative experimentation, broken taboos, and sometimes even outright nihilism; Moorcock and crew wholeheartedly embraced William S. Moorcock published some of his own work in New Worlds , and it exemplified his ideal: a style that became known as the New Wave. In its celebration of androgyny, glam also lined up with Ursula K.
After each episode I would tiptoe back to my bedroom rigid with fear, so powerful did the action seem to me. As the amphetamine-fueled mod scene morphed into the acid-fueled psychedelic scene, London became the laboratory in which Bowie began conducting experiments of his own—ones that sought to transmute science fiction and fantasy into the sounds of popular music. The song, however, vividly depicts a tattooed man whose elaborate body art tells wondrous and hideous tales. Make Room! And not in an optimistic way. It might as well be made of plastic, the artificial flesh of some futuristic android.
Unlike the bulky spacesuits in the widely publicized photos of the ongoing Apollospace missions, however, this astronaut is clad in sleek, form-fitting chrome, so as to enhance rather than obscure his lithe physique. With robotic precision, he dons a blue-visored helmet. His helmet secure, he steps outside his space capsule. He floats. The void beckons, a womb of oblivion that threatens to swallow our hero. He is not humble. His name is no secret. And yet it did not come out of nowhere. My Major Tom is nothing if not a human being. Not that Bowie was exclusively fixated on worldly concerns.
That tension between engagement and escapism hit its peak in with the release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
How I Faked the Apollo Moon Landing | True Story | OZY
Bowie himself is both the narrator and the protagonist of Ziggy Stardust , which tells the tale of how Ziggy comes to Earth, becomes a rock star, attempts to save humanity from itself, then flames out in a blaze of extraterrestrial glory. At first it seems like an avant-pulp idea straight from the head of Burroughs, who met Bowie in for a now-classic Rolling Stone interview. The first novel concerns the building of the giant cannon, and ends with the three travellers fired successfully into space.
The sequel describes their journey to the Moon, their orbit around it, and their return to Earth, ending eventually with a splashdown in the sea. Leaving aside the notion of using a cannon to fire a projectile at the Moon, this was one of the most scientifically accurate of the early Moon voyages, and in many ways anticipated the actual nature of the NASA missions a hundred years later. This is one of a trilogy of novels that Baxter wrote exploring what might have happened if the history of NASA had gone differently.
In this instance, he imagines that the Apollo 18 mission actually went ahead, but among the Moon rocks it brought back was a strange substance described as "moonseed". The resulting cosmic radiation that bathes the Earth triggers the moonseed, which starts to disintegrate the planet by heating up the core. In a desperate race against time to escape the inevitable destruction of the Earth, a team of scientists attempt to terraform the Moon to provide a refuge.
Like all too many of Baxter's novels, this is a story that ends with the destruction of the Earth; but it creates an unusual mixture of Moon novel and disaster novel that is terrifyingly convincing in its detail. Eight Worlds. Alien invaders have obliterated human life on Earth, and the survivors have scattered through the rest of the Solar System. The most heavily populated colony is Luna, the Steel Beach of the title. Here a dystopian society has developed in which the Central Computer controls every aspect of life. The story follows a journalist, Hildy Johnson, who begins to uncover groups of people hiding from the Central Computer, and in the course of the research learns secrets about the Central Computer that threaten the stability and even the survival of the entire colony.
Between the last manned mission to the Moon and the renewed technological interest in a lunar colony that we are beginning to see in the 21st century, the Moon tended to be of interest less for realistic accounts of life on the Moon than as a setting for satire. This dystopia is a superb example of the way the Moon served that purpose.
There has been a theory put about that the Moon's gravitational influence played a part in the development of intelligence on Earth; here, Bob Shaw turns that idea on its head. It turns out that humanity had long-since colonised the galaxy and developed instantaneous teleportation; then civilisation collapsed. The human society that grew up on Earth has been prevented from developing teleportation precisely because of the gravitational influence of the Moon. Now the humanoid Mollan have decided to solve that problem by simply blowing up the Moon.
The story is told through the relationship of an irascible human male and an exile Mollan female, whose brusque, often acerbic encounters provide a wonderful window into human and Mollan societies, and into the details of this deeply disturbing plan. Since his death, Shaw's work has probably not had the recognition it deserves, perhaps because he tended to work on a small canvas where the major effects were emotional rather than spectacular. But when he got it right, he was unbeatable at presenting mind-blowing ideas in a vivid and accessible way; and even if The Ceres Solution is not his absolute best, it still deserves to be high on this list.
Before he became the most influential editor in the history of science fiction, Campbell was an author of remarkable, scientifically savvy stories that clearly presaged the golden age he helped to bring in. This fine novella is an excellent example of why he should be celebrated as an author as much as as an editor. Even since Daniel Defoe, people have been writing robinsonades in which individuals or small groups are cast upon inhospitable islands. In works like No Man Friday and The Martian, science fiction writers have reimagined that desert island as Mars, but long before that Campbell had set this remarkable robinsonade on the Moon.
It's the story of a small group of scientists whose spaceship crashes on the Moon. They then have to combine their expertise in order to survive until they can be rescued, which means devising a shelter to protect them from meteor showers and finding a way to manufacture enough oxygen for them to breathe. With his precise attention to technical details, Campbell set the scene for the lunar stories to come throughout the Golden Age. Known Space. One of the joys of combining science fiction and the detective story is the way that life on another world or with different technology can complicate the crime, while the patient solution of the crime helps to explain the setting.
And that's exactly what we get with Niven's novel.
See a Problem?
It was the fourth novel he wrote featuring his detective Gil Hamilton. In this instance, Hamilton is on the Moon to attend a conference on Lunar Law when one of the other delegates is shot. The shot seems to have come from outside on the lunar surface, and the only person who was out on the surface at the time is someone Hamilton is convinced must be innocent. It's only surprising there aren't more crime stories set on the Moon: solving the crime really is an excellent way of solving the puzzle of what it's like on the Moon.
The Moon. Given the colourful planetary romances that were so popular before and after the First World War, it would have been surprising if the Moon hadn't featured. But this version, while as exotic and as full of action as anything else by Burroughs, is rather different from his usual fare.
It's set in a future where the First World War was just a preamble for the communist world and the rest that lasts until the ultimate victory of the US and UK in the s. To celebrate the global peace, a mission is sent to the Moon, only to discover unsuspected races living below the surface like Wells's Selenites.
Among these are the evil Kalkars, who join up with a rogue Earthman to invade Earth. The Moon shouldn't just be a place of technological challenges, it should be associated with wild adventure also. And that's exactly what Burroughs provides. One of the things we see time and again on this list is that the Moon is very often presented as a threat, whether it's the threat of invasion in Burroughs or the threat of destruction in Baxter.
But this could be the ultimate threat. A comet is going to hit the Moon; and when it does the fallout is going to have a devastating effect right across the Earth. What will happen to the newly-established Moonbase? And what can the President of the USA do to prevent panic and ensure the survival of his people?
McDevitt has always been an accomplished writer of stories about people facing massive and complex decisions, and as the focus of this novel shifts between the Earth and the Moon the decisions don't come much more massive, or more complex. Like Rogue Moon, which came out at around the same time, and presaging Arthur C.
Clarke's , A Space Odyssey in odd ways, this is a novel about the Moon as mystery. The hero is a prospector, hoping to strike it rich, but without very much luck. In the end he has to take a wild gamble, so he heads for the mysterious crater, Tycho. Thirty years before, two ships and nearly a dozen astronauts disappeared without trace in Tycho; since then, two further expeditions have vanished, so now, no one wants to go near the crater. But Chris Jackson doesn't really have a choice, and the alien artefact he finds there will change everything, for ever. This is a tightly written and very effective short novel, but Simak still finds the space to include lots of fascinating incidental detail about life in the lunar outback.
If many of the stories we've included on this list treat the Moon as a threat, there are equally those, like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Steel Beach, in which the Moon is a refuge, whether from earth politics or from the destruction of Earth. And that's what we get in this novella: a thermonuclear war back on Earth leaves the small lunar colony isolated. But survival isn't easy, many go mad, fighting breaks out, terrifying gases are unleashed within the lunar habitat. In the end, a handful of people face having to restore order. And always there is the threat of the Moon itself, and the dangerous equipment being used, so that it is very much a story of survival against the odds.
Meanwhile the hero, a loner who likes nothing better than to drive his truck out into virgin territory, finds he has to start taking responsibility for others. This is the sort of hard sf that Swanwick produced effortlessly at the start of his career, and though short this is a gripping and acute picture of life on the Moon. We said earlier that Godwin's The Man in the Moone was one of the most influential works in the history of science fiction, and this is one of the earliest and most dramatic signs of that influence. Cyrano even appropriated Godwin's anti-hero, Domingo Gonsales, for this comic novel.
Also known as The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon, the story concerns a luckless hero, also called Cyrano, who first attempts to reach the Moon by strapping bottles of dew to his body, which will help him to fly when the dew evaporates. This fails, so he builds a new device which also fails, but local soldiers affix rockets to the wreckage as part of a celebration, and the rockets shoot him off to the Moon. Here he meets strange, four-legged aliens, and a variety of figures including Domingo Gonsales, with whom he has satirical conversations about the state of the world.
It's a bit of a stretch, but Arthur C. Clarke has claimed that this is the first appearance of rocket-powered space travel in fiction.
Clarke also credits Cyrano with the invention of the ramjet. Even if you don't agree with Clarke, you have to admit that this is an extraordinary lunar fiction. If you want to see how much sf from the last quarter of the 20th century ignored the technical realities of the Moon, look no further than this sometimes absurd sometimes very moving often comic novel. Here the Moon is no more than a backdrop, the real focus is on a courtroom upon the Moon. An entrepreneur wants to turn Jupiter into a mini-Sun in order to terraform the moons and relieve the population pressure on Earth.
But another corporation wants to stop him, so they have him charged before a blatantly corrupt lunar court. The question is: what can the psi-powered defence lawyer do to save the entrepreneur's life? Lunar Justice is hardly Harness at his best, but he can still write genuinely convincing and moving human relationships, moreover, it's not often you see the Moon as a setting for comic science fiction, which is an excellent reason why this is on the list.
John Gribbin and Marcus Chown are two highly respected science writers who occasionally turn their talents, and their expertise, to science fiction. So you know that what you are going to encounter here has been rigorously worked out. These two novels are set in the same future, but 1, years apart. In Double Planet, a comet is on a collision course with Earth. While a team of astronauts prepares a mission to try and divert the comet, another team of scientists embark on a desperate plan to make the Moon habitable as a refuge for survivors.
In the sequel, Reunion, the lunar colony is facing a new threat as the atmosphere begins to fail: the only solution may lie back on Earth.
Anthems for the Moon: David Bowie’s Sci-Fi Explorations
If you like your science fiction really hard, and the science really feasible, you really can't do much better than Gribbin and Chown. For the last 30 years, Ben Bova has been composing an intricately interconnected sequence of novels that explore the human colonisation of the entire solar system. Inevitably, the Moon plays a key role in that story, and it is at the centre of two novels collectively known as the Moonbase Saga. In the first of the novels, Moonrise, Moonbase is a failing colony, losing money and in imminent danger of being closed down.
But when an astronaut dreams of establishing a new, sustainable colony on the Moon he faces unexpected opposition. By the second novel, Moonwar, the new Moonbase is the last redoubt for research into nanotechnology, which has been banned on Earth. When the Earth sends soldiers to shut the research down, a new kind of war develops.
Exciting as the idea of a human colony on the Moon might be, in the long term it can only ever be a springboard to the rest of the solar system, and within the sequence of novels that make up Bova's Grand Tour, the Moon is firmly located within that context. Like Stephen Baxter, Johnson imagines that the Apollo programme continued. In this case, Apollo 19 arrives at a point on the Moon where ice has been detected, but when it comes time to leave, the ascent engine fails to fire and the two crew members find themselves marooned on the Moon.
Setting out to explore as much as possible before their resources are exhausted, they chance upon an ancient, abandoned lunar base whose humanoid crew all died violently. Exploring the base, they realise that the base was established by humans from Earth before Noah's Flood, which the NASA commander interprets as a message from God. This is science fiction as Christian propaganda, but it is an interesting example of the type and illustrates yet another way in which the Moon plays upon our imagination.
This is yet another novel with the Moon as threat, and another which plays with the idea of the dark side of the Moon. In this instance a superweapon is being constructed on the farside of the Moon, a weapon which would give absolute mastery of the solar system. Except it's not a weapon to start with.
A geologist from the Moon finds himself in the middle of a major political battle when he reveals that an asteroid that has been captured for mining could be a major threat to the earth. His views are taken up by a fanatical fringe group, while the corporations intent on mining the asteroid are after his blood.
But on the farside of the Moon he finds an automatic factory building a massive communications laser that he realises could be repurposed. In many ways this is a quite simplistic adventure story, and Allen certainly has a flair for the melodramatic. But at the same time he provides some intriguing and often amusing insights into the nature of lunar society.
Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe and Journal of the Plague Year among many others, is not generally recognised for his science fiction, but in fact he wrote one of the most peculiar of early voyages to the Moon. The vehicle is a winged chariot powered by fuel and fire in a manner that makes it sound strangely like a combustion engine of some sort, but the fact that the number of feathers on the wings matched the number of seats in parliament demonstrates that the whole thing is meant more satirically than scientifically.
Once on the Moon the traveller discovers a host of marvels, ranging from a seat that can read thoughts to a glass through which could be observed all the happenings back on Earth.
- Words from a fragile mind (Words of truth Book 1).
- Forever and a Day;
- Our Resorts!
- Moons' Dreaming (Children of the Rock, #1) by Marguerite Krause.
- Manhattan South (The Thorn Savage NYPD Series Book 1).
But what we really get is a rather vicious satire on the Royal Society all learned men are described as idiots that is similar in many ways to the flying island of Laputa in Swift's Gulliver's Travels which came out some 20 years later. Defoe was something of a rabble rouser, notorious for his controversial conservative ideas, and he would use the Moon as a platform from which to lash out at what he saw as the idiocies of his day not just in this novel but in a whole series of pamphlets and essays written around the same time.
This is an important, if now little known, episode in the history of Moon literature. Elsewhere in this list we have seen the Moon as both a threat and a refuge, but it is also used as a symbol of difference, not just the political difference in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but a physical and psychological difference. The Gods Themselves tells of the relationship between the Earth and a parallel universe, one that could, unknowingly, be disastrous for both.
In the final third of the novel the scene shifts to the Moon, where people have developed a very different physique from those on earth.