Space Case (Moon Base Alpha Series #1)by Stuart Gibbs
Like his fellow lunarnauts—otherwise known as Moonies—living on Moon Base/i>/i>/i>
It’s a murder mystery on the moon in this humorous and suspenseful space adventure from the author of Belly Up and Spy School that The New York Times Book Review called “a delightful and brilliantly constructed middle grade thriller.”
Like his fellow lunarnauts—otherwise known as Moonies—living on Moon Base Alpha, twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.
And he’s bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time—and the only other kid Dash’s age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.
Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies—a secret someone just might kill to keep...
Gr 4–6—It's 2041, and 12-year-old Dash Gibson lives with his family in Moon Base Alpha, the first lunar outpost. Life is mostly dull (watching TV, going to the gym to keep fit, and playing video games—not much variety) until Ronald Holtz, beloved base physician, dies under suspicious circumstances. Despite warnings from the base's autocratic commander, Dash continues to investigate the incident as a possible murder. The story is fun, if somewhat thin; a space-age Agatha Christie mystery grafted onto a Scooby Doo plot. There are multiple suspects, each with a seemingly plausible motive—the scientist who accuses Dr. Holtz of stealing his brilliant idea; the shoddy psychiatrist whom Holtz tried to keep off of the mission; even Lars Sjoberg, the hapless and arrogant billionaire space tourist. Some of the characters are colored with a broad brush, such as Kira the tween-age super hacker; the vile, "pure white" Sjoberg family; and Chang Hi-Tech, the tattooed and mohawked tech guru. But Gibbs's passion for science is obvious, and his portrayal of what life might be like for a middle schooler in space is credible and insightful. The difficulty of learning to run in reduced gravity, the dreary food, ubiquitous technologies, and recycled water (urine is purified and returned to the reservoir) all are treated evenhandedly and with reference to relevant science. The prospect and related concerns of contact with a distant race of super-intelligent beings provide an intriguing "what if" counterpoint. Recommended as a breezy read, especially for the budding space scientist.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA
When Dr. Holtz’s body is discovered just outside the lunar colony, everyone assumes he made a mistake putting on his spacesuit—but 12-year-old Dashiell “Dash” Gibson has reason to believe this was no accident.Earth’s first space base has been a living hell for Dash. There’s not much to do on the moon besides schoolwork and virtual-reality gaming, and there’s only a handful of kids his age up there with him. The chance to solve a murder is exactly the type of excitement Dash needs. As clues are found and secrets are uncovered, Dash comes to understand that some of the base’s residents aren’t what they seem to be. With a small cast of characters supplying an excellent variety of suspects, Gibbs creates the best kind of “murder on a train” mystery. The genius, however, is putting the train in space. Closed quarters and techno–mumbo-jumbo add delightful color to the proceedings. Thankfully, the author doesn’t let the high-concept setting overshadow the novel’s mystery. The whodunit is smartly paced and intricately plotted. Best of all, the reveal is actually worth all the buildup. Thrillers too often fly off the rails in their final moments, but the author’s steady hand keeps everything here on track.Fully absorbing. (Mystery. 9-12)
Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from The Official Residents’ Guide to Moon Base Alpha, © 2040 by National Aeronautics and Space Administration:
WELCOME TO MOON BASE ALPHA!
Congratulations on your selection as a resident of the first permanent extraterrestrial human habitat! To ease your transition from earth, Moon Base Alpha (referred to from here on as “MBA”) has been designed to feel as comfortable and familiar as any residence on our home planet. Our engineers and designers have spared no expense to provide all MBA residents—or “lunarnauts”—with everything they need for a relaxing, pleasurable existence.
However, life on the moon will not be without challenges. There are obviously many differences between this residence and one on earth—many of which you may be pleasantly surprised by! To that end, please take the necessary time to read this helpful, informative manual in its entirety, as it will likely answer any questions you have about your new home (and perhaps a few questions you hadn’t even thought to ask yet)!
Once again, congratulations on your selection. Welcome to the moon. Enjoy your new home!
Meet the Author
Stuart Gibbs is the author of the FunJungle and Moon Base Alpha series, as well as the New York Times bestselling Spy School series. He has written the screenplays for movies like See Spot Run and Repli-Kate, worked on a whole bunch of animated films, developed TV shows for Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC, and Fox. Stuart lives with his wife and children in Los Angeles. You can learn more about what he’s up to at StuartGibbs.com.
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