by Jack McDevitt

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061051128
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/09/1998
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 207,528
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Jack McDevitt is the author of A Talent for War, The Engines of God, Ancient Shores, Eternity Road, Moonfall, and numerous prize-winning short stories. He has served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, taught English and literature, and worked for the U.S. Customs Service in North Dakota and Georgia.

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Chapter One

Totality Monday, April, 8, 2024

Cruise Lier Merrivale, eastern Pacific.5:21 A.M. Zone (9:21 A.m. EDT)

The Merrivale was bound for Honolulu, four days out of Los Angeles, when the eclipse began. Few of the passengers got up to watch the event. But Horace Brickmann, who'd paid a lot of money for this cruise, wanted Amy to understand he was a man with broad scientific and artistic interests. Yes, he'd told her last night while they stood near the lifeboats and listened to the steady thrum of the ship's engines and watched the bow wave roll out into the dark, total solar eclipse. Wouldn't miss it. To be honest, it's why I came. And when she'd pointed out that the eclipse would also be visible across much of the United States, he'd added smoothly that it wasn't quite the same.

She'd hinted she'd also like to see the event. Amy had been beautiful in the starlight, and his heart had pumped ferociously, bringing back memories of his twenties, which he recalled as a time of romance and passion. It was Horace's impression he'd terminated the various relationships of his youth, much to the despair of the women; that in those early days he had not been ready for serious commitment. But still there were times he woke in the night regretting one or another of his lost paramours. He wondered occasionally where they were now and how they were doing.

It was an odd sort of dawn, Sun and Moon clasped together in a cold gray embrace. The ocean had grown rough and Horace sat in his chair sipping hot coffee, wondering what was keeping Amy. He tugged his woolensweater down over his belly and reminded himself that it was dangerous to look directly at the spectacle. Most of the other early risers had brought blankets, but Horace wanted to cut a dashing figure and the blanket just didn't fit the image.

To his consternation, a voluble banker whom he'd met the previous day appeared before him, greeted him with the kind of cheeriness that's always irritating early in the morning, and sat down in an adjoining deck chair. "Marvelous experience, this," said the banker, lifting his eyes in the general direction of the eclipse while extracting a folded copy of the Wall Street Journal from a pocket of his nautical blue blazer. He tried to read the paper in the gray light but gave up and dropped it on his lap.

He began to chatter about commodities and convertibles and price-earnings ratios. Horacel's eyes swept the near-empty decks. A middle-aged man at the rail was watching the eclipse through sunglasses. A steward strolled casually over and offered him one of the viewing devices the ship had been distributing. Horace was too far away too hear the conversation, but he saw the man's annoyed expression. Nevertheless, he accepted the viewer, waited until the steward had turned away, dropped it into a pocket, and went back to gazing at the Sun. The banker babbled on, fearful that the Fed would raise the prime rate again.

The wind was beginning to pick up.

The steward approached Horace and the banker, holding out the devices. "You don't want to look directly at it, gentlemen," he said. Horace took one. It consisted of a blue plastic tube about six inches wide, with a tinfoil disk attached to one end. "Point it toward the eclipse, sit," said the steward, "and it'll project the Sun's image onto the disk. You'll be able to watch in perfect safety." The tube was decorated with the ship's profile and name. Horace thanked him.

She was now twenty minutes late. But Amy had an eight-year-old daughter to take care of, so there was a degree of unpredictabillity in any rendezvous.

He became aware suddenly that the banker had asked a question. "I'm sorry," Horace said. "My mind was elsewhere."

"No problem, partner." The man was finishing up with middle age. He was oversized and prosperous-looking. His hair was shoe-polish black, and the deck chair complained whenever he shifted weight. "I know just what you mean."

A deep dusk had settled over the ship. The banker cleared his throat and essayed a quick look at his watch. He had to raise his arm, so that the face of the instrument caught a reflection from a porthole. It seemed almost as if by consulting the time he was exercising control over the event. The last of the gray light drained from the sky and the corona blazed out, pale and somber. Horace heard awed conversation and drawing in of breath.

The stars emerged, and the ocean was swallowed up in the dark.

"Wonderful thing, nature," said the banker. "Beautiful."

Horace mumbled an appropriate response.

Over the course of an hour or so, the event concluded, the eclipse passed, and the banker went in to breakfast. Amy didn't show up, and the Merrivale plowed through a sea that remained gray and unsettled.

Horace stayed in his chair a long time. A damp chill had stolen over him. Later, wandering the decks, he saw Amy and her daughter at a dining table with several others. She was deep in animated conversation with a man Horace had seen going off the high-dive yesterday. He lingered for a moment but she never looked up.

It was as if the shadow that fell across the ship had touched the heart of the world.

Space Station L1, Percival Lowell Flight Deck. 8:03 A.M.

There was never a time we didn't know that the canals were bunk, that Percival Lowell's network of interconnecting lines, and the areas that darkened, in the summer as the water flowed, were just so much self-delusion.

Moonfall. Copyright (c) by Jack McDevitt . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Moonfall 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
St_e_ve More than 1 year ago
Jack McDevitt creates such great yarns, and this one is another wonderful page-turner. Unfortunately, the ebook leaves a lot to be desired... like other Harper Collins books, it was scanned and OCR'd into an ebook, but obviously not proofed beyond the first quarter of the book, at best. As a result, it explodes in missing and misspelled words, and odd gaps in words and lines, managing to throw off the pace of the narrative to an extent you'll be sorry you opened it. Five stars to McDevitt, minus four stars for Harper Collins' atrocious editing, leaves a one-star experience for the reader. Somebody straighten out these lazy-@$$ publishers!
joesmith More than 1 year ago
This is more of a review of the eBook product. I cannot believe I am paying for basically an OCR scanned product. There are numerous spelling errors, particularly towards the end of the book. It is as if someone decided to give up proofreading the material three quarters of the way through. Whomever is at fault needs to address the quality of the product.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While it contains a very original plot and unique setting(s), the novel had a few shortcomings. There are too many characters to be concerned about, and the ones focused on are not well-rounded. It's hard to like or hate any character in this book. Too much happens in short amounts of time to really follow what is happening. If it had been shorter and more to the point, it would have been better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent book and once again, a fascinating subject. I am a big fan of McDevitt and this is one of his best. Very well balanced, exciting, numerous twists and turns -- a real science fiction novel. The characters were very believable and developed in various ways throughout the entire adventure. It was sometimes confusing, however, to keep track of all the characters that he brought into the story, but this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book.
santom01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A solid, exciting story set in the near future (late 21st century if I remember right) of a comet that slams into the moon and that event's affect on America and the rest of the world. A central part of the story is the vice president's presence on the Moon. He's visiting the moonbase when word of the incoming comet arrives and he must weigh political and moral considerations in his decision about when he personally should leave the moon. Should he be among the first ones out, or the last? This idea, who sacrifices what, and for whom, is carried throughout the book. It's not a literary novel, thank goodness, so the theme is not analyzed to death. It's just a nice addition to a great story. There's a reasonable amount of action and suspense, but these don't dominate the book. The science of the book seems reasonable. There are some technical details, but not too many. The emphasis is on the story, not the technology.
clark.hallman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jack McDevitt¿s Moonfall, first published in 1998, takes place in the mid-2020s, when Earthlings have an active space program and have just finished construction of a large Moonbase that is being officially opened with the participation of dignitaries from many countries. Charles L. Haskell, the Vice President of the U.S. is representing President Henry Kolladner at the ceremony on the Moon. In addition to Moonbase, an interplanetary ship is scheduled to depart for Mars with a multinational crew aboard within days after the Moonbase opening. However, as the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Moonbase is taking place, an amateur astronomer calls the attention of the world¿s astronomical community to a strange object in space behind the moon. The object is quickly determined to be an ¿intersteller object¿, i.e., a ¿cometary body¿ that originated in another star system. Unfortunately, it is a monster, which is moving at an extremely high velocity and will collide with the Moon in a few days. Scientists issue a warning to the World that the enormous size and extreme velocity of the object is likely to shatter the Moon, which could cause catastrophic damage to Earth. In fact, this may possibly cause an extinction event on Earth. McDevitt weaves a very complex story that unfolds through the struggles of many ordinary people on Earth, through the heroic actions of the pilots and crew of the space planes and other ships that try to evacuate people from the Moonbase, and the selfless and courageous actions of people (especially the Vice President) who barely evacuate the Moon before impact and remain in Earth orbit desperately trying to prevent the devastation of Earth. The story jumps between the perspectives of characters and news media reports of the unfolding crisis to engage the reader in the terror and hardship that ensues. Tension is also created through the unwise decisions of politicians during the crisis and the criminal behavior of those pursuing their own agendas. I thought Moonfall was an excellent science fiction book. The science in this book is well developed and presented in an understandable and satisfying manner. The suspense begins early in the book and continues to increase along with the reader¿s anxiety. Likewise, there is plenty of action that continues to grow in intensity and forces the characters, including the Vice President, to endure life-threatening and painful experiences while they attempt to complete complicated unfamiliar operations in the unforgiving environment of space in an effort to save lives on Earth. In addition, the story is populated by a large number of very interesting characters. I believe Moonfall is a first-rate science fiction story and I recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction as well as others who enjoy apocalyptic tales or just exciting stories.
RobertDay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Disaster! Explosion! Concussion! Danger and Excitement! The Earth imperilled! All die (potentially).
SaintBrevity on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like that terrible movie (that would be Armageddon) a few years ago, but better. An engaging blend of disaster porn, engineering porn, space porn, politics, and compelling character interaction. Jack McDevitt does his usual thing, and the result is the usual great book.
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Moonfall certainly is a page turner, that builds suspense effectively, although at times it becomes a bit predictable. In most of the McDevitt books I have read, politicians are bumbling or evil, so I was surprised that in this book the protagonist is the US vice-president, who just happens to be on the moon to open the new moon base when disaster looms. In this, as in other books, McDevitt is an author who brings together a group of truly diverse characters, who have to work together to accomplish a common goal. I think the obvious comparison is to Larry Niven's Lucifer's Hammer, although there are notable difference, not the least of which is that McDevitt's entire story takes place over the course of just a week or so. I'd have to say that I liked both books about the same; Niven's book is in some ways the more ambitious of the two, but certainly has its weaknesses. In any case, either is far superior to the story they used in the movies Armageddon or Deep Impact.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fast-moving well written story. All too close to a possible future.
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SueMLee More than 1 year ago
Moonbase has just been officially opened by Vice President Charlie Haskell and it's going to be closed down by a comet heading right for the moon. Charlie promises that he will turn the lights off and be the last person to leave. There isn't time to get everyone off and Charlie refuses to take advantage of his position to jump the line. This book is almost like a 1970s disaster movie, full of little vignettes of characters who may or may not prove crucial to saving the worl.d
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mcdevitt's Moonfall is every bit as exciting as any of the best movie and book "big rock falls to Earth" things I've seen....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book entertaining from beginning to end. High amounts of tense, nailbiting scenes. Good characters. Good descriptions of what was happening - the flooding, the tidal waves, the earthquakes, landslides.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
biomed More than 1 year ago
My rating is for the writing not the Harper Collins eBook misspellings and run together words. A good read if you enjoy Jack McDevitt. I guess I have read enough Harper Collins eBooks to decode the errors. One of the characters names was spelled at least three different ways on one page!!! Come on. Still, no bad reflections on the author. Harper Collins deserves a negative rating on this one.
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