An Old Sci-Fi Tale

3 out of 5 stars

Rogue Moon is a short science fiction novel by American writer Algis Budrys, published in 1960. It was a 1961 Hugo Award nominee. (from wiki) I had to look this up since I needed to know when the original story was written. I knew that Budrys was an old-school Sci-Fi author but I needed to know just how old. I’m not sure who at Blackstone is in charge of picking older books to republish (especially in audio) but I want to befriend them!

I looked up how old the story was because sometimes you need to understand just how far ahead an author is (and in the case of Rogue Moon) sometimes you need to know why certain things were a major part of the story (the way that women were treated in this book for example).

I went back and forth between 4 and 3 stars on this one. It was a four-star book because Budrys was far ahead of his time.  This book was super interesting when it came to the actual sci-fi and the technology that he talked about.

Rogue Moon was basically about a replicator and this replicator sends people to the moon by reproducing them. An interesting idea that has been copied more than a few times in science fiction since (though I’m not sure if he was the first person to talk about it or not).  When a person is duplicated they are just that – there is a version of them on the moon and a version on Earth.  Both versions live simultaneously and when one has something happen to it, the other can remember in near-vivid detail.

The people were sent to the moon to investigate an alien craft. This alien craft apparently kills you in crazy and mysterious ways if you misstep in any way.  We are up there trying to investigate this thing and figure out what it is and why its there (along with why it’s killing people).

It was a three and will stay a full three in rating because numerous times during the book I kept thinking “why is he adding this” and “why are these people even being talked about.  It felt like he thought he didn’t have an interesting enough story and he had to add some more people and drama on the ground.

There was some… mistreating of women in the story too, unfortunately, an expectation in the ’60s but made it really hard to read now. As a feminist – reading about the way women were treated and talked about really bothered me.  Enough that there were a few scenes I had a hard time reading.

Overall, a book that felt like two books.  One where we learn a lot about people around the Moon Shot program and then a short story about the replicator and the investigation on the moon.  If the story was just about the Moon Shot program it would have been incredibly interesting. But since it wasn’t the story was… okay at best.

Graham Halstead’s narration really helped too.  He was able to convey the story and keep it moving when I was having trouble with it.

Book Description:

Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys (Narrated by Graham Halstead)Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys
Narrator: Graham Halstead
Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
Published by Blackstone Audio on October 9th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 193
Format: Audiobook
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A monstrous apparatus has been found on the surface of the moon. It devours and destroys in ways so incomprehensible to humans that a new language must be invented to describe it and a new kind of thinking to understand it. So far, the human guinea pigs sent there in hopes of unraveling the murderous maze have all died terrible deaths - except the last, now on suicide watch. The ideal candidate won't go insane, even as he feels the end approaching. And now they think they've found their man.

Al Barker has already stared into the face of death - he can handle it again. But Barker won't merely have to endure the trauma of dying: he will have to endure it over and over again - mentally linked to an ongoing series of duplicates of himself created and sent to the Moon by matter transmission - until the artifact reveals its secret.

With a cast of fascinating characters taking center stage, Rogue Moon is a rare thriller that doesn't just make you sweat - it makes you think.

I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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