**** Hunting for rovers on the Moon
Once again I find myself reading a hard science fiction book set on the moon, which in itself ensures a considerable degree of appreciation from my side. And indeed, this book has many positive aspects.
Morgan builds with precision a complex plot and creates a greatly detailed world. It is clear that the author has been working on this book for a long time, probably several years. The scientific part is quite plausible, at least most of it. The action sequences are so well shown that you feel to be there in the characters’ shoes and live them. And, in fact, the identification in the main characters, especially in some scenes, takes place in a spontaneous and effective way. Finally, the epilogue is pretty intriguing, leaving the reader with an open ending that allows you to fantasise about what might happen next.
Despite all these positive considerations, not only I am not able to give it the fifth star, but at times I was in doubt whether to give even the fourth. The reasons are many. Let’s see them one by one.
First, in the book there is just too much info-dump. I definitely love the books with many details, especially if they concern some topics of personal interest, such as space travel, but here the author goes further. He continuously stops the action to give all the details at once, instead of mixing them with the events. In this way, then when the action resumes, the reader, who had the impression of being dragged into a non-fiction book, does not remember what had happened before, but mostly loses contact with the characters, is detached from the story and in fact their imagination is torn from the world the latter created while reading.
In particular, then, in the first half of the book the author makes a thousand digressions to tell the back-story of totally secondary characters that have no importance in advancing the plot.
In addition, the flashbacks are not well positioned; they aren’t in a logic position or would need a well-defined demarcation to indicate their position in the past. One gets the impression that some scenes were written and then only later fitted together. Many authors do so and there is nothing wrong with this practice, but the reader should never have this impression (whether it corresponds to the truth or not).
The three previous elements (info-dump, digressions and flashbacks’ position) continuously interrupt the main action, making the reading lose its dramatics.
In the final part of the novel, moreover, after the climax, the story drags in a long told (not shown) resolution, which isn’t necessary at all and which damages the book as a whole, also because of the illogical behaviour of the characters and the lack of realism of certain events.
There is to say that my suspension of disbelief has wavered a lot for the numerous times in which the characters are exposed to the vacuum for a long time and survive almost as if nothing had happened. From the way these scenes are shown, it seems that the only problem is the absence of oxygen (and they are already too much resistant to it, especially in scenes of “fatigue”) and, secondly, the void itself (but that looks almost like a minor problem). We never read a mention of problems due to the low temperature in the dark (which instantly freezes) or to the very high temperatures and other effects of direct solar irradiation under sunlight (which, if possible, causes even worse damage).
In general I would say that several cuts would benefit the pace and the ending of the book, perhaps many of these passages would have a better position in some notes in the appendix or even in spin-off short stories (especially, but not limited to, those relating to secondary characters ).
Anyway in the end I decided to give four stars to this book, because you feel there is really a great research work and imagination of the author in it.
Moon Hunter on Amazon.
Moon Hunter on Amazon.