MOONBASE ONE by Raymond F. Jones


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Back in 1950 Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky was a hardy pioneer, but nowadays it's hard to credit that Mission Control in Houston would send whole families (who continually identify with the settlers of Jamestown and Plymouth) to initiate a trial venture in moon colonization. Nor does it seem possible that teenage members of the expedition could have saved enough money from their paper routes to buy their own space suits. And carrying this laissez-faire attitude a step further, when the life supporting hydroponics plant explodes and it becomes evident that there's a saboteur at work (his identity just as obvious to the reader), NASA allows the colonists to stay on and work out their own ad hoc solutions. There's plenty of dissension among the moon pioneers (""But it's just the way it's always been back home. Most people don't bother to recognize their own community dangers""), and the young hero wonders again and again whether ""this was the best psychologists could do in screening people for the moon colony."" Sure enough, it turns out that the whole venture is just an elaborate device to select suitable colonists for Mars, and you can't help but sympathize with the misguided saboteur who was only looking for ""an honorable way out.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1972
Publisher: Criterion-Abelard Schuman