Lunar Descent

Allen Steele, Author Ace Books $7.99 (325p) ISBN 978-0-441-50485-5
Steele's (one title/pk Clarke County, Space ) new tale glimpses the doingspk on an industrialized moon, circa 2024. Descartes Station is a lunar factory responsible for producing oxygen and other elements for parent company Skycorp's more lucrative projects. Lester Riddell, former administrator of the base and a recovering alcoholic, has been recalled to boost the station's morale as well as its output. Unfortunately, the base's staffers--known as ``moondogs''--are a recalcitrant bunch. Steele fills his hard SF novel with a rogue's gallery of caricatures and stereotypes, including a humorless head of security, a scientist who worked as a high-fashion model and a crooked hacker with a heart of gold. Though most of the novel is devoted to mood pieces about life on the moon and frat-boy high jinks, Steele sketches a slim plot line concerning the attempts of Uchu-Hiko, an evil Japanese space corporation, to buy control of the station. Despite their differences, the moondogs rally together, organizing a strike and standing up to their management. The ending is as predictable as Steele's jokes and forced slapstick humor: a tired exercise in low lunar gravity. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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