The Menace from Farside

Ian McDonald. Tor.com, $14.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-24779-7
The sophisticated worldbuilding McDonald presented in his Luna trilogy is sadly absent in this forgettable novella, presented in the form of a bratty teen’s recounting of an adventure to a therapist. In 2089, Cariad Corcoran, who was born on the Moon, is rattled by the arrival of a previously unknown stepsister, Sidibe Sisay, whose existence further complicates her messy family relationships. Intimidated by Sidibe’s height, beauty, and ability to fly (a nod, as the title suggests, to Robert A. Heinlein’s 1957 story “The Menace from Earth”), Cariad concocts a scheme that is somehow supposed to undermine Sidibe’s new prominence in the family. Cariad, Sidibe, and two others are to travel to the Sea of Tranquility to leave their marks next to Neil Armstrong’s footprint, a mission that proves unexpectedly perilous. The Luna novels feature a complex struggle for power among family-run corporations that have industrialized the Moon; this slight effort will disappoint readers hoping for more glimpses of those elements, as here the tangled dynamics come across as superficial and confusing. Heinlein fans might get a chuckle out of the parallels, but McDonald fans will find the story unimpressive. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/14/2019
Release date: 11/12/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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