Book Review: The Eagle Has Landed: 50 Years of Lunar Science Fiction by Neil Clarke

The Eagle Has Landed: 50 Years of Lunar Science Fiction by Neil Clarke
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 stars)
Publisher: Night Shade (July 2019)

A collection of short stories about humans living and working on the Moon is something I won't ever turn down. I actually chose this because some of my favourite science fiction authors are featured in this collection (Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kim Stanley Robinson, Nancy Kress, Ian MacDonald & Gregory Benford) but I also looked forward to all the new to me's.

These stories are ordered chronologically and span from 1976 to 2018 and that made for a nice way to read how the moon and our relationship with it have been imagined. It was admittedly difficult for me not to jump right to the authors I was already a fan of but I'm glad that I didn't. As with all anthologies, not every story was to my liking but there was more than enough here that I very much enjoyed. A very well done collection by Neil Clarke that I am so glad I read.

My Best of the Bunch (in the order they appear in the book)

Bagatelle by John Varley (1976)- Such a wonderful story I put his Eight Worlds series on my TBR and wondered how I've never come across his work. A good bit of humour for a story about a human-bomb named Hans intent on a major terrorist attack.

A Walk In The Sun by Geoffrey A Landis (1991)- The story of a sole survivor of a crash on the moon is faced with the conundrum of staying alive until a rescue team can make it to her. Her immediate problem isn't the 30 days that will take but the fact her suit (that handles air & water reclamation) relies on a solar panel and her location is shortly to be overtaken by a 14 day lunar night. This probably got to me more since Oppy's last message "My battery is low and it's getting dark." I've never hoped more for a character to have a successful power walk. Magnificent desolation, indeed.

Waging Good by Robert Reed (1995, revised 2018)- A privileged woman takes the fall for a crime & her friends let her. After she's sent to earth and learns about the lives of the impoverished and preyed upon she returns to moon ready to settle scores but instead sees how impoverished those she came for are.

How We Lost the Moon, A True Story by Frank W. Allen by Paul J. McAuley (1999)

SeniorSource by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (2008)- KKR can take me to the moon with detectives any time. Here ageing, corporate influence and office politics are front and center against a backdrop of life on Earth being so undesirable and worse, fatal that the fear of being sent back is the lens through which all decisions and moves are made.

The Economy of Vacuum by Sarah Thomas (2009)- This story of a woman living in a lunar habitat when the world powers go to war on Earth became progressively more harrowing and heartbreaking for the woman and civilization.

The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt (2010)- A wonderful story about an obscure and forgotten project on the moon being revisited with a truly sobering ending. It couldn't be other with a title like this.

Fly Me to the Moon by Marianne J. Dyson (2010)- There's a crisis on the moon and the only person who has the expertise to assist is an Apollo astronaut now living under an assumed name in an assisted care facility and suffering from Alzheimer's. His young caregiver relates the story. It was moving, exciting and will stay with me.

Every Hour of Light & Dark by Nancy Kress (2017)- Kress never disappoints. Art forgers on the moon can be jealous creatures.

Honourable Mention

Sunday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl’s by Adam Troy Castro (2001)
The Clear Blue Seas of Luna by Gregory Benford (2002)
The Moon Belongs to Everyone by Michael Alexander and K.C. Ball (2012)
The Fifth Dragon by Ian Macdonald (2016)- I realized when I began reading that this is chapter straight out of Luna: New Moon which I've already read so nothing new for me here. I just recommend reading Luna as it's just a great, encompassing saga.
In the Event of a Moon Disaster by Rich Larson (2018)

Many thanks to the publisher for the advanced reader's copy.

Summary: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, the endlessly-mysterious moon is explored in this reprint short science fiction anthology from award-winning editor and anthologist Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld, The Best Science Fiction of the Year).
On July 20, 1969, mankind made what had only years earlier seemed like an impossible leap forward: when Apollo 11 became the first manned mission to land on the moon, and Neil Armstrong the first person to step foot on the lunar surface.
While there have only been a handful of new missions since, the fascination with our planet’s satellite continues, and generations of writers and artists have imagined the endless possibilities of lunar life. From adventures in the vast gulf of space between the earth and the moon, to journeys across the light face to the dark side, to the establishment of permanent residences on its surface, science fiction has for decades given readers bold and forward-thinking ideas about our nearest interstellar neighbor and what it might mean to humankind, both now and in our future.
The Eagle Has Landed collects the best stories written in the fifty years since mankind first stepped foot on the lunar surface, serving as a shining reminder that the moon is and always has been our most visible and constant example of all the infinite possibility of the wider universe.

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