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Wednesday, June 5, 2019
WALKING on the SEA of CLOUDS: A SAGA of the FIRST COLONY on the MOON (audiobook) by Gray Rinehart
Published in 2019 by WordFire Press LLC.
Read by Stephanie Minervino.
Duration: 13 hours, 33 minutes.
In the year 2034 a private corporation is making an attempt to build a colony on the surface of the moon to act as a home base for asteroid miners. They make the long run from the moon to the asteroid belt and back so that the lunar base can refine the metals found in the asteroids. It's a solid plan, but it has to start with almost nothing and work it's way to the kind of lunar colony you see in the movies.
The world of 2034 is different in some ways. There are early references to some sort of traumatic biological problem, such as rampant infectious disease. A great deal of the early parts of the book is devoted to Stormie and Frank Pastorelli, two prospective lunar colonists that expose themselves to the risk of contracting a bloodborne pathogens when they help the victims of a car crash. The lengths they go to cleanse themselves of pathogens and the fear exhibited by other potential colonists tell me that this was not HIV or hepatitis. Sadly, it is never explained what the infection could have been even though the infection story line comes up again and again throughout the entire book.
NASA is rarely mentioned in this book because this colony is a private venture. Imagine if Elon Musk and Space-X decided to go the moon and you get the idea. But, it's not entirely a company operation - there are independent contractors that manage parts of the small-but-growing lunar colony and there are independent contractors that deliver goods. It all can be very complicated and decidedly not glamorous to hash out who has what responsibilities with the lawyers - just like most corporate gigs.
If you remember the literary devices you learned about in school (man vs. man, man vs. self, man vs. nature) - this book is almost entirely man vs. nature - the nature is the harsh environment of the moon. It is the ultimate unforgiving environment - it is so cold that you will die almost instantly upon exposure, it has no atmosphere so you can't even take a breath and fluids burn away immediately when the sunlight hits them. The temperature extremes (more than a 500+ degree Fahrenheit difference) are tough on the machinery and the dust...well the dust gets everywhere and unlike Earth dust, it can be sharp and jagged (no weathering to take off the harsh edges) and it can tear up all sorts of stuff.
Building a colony in such conditions can be a tedious venture. You cannot just say "good enough for now" and then come back and fix the leaks later on once the colony starts to make some money. It all has to be perfect on the first try or people die.
The audiobook was read by Stephanie Minervino. She was given a hard task in this book - there are a lot of male voices and there are a variety of accents (the first lunar colonies will have to access talent from around the world). She did a strong job with this book.
This book gives the reader a taste of what our first lunar colonists (I do believe that we will be there eventually - NASA is making rumblings about it again) will be up against. It will be, as noted above, a tedious venture. Tedious things do not make the best topics for a book and there are times when this book drags. It is is not a horrible book by any means - but it suffers from peaks and valleys and some of the valleys are pretty big.
I am giving this book 3 stars out of 5. It is not the most riveting of books, but this is a must listen/must read book if you are interested in getting a glimpse of the difficulties in the eventual colonizing of the moon.
This book can be found on Amazon.com here: WALKING on the SEA of CLOUDS: A SAGA of the FIRST COLONY on the MOON.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.