In the 1970s astronauts brought rock samples back from the Moon. Many remained locked away for decades ! including one unique piece of bedrock, the Moonseed. At last exposed to daylight, it proves to be deadly, though not to people. It kills the Earth. In his new novel, Stephen Baxter, 'the best SF author in Britain' (SFX), contemplates rock -- living rock. Transported to Earth by Apollo astronaut Jays Malone in 1972, a single shard of bedrock from the Moon contains within its innocuous-looking shell the power to destroy worlds. Geologist Henry Meacher -- his career at JPL in ruins, his marriage over -- is given a sample of the Moon bedrock to analyse. He goes with it to Edinburgh University, the only place that will have him. There the deadly Moon rock accidentally comes into contact with the Earth's core in the form of lava from Edinburgh's famous extinct volcanoes. It turns solid rock to seething Moonseed dust. Soon perhaps the whole world will be infected. Inspired, terrified, Henry Meacher is a changed man. If the worst happens, his plan is to take Earth's displaced peoples from the Earth to the Moon. Baxter's stunning story is one of disaster, desperate measures and damage limitation, forcing humanity to an excess of ingenuity and courage. Ironically, it is a newly terraformed Moon that holds the key to our survival!
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Stephen Baxter, the much-lauded author of Voyage and Titan, has been praised as a sci-fi writer who gets the science right. This rigor and research are clearly evident in Moonseed, a tale with high-energy physics and space-travel technology in starring roles. It's Baxter's boyish enthusiasm for science--especially space travel--that makes Moonseed so involving.
A world-class disaster epic worthy of any Saturday matinee, Moonseed opens with the spectacular, explosive death of Venus, an event requiring energy a thousand billion times the world's nuclear arsenal. As the radioactive blast from the late Venus reaches Earth, scientists scramble to attribute a cause, with massless black holes and elementary particles the size of bacteria pointing towards some sort of superstring as the smoking gun. The pace quickens when the substance that may have caused the demise of Venus is accidentally introduced to Earth. This substance, dubbed moonseed, acts as a geological lubricant: processes that normally take millions of years occur in mere months with moonseed in the picture. Once Scotland and the state of Washington get gobbled up by this rock-eating, 10th-dimensional nano-lifeform, all hell breaks loose and the search turns towards finding safe refuge for humanity on the Moon. The book's second half is a seat-of-your-pants, what-if exploration of space travel and terraforming.
An over-the-top doomsday yarn by some measures, Moonseed keeps your feet on the ground with good science, good characters, and a good story. --Paul HughesAbout the Author:
Stephen Baxter applied to become an astronaut in 1991. He didn't make it, but achieved the next best thing by becoming a science fiction writer, and his novels and short stories have been published and have won awards around the world. His science background is in maths and engineering. He is married and lives in Buckinghamshire.
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