Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Moon

I don't feel like doing this right now but someone might write a detailed analysis of journeys to the Moon in works by Jules Verne, HG Wells and Robert Heinlein, then lunar colonization in:

Heinlein's Future History;
Larry Niven's Known Space History;
three future histories and one time travel series by Poul Anderson.

Verne's characters merely circumnavigate the Moon I think because Verne could not think of a way to get them safely onto the surface or back off it;

Wells had Selenites, lunar natives;

Heinlein's Future History is the only future history old enough to include an account of the first journey to the Moon and tells it from an unusual perspective, not that of the astrogator in the rocket but that of the financier back on Earth;

Heinlein has three "first man on the Moon" stories - his Future History version, his Scribner Juvenile version and his film version;

Anderson, in his Harvest of Stars History, has Lunarians, human beings genetically adapted to live, work and breed in lunar gravity - although not unprotected on the lunar surface!;

in the low gravity, Lunarians stand where Terrestrials would sit and are perfectly adapted to colonize a dense asteroid in the Kuiper Belt and also the asteroids in other planetary systems;

they create colorful, vibrant habitats inside caverns of bare rock;

in Anderson's Harvest The Fire (New York, 1997), a frustrated poet on the Moon quotes Buzz Aldrin's "Magnificent desolation."

Anderson's works read like a culmination of all that has gone before.


John said...

"in the low gravity, Lunarians stand where Terrestrials would sit". Somewhat prophetic as the Apollo lunar modules had no seats. 1/6 gravity meant the astronauts could safely land standing up.

Paul Shackley said...

But also not prophetic because Apollo preceded the Harvest of the Stars series. Still, Anderson was able to project social consequences of living in lunar gravity.

Sean M. Brooks said...


And one point I remember about HARVEST OF STARS is that ordinary, unmodified human women were unable to bring babies to full term in the low gravity of the Moon. At least that was how Poul Anderson speculated might be the case in the book. If only bases and colonies had been founded on the Moon LONG ago we would have long since known if that would be the case. Ggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Yes, I agree, I think Jules Verne had his characters only circumnavigating the Moon because he was unable to think of a reasonably plausible way for them to land on and then leave the Moon. Verne's novel FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON truly was straining at the very edge (or over it!) of the then available technology enabling men to leave Earth and rise out of its gravity well.