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Hot Moon

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Imagine for a second what would have happened if the Soviets had gotten a cosmonaut to the moon first, if Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had been in a humiliating second place. Everything would have unfolded differently. America would never have let the Soviets win the space race. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, political suicide for any president. We'd Imagine for a second what would have happened if the Soviets had gotten a cosmonaut to the moon first, if Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had been in a humiliating second place. Everything would have unfolded differently. America would never have let the Soviets win the space race. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, political suicide for any president. We'd have gritted our teeth and doubled down, poured billions into the Apollo program. HOT MOON is set in 1979 in this alternate world. The US and the Soviets both have permanent moon bases, orbiting space stations, and manned spy satellites supported by frequent rocket launches. Reagan is President and the Cold War is hotter than ever. The crew of Apollo 32, commanded by Vivian Carter, career astronaut, docks at NASA's Columbia space station on their way to their main mission: exploring the volcanic Marius Hills region of the Moon. Vivian is caught in the crossfire as four Soviet Soyuz craft appear without warning to assault the orbiting station. The fight for the Moon has begun!


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Imagine for a second what would have happened if the Soviets had gotten a cosmonaut to the moon first, if Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had been in a humiliating second place. Everything would have unfolded differently. America would never have let the Soviets win the space race. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, political suicide for any president. We'd Imagine for a second what would have happened if the Soviets had gotten a cosmonaut to the moon first, if Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had been in a humiliating second place. Everything would have unfolded differently. America would never have let the Soviets win the space race. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, political suicide for any president. We'd have gritted our teeth and doubled down, poured billions into the Apollo program. HOT MOON is set in 1979 in this alternate world. The US and the Soviets both have permanent moon bases, orbiting space stations, and manned spy satellites supported by frequent rocket launches. Reagan is President and the Cold War is hotter than ever. The crew of Apollo 32, commanded by Vivian Carter, career astronaut, docks at NASA's Columbia space station on their way to their main mission: exploring the volcanic Marius Hills region of the Moon. Vivian is caught in the crossfire as four Soviet Soyuz craft appear without warning to assault the orbiting station. The fight for the Moon has begun!

39 review for Hot Moon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Grady

    A superb mind-expanding sci-fi novel! British born Maryland author Alan Smale earned his degrees in Physics and in Astrophysics from Oxford University and now serves as a researcher into black holes and neutron stars at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. He has published extensive scientific articles as well as short stories in top ranking anthologies, his own novels - The Clash of Eagles Trilogy, and now begins a new series Apollo Rising of which HOT MOON is the initial volume. His A superb mind-expanding sci-fi novel! British born Maryland author Alan Smale earned his degrees in Physics and in Astrophysics from Oxford University and now serves as a researcher into black holes and neutron stars at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. He has published extensive scientific articles as well as short stories in top ranking anthologies, his own novels - The Clash of Eagles Trilogy, and now begins a new series Apollo Rising of which HOT MOON is the initial volume. His writing reflects his interest in historical fiction, alternate or twisted history, and hard science fiction. Establishing a solid rapport with his readers, Smale opens his book with intricately detailed drawings of spacecrafts (Apollo and Soyuz) and the Columbia space station, along with photographs of the moon’s surface complete with maps of the locations in the story - solid optics to increase the credibility of the story that follows. The novel is placed in the timeframe December 1, 1979 – February 29, 1980, and the tension of this adventure is evident from the opening lines: ‘In orbit around the Moon, ferocious bees assaulted a tin can. Spacesuited, untethered, and in free fall, Vivian Carter struggled to focus her thoughts and make sense of the scene before her. Woozy from pain and shock, she heard no voices in her headset, nothing but the seething white-noise hiss of jammed S-band communications. That can’t be right. It was that empty hiss that freaked her out the most. She was alone in the void, between spacecraft, and as isolated as she had ever been. Comms were critical, and Vivian had none.’ That entry into the conflict between the US and Soviets proves to be a most exhilarating sci-fi novel! Taking place entirely on the moon, the storyline follows – ‘In an alternate 1979 the US and the Soviets have permanent Moon bases, orbiting space stations, and crewed spy satellites supported by frequent rocket launches. Apollo 32, commanded by career astronaut Vivian Carter, docks at NASA's Columbia space station en route to its main mission: exploring the volcanic Marius Hills region of the Moon. Vivian is caught in the crossfire as four Soviet Soyuz craft appear without warning to assault the orbiting station. In an unplanned and desperate move, Vivian spacewalks through hard vacuum back to her Lunar Module and crew and escapes right before the station falls into Soviet hands. Their original mission scrubbed, Vivian and her crew are redirected to land at Hadley Base, a NASA scientific outpost with a crew of eighteen. But soon Hadley, too, will come under Soviet attack, forcing its unarmed astronauts to daring acts of ingenuity and improvisation.’ The author’s fluid use of opposite perspectives – US and Soviet – adds to the strength of this ‘fantasy’ that seems entirely credible. Clearly, this is a major new novel cum series by an author with profound experience and insights into the spectrum of science and science fiction – a terrific marriage! Very highly recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    The Review This was such an intricate and detailed sci-fi meets historical fiction read. The world-building and tension the author brings to life by utilizing the backdrop of the Cold War was an inspired choice, especially given how integral the space race was to the Cold War. I loved how the author was able to use their background and expertise to delve into the heavier aspects of the sci-fi genre, while also incorporating much of the Cold War era tech and political leanings that would have made The Review This was such an intricate and detailed sci-fi meets historical fiction read. The world-building and tension the author brings to life by utilizing the backdrop of the Cold War was an inspired choice, especially given how integral the space race was to the Cold War. I loved how the author was able to use their background and expertise to delve into the heavier aspects of the sci-fi genre, while also incorporating much of the Cold War era tech and political leanings that would have made up the majority of this book’s cast of characters. The technical aspects of the narrative were felt immediately, with the main character breaking down the technical details of their space suit and how an AK-47 could fire in space. Even the opening of the book has diagrams, blueprints, and maps that relate to the tech that would have been available at that time. It was the cast of characters that really made this story shine. The author did an amazing job of capturing the POV of both sides of the Cold War through these characters, allowing readers to see events from both the U.S. and Soviet Union sides of the war as the action unfolds. The strength and courage of the protagonist Vivian Carter was inspiring to read about and added a human depth to the sci-fi heavy narrative. The Verdict Intriguing, adrenaline-fueled, and engaging, author Alan Smale’s “Hot Moon” is the perfect sci-fi meets political thriller and historical fiction read and the best start to the Apollo Rising series! The imagery and atmosphere that the author built really gave a great cinematic quality to the author’s writing and allowed for the political intrigue and suspense to build quietly as readers delved deeper and deeper into this entertaining world the author built.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    Quintessential hard science fiction! I love alternative histories, so the premise behind Hot Moon really appealed to me. Unfortunately, I realized very quickly that I am not the intended audience. On the first page astronaut Vivian Carter is shot in the shoulder by a Russian cosmonaut while she is outside her spacecraft, a suspenseful opening, and we have a short discussion of how an assault rifle would be able to work in space and also how the design of her spacesuit kept her from losing her air Quintessential hard science fiction! I love alternative histories, so the premise behind Hot Moon really appealed to me. Unfortunately, I realized very quickly that I am not the intended audience. On the first page astronaut Vivian Carter is shot in the shoulder by a Russian cosmonaut while she is outside her spacecraft, a suspenseful opening, and we have a short discussion of how an assault rifle would be able to work in space and also how the design of her spacesuit kept her from losing her air despite being penetrated by the bullet. On the next page there are descriptions of the Command and Service Module and the Lunar Module and the Columbia Station. That was interesting enough, but such technical details kept coming literally on every page. I say this with some confidence, because I did random checks through the book as I was deciding whether or not to continue reading. The technical info overwhelmed the story for me, and I just was not interested in that much detail. I am confident that the speculation is credible and the technical expositions well done. Author Alan Amale did impressive research. I have seen academic papers with shorter bibliographies. There is also a short writeup on the technical and political background that inspired the book that was very interesting. I have friends who would really geek out on this book, and I will be recommending it to them, but the amount of technical detail was more than I could enjoy. I received an advance review copy of this book from Edelweiss and Caezik SF and Fantasy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark Uhlar

    This was a great book. Alternate history is always hard to write but man did this one deliver. The only downside is waiting for book two to come out. But such is life. A fantastic book by one of the best writers doing this kind of thing these days. Thank you netgalley for the advanced read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This is pretty good. Alt history seems to be Smale's sweet spot, and he created a mostly engaging story that kept me interested. I liked a lot of the characters as well. A lot of hard scifi fans will probably like this one. I really appreciate the free ARC for review!! This is pretty good. Alt history seems to be Smale's sweet spot, and he created a mostly engaging story that kept me interested. I liked a lot of the characters as well. A lot of hard scifi fans will probably like this one. I really appreciate the free ARC for review!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jirnsum

  7. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elliott

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stan Barndt

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Kane

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert Arl

  12. 4 out of 5

    David H.

  13. 4 out of 5

    roboticmaenad

  14. 5 out of 5

    Frank

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jameyanne Fuller

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matt Mitrovich

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael Stango

  21. 5 out of 5

    Olav

  22. 5 out of 5

    Inti Gutierrez

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rusty Shackleford

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carlex

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  26. 5 out of 5

    Larry

  27. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

  28. 4 out of 5

    REMEMBER UKRAINE NOW ReadingReindeer

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex Helm

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ed

  31. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  32. 5 out of 5

    Doug Engstrom

  33. 5 out of 5

    Tine

  34. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  35. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

  36. 5 out of 5

    Nan Nelson

  37. 5 out of 5

    Grouchy Historian

  38. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

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