• Hot Moon

  • Apollo Rising, Book 1
  • By: Alan Smale
  • Narrated by: Vivienne Leheny
  • Length: 20 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Hot Moon  By  cover art

Hot Moon

By: Alan Smale
Narrated by: Vivienne Leheny
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Publisher's Summary

From the Sidewise Award-winning author of the acclaimed Clash of Eagles trilogy comes an alternate 1979 where the United States 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 Station in lunar orbit 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 into daring acts of ingenuity and improvisation. 

With multiple viewpoints, shifting from American to Soviet perspective, from occupied space station to American Moon base under siege, to a covert and blistering US Air Force military response, Hot Moon tells the gripping story of a war in space that very nearly might have been.

©2022 Alan Smale (P)2022 Recorded Books

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A thrill from the start!

I was slightly skeptical upon starting this book as I was worried that it would be too similar to the AppleTV series "For All Mankind." My worries were quickly alleviated however as, aside from the basic premise of an alternate version of the lunar space race, this book quickly took on a unique and intriguing story.
The narration was rough at a few points, seeming as though the narrator wasn't sure what to emphasize in certain sentences. Other than that, the narration was enjoyable and conveyed a good amount of emotion and urgency.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed the book and am looking forward to Book II!

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Great ideas, but needed an edit

This is hard science fiction of the hardest sort. All of the technology used either existed or plausibly could have existed in the 1970s framework of the story. The technology is also handled well, with no obvious mistakes in the science. The plot ideas are interesting, and the characters are memorable. The narrator's performance was solid.

The downside is that this story badly needed some more editing. There are some short sections that seem out of place and disconnected from the narrative, as if they were left over from an earlier draft. Other parts drag on in a way that doesn't carry the story well. It's a normal part of the writing process, but it should have been cleaned up better.