Books Magazine

Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys

Posted on the 05 April 2011 by Jimblack78
Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys
"Rogue Moon" is one of the classic "big dumb object" stories.  An alien artifact is discovered on the Moon.  Anyone who enters the construct dies.  How do you get around this problem?  Enter Dr. Edward Hawks.  Hawks has developed a matter transmitter.  The astronauts on the Moonbase assemble the transmitter so new "explorers" can transport from the Earth to the Moon.  The transmitter does not work quite like the transporters in Star Trek.  In this book, the transmitter makes a duplicate that is assembled in the receiver by using materials on the Moon.  The original stays in mental contact with the duplicate.  So far when one of the duplicates enters the structure and is killed, the original goes insane.  The solution to this problem is Al Barker.The book follows the interaction between Barker, Hawks, and various other characters as Barker's duplicates make it further and further into the construct.Budrys crafts a very interesting character study with this story.  Most books you read feature characters that are easy to identify with.  This one showcases very flawed, damaged people but Budrys' makes you want to learn more about them.  The exploration of the object is fascinating.  One of my favorite sections is when a character compares man exploring the construct to a beetle that gets stuck in a soup can.  We can never understand the creatures that made it or what it was created for.  Too often we assume that we can understand everything that we find in the universe.  Some mysteries are not meant to be solved.Highly recommended.

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