Luna – Ian McDonald

One of the first books I read for my new dissertation (third time lucky) and what a brilliant book it was. I have not read much in the way of science fiction apart from the books on our reading list (Frankenstein, Dracula etc.) and did not know what to expect.

The book throws you in the deep beginning with very little explanation as to where the characters are and why they are about to do what they are doing. The whole familial situation is so complex McDonald provides the reader with a character breakdown of who is related to who and which family they belong to. While there are several families and factions involved within the novel the reader follows Corta family as they find themselves thrown into political upheaval after an attempted assassination.

Even though there are so many characters as the book progressed it became easier to follow each character’s arc and see how one person’s actions affected the others. McDonald does not lack in character description and landscape description, I didn’t even know you could describe so much on the Moon! We see how people came to populate the Moon and how others started to join to form its very own society. McDonald demonstrates how tough life has become on the Moon where money talks and if you want to live you had better be able to afford the air you breathe. The introduction of Marina Calzaghe shows how different and difficult life is for someone who doesn’t have money compared to someone who does. The brutality of trying to live is only second to who is running the Moon.

This is shown nicely in comparison to life on Earth seen through analepsis through Adriana Corta’s eyes, the founder of Corta Helio. Back on Earth money isn’t the ruling body as such but power is and where that power comes from is the defining question. McDonald supposes that once we have run out of resources the Moon is the next place we must look to keep the lights on. As hard as it is for me to admit I can see our species doing this, extracting everything this planet has to offer and then looking to the next rock. The idea is very real and most probably an option for some people. I find it scary that I would actually consider this to be an option for the future where the very air we breathe is regulated and paid for.

In spite of this I loved the book and was loathed to put it down without a second instalment, thankfully one is coming out later this year which I go straight to the top of my to be read pile.

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