Back to the Moon
The shuttle is hijacked. Now the countdown to adventure begins....
In his #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, October Sky, real-life NASA engineer Homer Hickam captured the excitement of America's first space ventures. Now, in this no-holds-barred joyride of a thriller, he straps us into the cockpit of the space shuttle Columbia as a renegade rocket man hijacks the shuttle--and blasts off on a Mach-speed chase into space....
Jack Medaris is a man haunted by his past and driven by a dream: He's risking everything to "borrow" the Columbia--and pilot it to the moon. He didn't plan on an unexpected passenger, beautiful celebrity daredevil and scientist Penny High Eagle. To Penny, this hijacking will test every bit of her mettle as an adventurer--and as a woman. To Jack, the mission is a personal quest--to return to the moon and bring back what America left behind, something so explosive, it could change the future of the world. Now, as the U.S. government scrambles to the chase, and as deadly forces are deployed from earth to stop them, a man and a woman find their fates inextricably entwined. And in the savage emptiness of deep space, their only hope is to join forces to reach the lunar surface. Then comes the hard part. Getting home alive.
From the informed imagination of the author of Rocket Boys: A Memoir (finalist for an NBCC Award; made into the movie October Sky), Hickham's fanciful debut novel reads like an Indiana Jones adventure-in-space. It's 2002 on Cedar Key, Fla., and former NASA engineer Jack Medaris's high-tech company makes plans to send a rocket to the moon. The mission is to bring back a quantity of the rare isotope helium-3 to power a reactor that will supply the earth with clean fusion energy for centuries to come. When the space vehicle is destroyed by shadowy conspirators, Jack decides to "legally" hijack the space shuttle Columbia. Just before Columbia takes off on its meticulously planned orbit mission, the renegade astronauts attempt to displace the scheduled crew, an unlikely all-female bunch Hickam has rendered ridiculous by portraying them as catfighting shrews. In the fracas, Jack's veteran shuttle pilot is fatally wounded and the Native American prima donna Penny High Eagle--a gorgeous celebrity biologist, bestselling author and the object of contempt from the original female crew--winds up in space with Jack. With romance blossoming in zero gravity, international forces collide as a sinister fossil-fuel consortium conspires to destroy the shuttle. Onetime NASA-engineer Hickam packs his narrative with complicated space-program minutiae, risking his readers' comprehension of the wild plot. Riddled with space jargon acronyms (LEM, EVA, etc.), the cosmic romp both enthralls and numbs. But as Hickam's tale heats up, the reader's tenacity pays off, and the rocket ride achieves high velocity. Major ad/promo; author tour.
Plot is non stop an science is realistic. Hickam is a great author!
A wild ride
Venturing outside the realm of Coalwood memories, Homer Hickam's "Back to the Moon" proves to have more twists and turns than a conventional roller coaster. Mr. Hickam weaves the romance between an intrepid former astronaut & an arrogant celebrity-scientist, the technical aspects and perils of space flight, and Jack Medaris' admirable determination together with such ease that I was frequently reminded not only of his skill as a writer, but of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's importance to our future.