Monday, December 28, 2009

Back to the Moon

Footprints on a Secret Moon; David Senechal (PublishAmerica; 2006; ISBN 1-4242-4735-2; cover by David Senechal).

Some time ago, I picked up this book via Amazon. It is by David Senechal and seems to be ultra-small press, vanity press or self-published.

The premise from the blurbs seemed interesting. A guy cobbles together a lunar vehicle, using, among other things, a Gemini capsule that never flew (remember the Robert Altman movie Countdown, based on a the book Project Pilgrim by Hank Searles and based on a real proposal if Apollo did not pan out?).

However...the book is turning out to require possibly one suspension of disbelief too many.

Now, I can suspend my disbelief easily the bigger the concepts or the grander the scale. "Doc" Smith with hurtling planets? No problem. But the closer to get to "real tech", the harder time I have.

So far, we've had in the book:

A Gemini capsule gets stolen from a museum...

A guy manages to buy quite a bit of second-hand space gear from a variety of sources, mostly financed by his job as an aircraft mechanic. Eventually he goes to the owner of a news network (probably based on Fox) for money, but he gets pretty far on his own.

Among the things he acquires is a rocket engine that can be throttled, sort of like the one used on the LM. He gets this at least semi-legit, but the cost is high but he does it.

He gets a half-dozen folks, ranging from another aircraft mechanic to a ex-Boeing engineer who built that engine, to help him.

In order to get back home he plans to salvage fuel from one of the LM's...

SOMEHOW...he monkeys with the manifest of the space shuttle payload and gets his vehicle—with him in it—loaded into the payload bay of a space shuttle at pretty much the last minute—at the pad! The shuttle launches (with all that extra weight), but when it is realized that the mystery "satellite" is not a military payload that they were "told" (via e-mail, no follow-up, no verification!), the shuttle ejects it in case it is a bomb or some such.

So, not being on the course he originally planned...our hero fires up his laptop, uses his souped up GPS to determine where he is, shoots some stars, plots a new course, and heads for the Moon.

Our Hero goes to the Moon. Part of his plan is to zero in on one of the Apollo landing sites, take pictures, and salvage fuel from the LM. He uses the laser reflectors left by the Apollo missions to zero in on the landing site.

He touches down.

There ain't no LM. There's a "Surveyor Mark II" with a laser reflector on it. The Apollo missions were all faked. It's a BIG LIE, get it? A lie that involved those that loaded the Surveyor into the compartment where the LM was supposed to be, that involved all those astronauts, all those pad technicians, all those mission control folks at Kennedy and Johnson Space Center, all those wives and children of those astronauts who did not fly, all those...well, you get the idea.

A Big Lie that was perpetuated by NASA year after year, that somehow (after that) allowed them to build the shuttle, fly unmanned missions to Mars and the other planets, participate in the Mir program, start on the ISS...a Big Lie administration after administration went along with even though they could have blown the lid off what the opposition did. A Big Lie that no newspaper or television reporter ever uncovered. Urgh.

Anyway, he gets some fuel from the Surveyor. Enough to partly get home, but on a skewed orbit.

Russia, having learned that they were not beaten to the Moon, decides to help on this private mission and therefore share the glory. So they prep, crew, fuel and launch a under 24 hours, to rescue Our Hero.

Things go wrong (more) and one of the Russians dies. They are off course, so the Soyuz has to do a water landing.

They are saved, our hero has one moon rock and a soggy space suit. The people rejoice.

Sigh. I want my day back.


Bill Swears said...


If you haven't heard of PublishAmerica before, it's seems to be sort of a cross between a vanity press, a POD publisher, and a con-game.
are two good links to give you an idea of how /interesting/ publishamerica's business ethics have been...

John Lambshead said...

Publish America have a certain reputation amongst professional authors.

The thing about conspiracies is that the addition of each person that knows exponentially increases the chance of discovery.

I saw a programme the other day where a collection of nutters explained how George Bush, the Republican Party and American government officials conspired to demolish the twin towers.