The Moon is a dangerous place in the political world of the
future. The Corta family and the Mackenzie family are just
two of the groups battling for power. Everyone here is
charged for water, data bandwidth, living space, oh, and
air. Welcome to LUNA.
With no atmosphere, the lunar dwellers are exposed to
radiation and cold, so the wealthy live burrowed deep into
regolith while the poor live near the surface. Industrial
areas are almost all automated. Elevators cost money.
Marina Calzaghe has lost a contract, despite a degree in
biology combined with process control architecture, and has
to climb ladders, scavenge, and sell personal assets. She lives
in Bairro Alto, above Gargarin Prospect. People here all
have silicosis from moon dust in their lungs. But she has
no choice. Then she gets a contract to cater for a coming
of age party.
Lucasinho Corta, whose party it is, is part of the wealthy
structure of the Moon, who profited from the helium-three
rush at the end of oil and now want to take their
independence from Earth. Why pay tax to the mother planet?
But some forces think assassination is the quickest way to
power. That's the situation when Marina's quick
thinking enables her to save a life at the party. The
Cortas owe her; but if the Mafia-like family gives her a
job, she may not be that much safer.
Author Ian McDonald is British and has previously
written a science fiction book set in a future Brazil,
called BRAZYL. He continues the Portuguese and Brazilian
theme with many characters being Brazilian in his Moon
environment, and some describing their life in the future,
chaotic Sao Paulo.
There are many new terms for us, such as bu-hwaejang,
escolta or nikah, to fit the clashes of culture in this
hive of humanity. Rachel Mackenzie has plans for her
Australian firm, Mackenzie Metals, to diversify into the
areas jealously guarded by the Corta family, amid others,
but mining firms have claim-jumping to concern them too.
People have net-connected familiars to process data, rather
than typing into search engines or paying in cash. This
means that if they suddenly have no familiar they're
stymied. In this enclosed environment of a million people,
gold is cheap, coffee worth far more; people sit under sun
lamps for vitamin D and take depressurisation drills. I
particularly like the descriptions of mining the surface
regolith. The only drawback for me with this layered,
detailed thriller is that we seem to be taking a guided
tour around LUNA rather than becoming absorbed by any of
the characters, who are often cut-throats and unlikeable.
There are adult scenes, violence and strong language so Ian
McDonald comes across as definitely writing for adult
science fiction readers.
The Moon wants to kill you. Whether it's being unable to
pay your per diem for your allotted food,
water, and air, or you just get caught up in a fight
between the Moon's ruling corporations, the
Five Dragons. You must fight for every inch you want to
gain in the Moon's near feudal society.
And that is just what Adriana Corta did.
As the leader of the Moon's newest "dragon," Adriana has
wrested control of the Moon's Helium-
3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought
to earn her family's new status.
Now, at the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her
corporation, Corta Helio, surrounded by the
many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the
Corta family is to survive, Adriana's five
children must defend their mother's empire from her many
enemies... and each other.