Fred Fredericks is making his first trip to the moon in order to install a communications system for the Chinese. But he is a witness to a murder shortly after arriving and he goes in to hiding. Also on the moon is Chan Qi, the daughter of the First Minister of Finance, and her presence is of great interest to those in political power. Their paths will cross in what is a sci-fi political thriller.
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Kim Stanley Robinson’s work. His characters are flesh and blood. When we read a Kim Stanley Robinson story it feels as though we are reading a (future) history book, with characters who really exist(ed) and have been documented.
When we read a Robinson story we also get a complex story that takes a lot of reading concentration to follow – and this is great! Red Moon fits right in to the Robinson style of story-telling. This is more a political thriller that happens to take place on the moon rather than a sci-fi story with a political thriller theme. The difference may be subtle, but it’s there.
I think it’s probably not a surprise to anyone who reads much KSR that he has an affinity for Asian culture and it makes a lot of sense that Robinson would make the Chinese a major power in the colonization of the moon (coincidentally enough, as I was reading this book China landed a rover on the dark side of the moon).
A small problem with this is that as a Western-raised reader, the Chinese names were difficult for me to pronounce (even silently) and sometimes to follow. I recognize that this is something that only time can really solve for me.
It took me a little while to get settled in to the political intrigue here, even though it wasn’t really a surprise for me. The number of major characters is pretty small for a Robinson story but I still wasn’t sure whose story we were really following (or if was multiple stories that would eventually converge). Once it started to make more sense to me (about half way through) I became more involved in the story and I was getting more and more eager to see where this was going.
And then Robinson did something that I absolutely hate…. He didn’t finish the book. This book is left open-ended in order to get us to buy the next book. While this is probably more on the publisher than on Robinson, it doesn’t really matter, the end result is that we get an incomplete story which brings my rating down.
I will always read a Robinson book and it goes without saying that I am interested to see what happens next, but I definitely don’t care to be left hanging.
Looking for a good book? Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson is worth reading, but since it’s not a complete story in itself it might be worth waiting for the series to be complete before giving it a read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Kim Stanley Robinson
hardcover, 446 pages