Who was the first man to land on the moon ?
Mike Reswick & Jack McDevitt may have other views than you.
I love conspiracy books, works that challenge what we regard as the norm. I get excited when I think there might be a conspiracy or that what we hold dear in history might be challenged by new thinking and new discoveries. Are there aliens who have visited earth ? Does Jesus and his family still live on ? I’ve read many of these over the years from the Da Vinci Code to the Atlantis series. I want to think that there is something we don’t know, something hidden and kept secret for generations. Fiction allows us to experience such things but there’s a gulf from doing it well to badly. Sadly a lot of books fail at the final hurdle because what they propose hasn’t been well thought out.
The Cassandra Project by Mike Renswick and Jack McDevitt takes the lunar landing conspiracy theory and turns it on it’s head. Usually when we think of conspiracies about the first landing on the moon, we think about how NASA and the US government faked the landings and really they were filmed in a studio. So who was the first man to land on the moon ? We’ll all say Neil Armstrong ‘One small step for mankind’, but according to the authors it wasn’t.
The Cassandra Project tells an alternative story about secret lunar mission. The chief protagonist Jerry Culpepper is the PR director at NASA during 2019, the fiftieth anniversary of the lunar landing. To celebrate this landmark, NASA releases a series of photos and recording of the whole Apollo flights. A message from one of the preceding flights hints that the spacecraft may actually have been preparing to land on the surface. At the same time a private moon shot is being proposed by a multi billionaire. What unravels is a tale of what and ifs culminating in a twist right at the end.
The book is well written but somehow never really hits the heights. The pace never deviates much above walking and there is a sense at times that this novella turned full length novel would have been best left in it’s original form. That’s not to say it’s a bad book. The premise is still strong, the characters, although slightly stereotypical, are Ok and you are rooting for them to find the truth all the way through. Not the best from Jack McDevitt but still a better conspiracy book than many.