Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ben Bova's "Moon Race" (short story, racing, free): Description of a legged machine to explored rugged interior of a lunar crater

Illustration by Garret WVance accompanying the short story Moon Race by Ben Bova. Click image for full sized original image.May be among the better racing stories by anyone. It's set on moon, with a hard sf telling style.

Story summary.

"Selene City is built into the base of Mt. Yeager, the tallest mountain in the ring wall of the giant crater Alphonsus. Two-thirds of the way across the crater floor lie the remains of Ranger 9, one of the early unmanned probes from back in the days before Armstrong and Aldrin landed over in the Sea of Tranquility."

6 vehicles will participate in the race - from an airlock of Selene to Ranger 9 & back - about 200 km & 10 hours journey circuiting "around the hump of rugged hills in the center of Alphonsus."

5 ordinary regular vehicles - wheeled or tracked. And 1 experimental 6-legged walker called Stomper, driven by Taylor Reed who is out to sell the idea of his legged vehicle.

Some drama as Taylor breaks the rules by taking a shortcut climbing over the intervening hills considered dangerous, & getting disqualified. But, of course, he finishes first. And, of course, there are businessmen who care about a new kind of vehicle that makes accessible places that were hitherto out of reach.

Story includes some details of lunar surface - I suppose realistic, in spite of being imaginary.


  1. "Behold the lowly turtle, he only makes progress when he sticks his neck out."

Fact sheet.

First published: Jim Baen's Universe, #16 (December 2008).
Rating: A.
Download full text from Webscription.
Added to my best of the year 2008 list.
Related: All works of Ben Bova.