Gunpowder Moon by David Pedreira

We’re the aliens here, Dechert thought, and we always will be.

Yet, man will always bring vice with him. The greed and conflict. The lies and politics. In 2072, the moon is populated by several international mines boring into the dead soil for helium-3, an element now used to power reactors on Earth. An Earth that has been ravaged by a series of natural and man-made disasters.

Caden Dechert is in charge of the American mining outpost in the Sea of Serenity. His crew may be eclectic, but they are smart and get the job done. The operation seems to be humming along nicely until an accident kills one of his men. Foul play is quickly determined and foreign governments are soon suspected.

Dechert’s past military experience brings a wealth of ways to handle crisis and deal with a group of stressed people. Yet, he believes that this conflict is different. Their respite, their safe haven in a vacuum is now threatened by all the things they thought they had left behind.

Pedreira’s writing combines the tension of character development with the conflict of war. I really enjoyed the several literary and pop culture references and allusions that created some good depth to the characters and the themes. And yes, I’m going to bring it up: The Martian. It was such a popular book a couple years ago, that it seems like every recent near-future space book needs to be compared to it. Here’s my take: The technical aspects in both were written in that kind of middle ground, science-y enough to sound smart and realistic, but not too detailed to lose the audience. The best part about these books is that everything adds up, the speculation, the character’s motivations, and the government machinations. One focuses on the trapped, isolated scientist and the other on the a crew trapped by the plotting of governments.

Miners trapped between their own consciouses and international greed. A scary and compelling story of a future on the moon that seems all too capable of becoming true.

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