This premise sold to television first. The first book appeared in September, while the series remains in development. The Luna saga comes closer than anything to A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones…. In Spaaace! Volume one features corporate feudalism, shifting alliances, family in-fighting, pointy-end battles (projectile weapons are banned), and graphic sex scenes.
It’s also by Ian McDonald, an SF writer of considerable talent.
Title: Luna #1: New Moon
Author: Ian McDonald
First published in September 2015.
Conflicts erupt among the corporate feudal elite on the twenty-second century moon, where fortunes are made, death comes quickly, and sex comes kinky.
Continued in the next volume.
McDonald’s story might veer towards the soap-operatic, but his space-operatic world building is impressive. Once the reader has identified the key characters and determined the key events, the story becomes compelling, with fewer jumps and more intensive movement in the final third.
You couldn’t miss that McDonald is serving a novel intended as a TV franchise. The early chapters jump confusingly among numerous characters starting multiple plot threads while using often unfamiliar language. Some of these stories come to fruition but, essentially, Luna: New Moon amounts to an extended prologue.
Originality: 2/6 The Moon is Harsh Mistress meets A Song of Ice and Fire. McDonald has clearly pondered both the lessons of Heinlein’s novel and the reactions to Game of Thrones. His characters represent a diversity of cultures, female characters (generally) have greater agency, and rape is not a major plot element.
Imagery: 5/6 McDonald remains a writer of considerable power. He overreaches himself in places here, but I suspect this series will win him many new fans.
Story: 4/6 I’m not certain the category can be fairly assessed. If the storylines don’t all resolve, neither does the novel pretend to be a stand-alone.
Characterization: 5/6 The central characters have been strongly realized, but sheer numbers hamper consistent understanding of them as individuals.
Emotional Response: 4/6 While I’m not lovin’ it consistently, I found much to admire in McDonald’s work.
Overall score: 5/6 If you understand you’re investing in a series, and not a novel, you will probably like this book.
In total, Luna: New Moon receives 30/42
This novel should not be confused with any work depicting sparkly vampires, nor should it be confused with the popular YA novel, Luna, by Julie Ann Peters. The same-name confusion here is as potentially disastrous as the one created by Crash, Paul Haggis’s award-winning film about race relations, and Crash David Cronenberg’s thought-provoking film about symphorophilia.