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The Apollo Murders par Colonel Chris…

The Apollo Murders (édition 2021)

par Colonel Chris Hadfield (Auteur)

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1587139,563 (3.61)8
Titre:The Apollo Murders
Auteurs:Colonel Chris Hadfield (Auteur)
Info:Mulholland Books (2021), 480 pages
Collections:Votre bibliothèque
Mots-clés:fictional novel, Canadiana, space psychology, space flight

Information sur l'oeuvre

The Apollo Murders par Chris Hadfield

Récemment ajouté parclallison, mbernardi, Appi, JenMDB, bikebloke, TinkabellThePixie, Nathan-Howell, Mike_O, bragan, bibliothèque privée

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» Voir aussi les 8 mentions

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Chris Hadfield is a master of many trades, not least being an astronaut, and here turns his hand to fiction, producing a mix of crime, spy thriller and science fiction.

Set in an alternate past, the Apollo 18 mission is intended as a military expedition to the Moon. The Russians have a rover on the Moon, Lunokhod, which appears to have found something extraordinary and have also launched the Almaz spy space station. The Apollo 18 mission is altered to investigate both these craft. Further, after a tragic training accident, the Apollo 18 crew is changed at the last moment.

As the mission progresses and further technical twists arise it becomes clear that the Russians are influencing the astronauts in some way. On Earth Kaz Zemeckis as a military flight controller tries to resolve the mysteries surrounding who and what is affecting the Apollo crew.

This is an excellent thriller, full of technical detail and feeling realistic throughout. ( )
  pierthinker | Jan 17, 2022 |
Somehow it all makes sense, without any major plot holes, even with such a complex setup. Kudos to our Canadian astronaut! ( )
  Guide2 | Jan 6, 2022 |
A good plot with plenty of tension. The only drawback (from my point of view) was that the extensive technical descriptions of how things worked (Saturn rocket, controls in the capsule and LEM) distracted from the plot. ( )
  grandpahobo | Dec 19, 2021 |
This alternate-history, Cold War thriller set in space is uneven in quality.

The plot focuses on Apollo 18 whose mission includes collecting geological samples on the moon and disabling a Russian lunar rover after sabotaging a Russian spy satellite. As expected, things do not always go smoothly; even before liftoff, unexpected events threaten the mission. Once space is reached, the dangers multiply.

Every Canadian knows of Chris Hadfield and his many accomplishments. I count myself amongst his admirers. His knowledge and experiences are certainly obvious in the book. Readers will learn many things about space flight that only an astronaut would know. If you’ve ever wondered about how astronauts handle bodily functions, your questions are answered. I never knew that a rocket was mounted to “yank the capsule off the Saturn V in an emergency close to the ground.” That being said, I had the impression that the editor was in such awe of the author that s/he was reluctant to suggest removing unnecessary detail.

Pacing is inconsistent. The novel begins very slowly so suspense is not created. What slow down the novel are the overly technical explanations. For example, there are paragraphs devoted to describing jet fuel. Much of one chapter focuses on a family in southern Siberia rushing to salvage the body of a Soviet rocket. Action does pick up later in the novel, but then the ending is over-the-top. That ending suggests it was written for the cinema, and I am not a fan of such plot manipulation.

The first character introduced in the novel is Kaz Zemeckis. The prologue describes the accident that cost him his left eye. I assumed that he would be a major player, but he is often cast aside. His role is confusing; he is introduced as “the crew military liaison” and “crew-government liaison” yet he ends up giving instructions to the moonwalker about repositioning a camera to a launch observation location? When a man is killed, he tells a friend “’maybe I’d missed taking some action that could have prevented it. I feel the need to find out what happened so we don’t repeat it, and the need to take care of his family.’” Yet he doesn’t really do any investigation and his concern for the dead man’s family seems fleeting.

There are a lot of characters and most of them are two-dimensional. Some of them make no impression whatsoever. Even the crew members of Apollo 18 are not fully developed. There are only two women, and they are almost stereotypes. One seems there only to add a romantic interest.

The title suggests this is going to be a murder mystery; this is what I expected. It isn’t really a mystery. The murderer’s identity is obvious throughout, though I found his motivation weak and unconvincing. His action, “the strategic loosening of one nut,” doesn’t guarantee he will get what he wants, depending on decisions made by others. Making one character so unlikeable is also a giveaway. I also don’t understand what the purpose is of “taking spacecraft control away from the guidance computer” during landing. What was the plan? After what is learned, in the end “The military had decided to honor both men”??

I’m not saying that this is a bad book. It does, however, need revision. At almost 500 pages, it is fairly lengthy and could be shortened. If the plot were tightened by removing extraneous details, there would be more suspense. Focusing on fewer characters would strengthen character development. Hadfield’s extensive knowledge and unique experiences could have been shaped into a better novel.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog ( and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Dec 16, 2021 |
This is a murder mystery that's also an alternate history about the late Apollo program and the Cold War.

We start with an Apollo mission that's a departure from our own history. Apollo 18 was planned, and planned as a fully military mission, but canceled due to both budgetary and political reasons. In this story, Apollo 18 escapes cancelation, and is focused on checking out the site on the Moon that an unmanned Soviet Moon rover has been investigating. Kazimieras "Kaz" Zemeckis, a test pilot and astronaut eliminated from space launches after an in-flight bird collision costs him an eye, is appointed as flight controller for Apollo 18, responsible for the safety of the crew from Mission Control. But once he thinks he's settled in and well connected with all the crew, several unsettling changes occur.

First, US intelligence has made the alarming discovery that the Soviets have launched a space station, with the same basic purpose as the (canceled) US Military Orbital Laboratory (MOL)--taking high quality photographs for military intelligence purposes. And as they gather more information about the quality of the photographic and telescopic equipment on this Soviet space station, the plans for Apollo 18 are changed. The intelligence shows that the station won't be manned yet, so there's no reason not to take the opportunity to disable it. Apollo 18 is going to be stripped down as far as possible without completely canceling the original mission, launched at a different angle than planned, and rendezvous with the Soviet MOL-equivalent. At a minimum, they will thoroughly photograph it; if possible, they will disable it.

Then they'll be launched toward the Moon, and the reduced version of their original mission, which is to find out why the Soviet Moon rover is exploring that particular area and what they've found, and if possible disable that, too. This will mean fewer Moon walks, but also a previously unplanned space walk.

The other alarming change is that the Apollo 18 mission commander, Ted, and I'm sorry, listening to the audiobook I didn't retain his last name, is killed in an apparent helicopter accident. But what caused the accident? An intense investigation begins, but meanwhile, the Apollo 18 mission needs a new commander.

The choice falls on the logical person, Chad Miller, the commander of the backup crew. This is deemed to be less disruptive than replacing the entire crew at what is painfully close to the last minute.

Miller is a midwestern farm boy, and it's the early 1970s. He's got more of a temper than Ted had, but he's very capable and gets the job done. We learn, when he and Kaz talk about their backgrounds and Kaz reveals that his family are Lithuanian Jews who escaped just before the Nazis arrived to wipe out most of the Jewish community there, that Miller is a bit of an antisemite. It's no surprise when we also learn, due to the command module commander, Michael (possibly Edshail, but another last name I didn't get reliably due to listening to the audiobook), is the first black astronaut to go into space.. The third member of the crew is Luke Hemming (I'm almost sure of that name), and despite the irritants, they're all going to be professional about it, right?

Once we are into space, we have vomiting, the unpleasant discovery that the Soviet space station is manned after all, brawls in space, deaths, an unexpected rearrangement of the crews (really, I can't say any more than that), and more unexpected discoveries on the Moon.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Kaz is cooperating with local police, NASA, and military authorities in investigating the death of the original mission commander. It's discovered to be sabotage, and they have to look at the people with both opportunity and at least the potential for motives. The more information he gathers, the more Kaz suspects that on of the astronauts on Apollo 18 isn't who he seems to be.

This is a very nicely done murder mystery, spy thriller, and utterly convincing alternate history of the early 1970s space program and Cold War. Hadfield obviously knows the space program, and has done his research on both the space program and world politics of the period. I found the characters interesting and convincing, and the story very solid.


I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Oct 31, 2021 |
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