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First on the Moon

by Hugh Walters

Cover artist unknown

Publisher: Tempo

Pub year: 1966

Cover price: 50¢


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Book detail for First on the Moon

Cover tagline

Suspense grips the entire world as spacemen from Russia and the Free World battle for supremacy — and survival — on the moon.

Back cover text

First on the Moon

Chris felt his heart pounding with shock and apprehension. The lunar landscape seemed like something from a vivid nightmare. He plodded on, mile after mile. His rocket could not be too far away now.

Then he stopped dead in his tracks. There was the rocket, but even from a distance something about its appearance was disquietingly strange. There was something wrong, very wrong, with Columbus. It was leaning drunkenly, and there was a gaping hole in its side. With painful clarity Chris saw that the rocket — his only means of return — was damaged beyond hope of repair. He was marooned forever on this barren satellite!

The Russian minitank reared up and turned completely over, flinging the young man from the controls. Dazed, Serge picked himself up, but the tank remained lying on its back like a beetle, helpless. Serge was unable to move, imprisoned in a tiny vehicle on an airless world! Desperately he hurled his body at the side of the tank, but it was useless. He sank down, battered and exhausted, a prey to black despair. He could only wait for the slow, inevitable suffocation that must follow.

There were just about twelve and a half hours left.

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Interior text

First on the Moon

Since time began there was no contest more fantastic than this one — the rocket Columbus and the rocket Lenin hurtling toward the moon, each carrying a human passenger intent on making the first landing on its surface.

Representing the Western powers is Chris Godfrey, the first man to be launched into space. On the other side of the world, at a secret site, Serge Smyslov has passed the most rigorous tests and is confident that he will be the first human to set foot on earth's satellite and claim it as a Soviet possession. Almost to the second the two young men blast off and are borne moonward, following an identical flight path. So begins the suspenseful race for the moon, with the whole world, both East and West, watching and listening as the two pioneers pursue their parallel routes farther and farther into untracked space.

Excitement mounts when Chris and Serge land near each other in the crater of Plato and set out to explore the lunar landscape, Chris in his elaborate space suit, Serge in his mobile minitank. The ideological conflict between their two worlds explodes into violent action when the two finally meet, only to be equally threatened by mysterious cloud waves that sweep across the moon's surface, paralyzing their power to act. Their only chance to return safely to earth, they both realize, lies in mutual cooperation, but will the politicians of the East and West agree with this? Chris, Serge and the world wait tensely for the decision as the deadly clouds draw nearer, and the chances for a successful return flight become more and more remote.

All the excitement and drama of man's conquest of space are here blended into a timely, action-packed thriller, backed by a wealth of scientific detail.