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Audio Drama Review

Book Cover

A Fall of Moondust


Author: Arthur C. Clarke
Starring: David Buck, Barry Foster, Roland Curram and Bill Simpson
BBC Audio
RRP: £12.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 68804 8
Available 07 January 2008

Following a moonquake, the tourist-cruiser Selene sinks fifteen metres into the dust of the Sea of Thirst. That dust is more liquid than sand, and it flows quicker than syrup and slower than water. No rescue attempt under such extraordinary conditions has ever been mounted - but now the lives of dozens of people are dependent upon it...

A Fall of Moondust is based on Arthur C. Clarke's 1961 sci-fi novel about a group of passengers who are trapped aboard a futuristic space cruiser.

In the future the moon has been colonised. Although, primarily a research establishment, wealthy space tourists bring in revenue to fund the facilities. One major tourist attraction is a sightseeing cruise across the lunar plains: flat and smooth, they are composed entirely of dust. The 'cruise ships' skim over the surface of the dust, which is so fine that it gives the sensation of travelling on water.

But on one cruise, a problem develops. A moonquake causes an underground cavern to collapse, and as the cruiser Selene passes over the Sea of Thirst, it sinks ten metres into the dust. As the terrified passengers panic, it is up to Captain Pat Harris and Stewardess Sue Wilkins to keep them occupied until help arrives, while back at base Dr Lawson and Chief Engineer Jim Lawrence struggle to locate and save the ship.

No rescue attempt under such extraordinary conditions has ever been mounted - but the lives of dozens of people are dependent upon it. Can the passengers be rescued before the air runs out?

Barry Foster, James Aubrey and Harry Towb are amongst the cast in this full-cast radio drama, which was original broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1981. While the production values of this play are fairly high, I wasn't overly struck on how long and drawn out the whole affair was - it's basically just one long rescue story with few twists and turns to keep you listening.

While the suspense is supposed to be built up around the fate of the two-man crew and the passengers, I didn't really warm to any of the characters. The result being, I wasn't particularly interested in whether they survived or whether the cruiser became their tomb.


Darren Rea

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