10 August 2005

Astronauts in Trouble

Recently, Larry Young (creator of this series), published Master Flight Plan (pictured here), which compiles all three of his Astronauts in Trouble story arcs ("Live From The Moon," "Space:1959," and "One Shot, One Beer"). Since I have each of these story arcs collected in separate volumes, I will be basing my review on those, rather than Master Flight Plan.

"Live From The Moon" takes place in the year 2019, when Ishmael Bennett, the world's richest man, asks the Channel 7 News Team (anchorman Dave, cameraman Heck, and segment producer Sparky) to follow him to the moon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin's celebrated landing. Unfortunately, the eco-terrorist organization known as Greensleeves sabotages their trip, and that's when things get interesting. Despite its futuristic setting, the story has very few science-fiction elements, focusing more on action and character development. The pacing owes more to "Moonraker" than "2001: A Space Odyssey". This is the longest story in the book, and my personal favorite.

"Space: 1959" is sort of a prequel story (I'll give you three guesses as to what year it takes place), which follows the original Channel 7 News team as they stumble across a top-secret military operation in the middle of the Space Race. It's a pulpy, action-packed yarn that can be read or skipped at your leisure.

"One Shot, One Beer" takes place 10 years after the events of "Live From The Moon." Someone opened a bar on the moon, and the patrons of the bar tell anecdotes that serve as an alternative view of events that happened in the previous two stories. It's a fun, quick little read, but not essential.

By itself, "Live From The Moon" makes Master Flight Plan worth the cover price; think of the other stories as the second disc of a 2-disc DVD set.

Recommended for: fans of the James Bond movies, Armageddon, or any other big, explosive summer blockbusters.
Not Recommended for: anyone who already owns "Live From The Moon."

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