Book Jacket

 

rank 2609
word count 135684
date submitted 09.08.2012
date updated 25.11.2012
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction
classification: moderate
complete

Lunar Dance

Robert Sapp

The greatest adventure in history—hidden in plain sight. How far would you go to keep your final promise to the one you love?

 

From the boardroom to the courtroom, the halls of Congress to the launch pad, Lunar Dance is an epic tale of ambitious dreams, bold actions and eternal love set amid the high stakes world of today’s commercial launch industry, where the opportunities are boundless, but failure leads to certain death.

When maverick aerospace startup Roadrunner Rockets hired former NASA engineer Carl Heinel, they knew nothing about the secret that consumed him. But Carl soon realizes that their revolutionary technology could finally allow him to keep a promise from his distant past—a promise he is committed to fulfilling, regardless of the cost. With Carl’s guidance, they embark on the most audacious act of exploration ever conceived—the first commercial moon voyage. The one piece they need to make it all possible is a retired space shuttle.

Lunar Dance follows Carl and the team from Roadrunner Rockets as they implement their elaborate plan to secretly obtain the shuttle they need. A plan in which everything is hidden in plain sight, nothing is as it seems, and only a handful of people know the real truth.

Everything is proceeding very well—until it all goes catastrophically wrong.

 
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tags

alternate history, apollo program, crisis, disaster, eternal love, faith, fear, hope, legal drama, lunar landing, michael crichton, moon, redemption, ...

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23 comments

 

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Luke Bramley wrote 291 days ago

A riveting read of what-could-have-beens and what-maybes, even what-maybe-any-time-now. Look at what Branson's up to! This seems incredibly well researched and executed; also a supreme piece of editing; we are in the hands of a master here, folks. Backed with pleasure!

A G Chaudhuri wrote 594 days ago


Just finished reading the complete upload, Robert... In one word, ‘Outstanding’!
I have a suspicion that very soon, you’ll be required to remove it from the site as it’ll move on to bigger and better things.
Surely, when LUNAR DANCE hits the stands, I’ll be one of the first ones to buy it.

I’m really curious, how do you know so much about the aerospace industry, or for that matter what goes on in the power corridors of DC? Your extra-ordinary writing skills and the havoc that you’ve played with the dialogue are proof of your mastery over many other things as well, e.g. when Nicole and Dick put their charm on the ‘Senator’, or when Tom Armac lays out his plan in front of Congressman Daisy and Keith Barton, I actually felt like a mesmerised customer who could never realise when he got sold to the idea that was being fed to him. Or, the part where Tom negotiates the Enterprise – Atlantis issue with Marsha... absolutely brilliant! Tyler’s plans for raising funds... again, brilliant. Skilful characterisation is another strong point – every one of them, Tom, Marcus, Nicole, Robbie, Mike – each one is distinct and real. And then, there’s Doctor Carl Heinel – don’t want to say much about him, readers will have to discover that for themselves.

Sometime ago, you had sent me a beautiful preface. Why don’t you include that here? I’m sure readers would love to get a peek into the mind of a person who’s dished out something as lip-smackingly delicious as this. As a budding author, I seek to be inspired by the kind of research that you’ve done, i.e. only if you’re willing to share those details with me. If you are, then you can either message me here or send me an e- mail to the ID given on my profile page.

Best regards,
AGC




Stark Silvercoin wrote 604 days ago

Lunar Dance is a novel for our time. Back in the late 1960’s the world was fascinated by the prospect of space travel, and the first chapter of the novel captures this spirit beautifully. Then we kind of cooled to the idea of it, and today most exploration is done more economically by robots, with private companies picking up any slack. One day private firms may take the lead role away from cash-strapped governments, and this is a central element of the book. Author Robert Sapp shows that this new future can be just as exciting as the adventures of the past.

The story itself is a bit of a caper and a bit of a thriller. We spend our time as readers rooting for the main characters, breathing heavily when things get tight, and then smiling as they find a way out of their current crisis and move headfirst into a new one. In fact, I think there is a perfect balance of plotting and action. Lunar Dance would make a great movie.

The characters seem quite real, and it’s obvious that Sapp knows his way around the aerospace industry. None of his characters are straw men. They all talk and act like engineers, astronauts, business entrepreneurs and people who generally are mavericks in their respective fields. They all have a confidence in their abilities and that is reflected in their actions and their dialog. There is also quite a bit of subtle humor sprinkled throughout the novel, not the least of which is the plot itself, which is both absurd and believable and at the same time.

In conclusion, I’ve read a lot of thrillers in my time, and this novel could easily stand among them. Lunar Dance has the complete checklist of what is required to capture a large and appreciative audience. Skewing perhaps a bit towards the older crowd, Lunar Dance should have little trouble finding commercial success and critical acclaim once published.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

Peter M Emmerson wrote 604 days ago

Robert you have created a tale that has all the necessary attributes. Into it you have injected; credibility, background knowledge, and the most important of all authority. As the previous (and I can't believe only) comment you have received states 'this is a delightful sci-fi novel'
I commend you in writing a 'page turner' I wish you luck in publishing this little masterpiece and will keep it on my shelf.

Luke Bramley wrote 291 days ago

A riveting read of what-could-have-beens and what-maybes, even what-maybe-any-time-now. Look at what Branson's up to! This seems incredibly well researched and executed; also a supreme piece of editing; we are in the hands of a master here, folks. Backed with pleasure!

superostah wrote 442 days ago

Already in the first two chapters you show a knowledge of the space program that I don't believe many authors could build with such confidence. Whether or not your detailed outlining of these events is accurate, you write with such bold confidence that the reader must believe it to be true.
That being said, I have a hard time believing you aren't intimately aware with the actual proceedings that are outlined in this text.
Your descriptions of emotions are deftly handled already in the first chapter. You can feel the intensity as the world awaits the first footfall on the moon. As a reader, I wanted to cheer as though it were happening for the first time.
I'm a big fan of what you're doing here and will most definitely have to come back to read more. For now, I'm placing you on my watchlist and giving a whole bunch o' stars. Great work!

Andrea Taylor wrote 481 days ago

I loved this! Havent read it all yet but its a seriously good book with an amazing idea behind it. Its incredibly well crafted and totally believable. This will surely get published. Six stars and WL. Bookshelf next shuffle.
Andrea
The de Amerley Affair

S. N. Bose wrote 509 days ago


This was very highly recommended by my dear friend AGC.

In this age of promotiion when quality often takes a backseat, its refreshing to come across such good reads.

Bose.

Andrew Esposito wrote 531 days ago

The early chapters of Lunar Dance capture the optimism of the space-age in the late sixties. The images described are so familiar to the reader that the story progresses rapidly. The characterisation is very strong and believeable. Lunar Dance progresses well into a thriller, the background info on NASA and technical issues with the space programme is also indictative of the author's extensive knbowledge.

Only glitch I picked up was Armstrong's quote - should be 'a small step for a man' - said to be a nervous mistake made by Armstrong when the intention was 'small step for man' (as often quoted).

Robert, Lunar dance is an impressive read. I've rated it highly and wish you every success. Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

lostprincess13 wrote 544 days ago

Wow! This is amazing writing. I know I'm supposed to be critiquing but I really couldn't find anything wrong with it. You seem to know an awful lot about NASA and how everything works there.

I watched the landing of the last space shuttle and felt despair. Now the shuttles are no more than museum pieces.

Anyways, I really enjoyed reading your book. I had intentions of only reading a little and coming back but I couldn't stop. Made it through four chapters and will most likely get to rest asap. I could see this being published no problem. It's wonderful. Best of luck.

-Julie Rainey
The Journey Home

Dean Lombardo wrote 549 days ago


Hi Robert,
This is a professional job. I read the first three chapters, and, so far, the overall story, its level of detail, and its tone are reminiscent of James Michener’s “Space.” Only “Lunar Dance” will progress into a science fiction novel, which makes it even more enticing.

Chapter 1:
Nice ending to Chapter 1, which makes a clever connection to the title, though for dramatic purposes I personally don’t believe you have to hit the reader over the head with the same “dance on the moon” line of dialogue twice.

Chapter 2:
Good, sound, technical details for audience who likes that semi-deep level of explanation.

I’m a little baffled about what year it is, since there is no in-chapter, explicit-enough reference to the passage of the approximately 30 years between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. You do provide clues (“tentative” end of NASA shuttle program and the ensuing reliance on Russian shuttles; the Home Depot reference, etc.). Someone who has followed the space program less than me might need more help from you via Chapter subheading or the exact year worked into the prose—I believe this comment is valid for the next chapter as well. Just a suggestion, and if you take another look at Michener’s “Space,” which I’m confident we’ve both read, you’ll see this bestselling author cleverly works in the year at the beginning of each chapter following each long passage of time.

Chapter 3:
You have a CHAPTER THREE heading, but none for the first two chapters.

Again, no clues as to how much time has passed since the previous chapter.

You switched personal perspectives/inner thoughts from Juan’s to Manuel’s after the first two or three paragraphs (without a chapter or other type of section break), which is a questionable narrative device.

More superb technical detail in this chapter—for example, the paragraph starting with “Inside the Dreamlifter’s avionics bay…”

“The closing speeds were low, but the masses involved were large.” Love it!

I may just read more of this—either on Authonomy soon, or when it appears in print, which I am sure it will.

Dean

Robert M. Carter wrote 573 days ago

Robert,

I've read your first three chapters. I think this is excellent. It has the feel of Michael Crichton. I'm sure you will place it soon and when I see it on a real life bookshelf there's a good chance I'll buy a copy! What more can I say?

Normally I like to add something constructive in my reviews but your work is well edited. However, there are a few points I noted and I've given them below. I hope they're helpful.

*reentry... re-entry?
*parachute... Drogue Chute?
*off ramp... off-ramp
*finagle? A new one on me...
*The statement "dooming the men and women aboard" is perhaps not quite enough for me - it needs more weight. Perhaps combine with the next bit (see next point)
*Your final statement at the end of chapter 3, blaming the whole thing on Theresa for not "keeping her legs together" strikes a British ear as deeply chauvenist to the point where most female readers would stop reading. I realise American culture is different and I also get the slightly joking angle but still, we don't know enough about the affair to make this statement stick. I vote to remove it, simply stating the consequences at the end of the previous paragraph, or, if you must mention the affair (which does provide some closure from the previous scene) describe it as "marital problems of an Engineer" or something similarly less controvercial...

I've given you high stars and will find a slot on my bookshelf for you at some point (long list of commitments just now but you will get a slot, I promise!)
Looking forward to your views on Horizons and if you like it I'd be honoured if you star/back it as you feel appropriate!

Regards,

Robert

Su Dan wrote 574 days ago

well written piece; your dialogue compliments your narrative to move the plot along...
backed...
read SEASONS...

Paul Richards wrote 577 days ago

SF42 Review
A personal note - Thank you for a honest to goodness Science Fiction story and a very good one.
What more is there to say? Normally I review based on how I relate to the book and it relates to me. I don't get into the nit pick method. Others are much better than me and this book does not seem to need that approach anyway.
Getting into the story - the sci-fi story by developing the history from Neil Armstrong to the mournful retirement of the Shuttle Program is great. Your segue into the fiction part is so smooth I know there will be many who will not even see it.
I will definitely buy this book when it is published. I wish you swift success in getting it to that stage.

Paul Roberts
The Fourth Kind

M. E. Harrow wrote 577 days ago

Lunar Dance is a well-constructed story.
This will appeal to people who love the technical side of science fiction and for those keen to understand the aerospace industry at a nuts and bolts level.
The dialogue is very believable (a major hurdle to surpass once the book makes it to the Ed's desk) drawing the reader forward. I would however caution interrupting the conversation with too many descriptions. Sometimes a conversation just needs to happen by itself.
Altogether a great and easy read.
Well done and I hope it gets published.
ME Harrow
As Portents Rise (an Antarctic thriller)

MauriceR wrote 577 days ago

SF42 review

As someone who has worked both as an engineer on large systems and at small tech start-ups, I had no problem at all buying into this.
I don’t see any need for an in depth critique. This felt like it is already edited and ready for publication.
I think the key to maintaining the reader’s credibility with a story like this, down at the level of sentences and paragraphs, is all about getting the dialogue right, and meshing it in with the incidental descriptions that go around it. Apart from one exception (see below) it was very believable. You also manage to mix in the technical aspects well, without making it feel like a text book, which is not always that easy, in my experience.

Elton Funk - ha ha, that wouldn’t be a reference to a certain person who is also in the electric car business would it?

The one and only bum note for me was the dialogue between the two Hispanic technicians. I live on the opposite side of the world, so am not qualified to comment on its authenticity - but this sort of dialogue is tricky, and it can feel awkward even if you get it right. (You might remember a similar dialogue in my one - I have serious doubts about whether that works too).
The mini-story in the chapter is a good one, so you definitely need to keep it, and the problem would matter less if it were deeper into the book. So I don’t know what you should do about it, I’ll just bring it up as something you ought to take another look at.

In summary, while you have got an interesting premise, what makes this work for me is the attention to detail and the thought that has gone into keeping the story moving along. (I have read up to chapter 9 so far.)
Well done and all the best for getting it published if that is what you intend.

Maurice

Jim Darcy wrote 577 days ago

Just the kind of book I like to read.

J.Battle wrote 578 days ago

This is superb stuff. The writing is excellant and flows nicely. The technical details and the jargon all sound authentic - did you actually work on the shuttle? Are you a steeley eyed missile man? This is proper science fiction and I'm hooked.
5 stars and backed.

J.Battle
And All Things Between
Land of Light and Shadow
Under a Crystal Sky

Abby Vandiver wrote 578 days ago

This is well-written and interesting. I read through a couple of chapters wanting to get to the Sci-fi part. I find it doesn't come until later. The read rely very real and I like the mix of history that leads to your story.

Good job.

Abby

Scott Toney wrote 580 days ago

{Lunar Dance} Chapter 1

Robert,

You have an extremely cool premise here and a well written work that has pulled me right in. What I loved about this first chapter was the opportunity to feel a part of that lunar landing, something I was not around to experience, and loved experiencing the emotion of. You set things up well here and give yourself great places that your work can go. I also already feel an attatchment to your characters, which is a nice plus, and find that you use just the right amount of description to get your point across.

I'll be back soon for more and am gladly giving you 6 out of 6 stars! You are also on my watchlist for now and as soon as one of the people on my bookshelf make the top 5, you'll move up and be backed, probably until you reach the desk because I'm am enjoying your work that much. I think your book definutely has what it takes to get there and I look forward to one day reading your HC review! I believe this to be a very publishable book as well!

Have a fantastic day!

- Scott, The Ark of Humanity, Eden Legacy, Lazarus, Man, Hearts of Avon and Dusk Crescence

P.s. You'll find I read one chapter at a time and comment as I go. I'm looking forward to returning soon for more!

P.p.s. Care to take a look at any of my books and leave a comment? It would be greatly appreciated!

Katy Capet wrote 581 days ago

Hi,
Have already read up to chapter eight without noticing, a great read! Backing this book now. Good knowledge about the space industry, great characters and each page just keeps turning.
All the best,
Katy (Crater*)

A G Chaudhuri wrote 594 days ago


Just finished reading the complete upload, Robert... In one word, ‘Outstanding’!
I have a suspicion that very soon, you’ll be required to remove it from the site as it’ll move on to bigger and better things.
Surely, when LUNAR DANCE hits the stands, I’ll be one of the first ones to buy it.

I’m really curious, how do you know so much about the aerospace industry, or for that matter what goes on in the power corridors of DC? Your extra-ordinary writing skills and the havoc that you’ve played with the dialogue are proof of your mastery over many other things as well, e.g. when Nicole and Dick put their charm on the ‘Senator’, or when Tom Armac lays out his plan in front of Congressman Daisy and Keith Barton, I actually felt like a mesmerised customer who could never realise when he got sold to the idea that was being fed to him. Or, the part where Tom negotiates the Enterprise – Atlantis issue with Marsha... absolutely brilliant! Tyler’s plans for raising funds... again, brilliant. Skilful characterisation is another strong point – every one of them, Tom, Marcus, Nicole, Robbie, Mike – each one is distinct and real. And then, there’s Doctor Carl Heinel – don’t want to say much about him, readers will have to discover that for themselves.

Sometime ago, you had sent me a beautiful preface. Why don’t you include that here? I’m sure readers would love to get a peek into the mind of a person who’s dished out something as lip-smackingly delicious as this. As a budding author, I seek to be inspired by the kind of research that you’ve done, i.e. only if you’re willing to share those details with me. If you are, then you can either message me here or send me an e- mail to the ID given on my profile page.

Best regards,
AGC




A G Chaudhuri wrote 597 days ago


Dear Robert,

LUNAR DANCE will be going up on my shelf on the first of next month. Like another book (Transcendence by Jeff Herman), it will stay there regardless of the time it takes to make the editor's desk (and maybe, even after that.) A brilliantly crafted tale, the amount of research that you seem to have put into this complex drama is simply staggering. I’m on chapter 7 right now and can’t possibly think of touching another book till I’m done with this one. Have you read ‘The Orion Protocol’ by Gary Tigerman? Great story. Although, the plot had an extra-terrestrial angle and was perhaps more fact than fiction, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities in tone and treatment that it shares with your book. And, that makes me wonder – Under the inconspicuous garb of alternate reality, how much of this story is actually fiction? The one who took that giant leap for all of mankind is no more. May he find peace and may the world wake up once again to the wonders of space travel.

Best regards,
AGC


Wanttobeawriter wrote 600 days ago

LUNAR DANCE
I had trouble downloading chapter 1 so began reading this with chapter 2. I like the thorough way you explain in the chapter why the space program is being shut down and how so many men who know little about other occupations will be unemployed shortly. Makes a good lead-in to the switch to one of them, in particular: Juan. The research you must have done to know all the details of space flight and how everything works shows on every page. Makes this read as if it’s inside exposé of everything that goes on with NASA. A good read, I’m starring this highly and adding it to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Stark Silvercoin wrote 604 days ago

Lunar Dance is a novel for our time. Back in the late 1960’s the world was fascinated by the prospect of space travel, and the first chapter of the novel captures this spirit beautifully. Then we kind of cooled to the idea of it, and today most exploration is done more economically by robots, with private companies picking up any slack. One day private firms may take the lead role away from cash-strapped governments, and this is a central element of the book. Author Robert Sapp shows that this new future can be just as exciting as the adventures of the past.

The story itself is a bit of a caper and a bit of a thriller. We spend our time as readers rooting for the main characters, breathing heavily when things get tight, and then smiling as they find a way out of their current crisis and move headfirst into a new one. In fact, I think there is a perfect balance of plotting and action. Lunar Dance would make a great movie.

The characters seem quite real, and it’s obvious that Sapp knows his way around the aerospace industry. None of his characters are straw men. They all talk and act like engineers, astronauts, business entrepreneurs and people who generally are mavericks in their respective fields. They all have a confidence in their abilities and that is reflected in their actions and their dialog. There is also quite a bit of subtle humor sprinkled throughout the novel, not the least of which is the plot itself, which is both absurd and believable and at the same time.

In conclusion, I’ve read a lot of thrillers in my time, and this novel could easily stand among them. Lunar Dance has the complete checklist of what is required to capture a large and appreciative audience. Skewing perhaps a bit towards the older crowd, Lunar Dance should have little trouble finding commercial success and critical acclaim once published.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

Peter M Emmerson wrote 604 days ago

Robert you have created a tale that has all the necessary attributes. Into it you have injected; credibility, background knowledge, and the most important of all authority. As the previous (and I can't believe only) comment you have received states 'this is a delightful sci-fi novel'
I commend you in writing a 'page turner' I wish you luck in publishing this little masterpiece and will keep it on my shelf.

robertsapp wrote 613 days ago

I have completed the entire novel, and will be uploading the remaining chapters in the next few days. Enjoy!

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