The Cassandra Project
by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick
Cover Artist: Photo of moon by David Huntley / Shutterstock
Illustration by Miroque
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781937008710
Date: 06 November 2012 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Jerry Culpepper is the public affairs director for NASA. When a bunch of recordings from the Apollo missions are released, a couple of the lines from Sidney Myshko seem a little odd. Jerry is asked to comment and a new conspiracy theory is launched. Did someone actually land on the moon before Nail Armstrong?
The NASA budget is continuing to shrink, but the drive for space is not done. It is just moving into a new phase. Bucky Blackstone has made his fortune finding opportunities where others fear to tread. When the new information comes out, he sees a way to leverage the information into addition promotion for his space venture.
As Bucky works to use the growing scandal, Jerry launches an investigation into the Apollo missions. The deeper he digs, the more it seems that something is not right. The biggest problem is that there is just no way that the U.S. government can keep any secret for decades.
The Cassandra Project is the expansion of a McDevitt story, of the same name, published in Lightspeed in 2010. Although the story is set in the future, the heart of the story revolves around a trip to the moon and the discovery of a secret. This is a little bit of secret history with a little golden age adventure. Of the relatively recent novels I have read, the space action reminded me of Back to the Moon by Travis Taylor.
I read the shorter version in 2011 when it was nominated for the WSFA Small Press award. Although it did not win the award, I felt it was the strongest story in the bunch. When I got the novel to read I was looking forward to see how they would expand a great story. I devoured it in less than a day even though I had to work that day. Well, it was a short day at work.
The ending was changed. Although I liked the original version's ending, the new ending made sense and gave a new answer to one of history's great mysteries. I am not sure which ending I like better. The original was very clean and left a challenge to humanity. The current ending is a little darker, and much less hopeful.
Both authors are masters of the short and long form of writing, making this novel easy to recommend. It is well written and the pacing is good. If you read the short story version, you will enjoy this extended cut as well. If you havenít read the novel, then try the short story as well.