Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Moonfall” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,079 ratings  ·  136 reviews
It's the 21st century, and all is right with the world. Or so it seems.

Vice President Charlie Haskell, who will travel anywhere for a photo op, is about to cut the ribbon for the just-completed American Moonbase. The first Mars voyage is about to leave high orbit, with a woman at the helm. Below, the world is marveling at a rare solar eclipse.

But all that is right is about
Paperback, 560 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Eos (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Moonfall, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Moonfall

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,079 ratings  ·  136 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Moonfall
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. It was recommended to me by a friend who met the author, so I feel almost disloyal not liking this book. The book isn't bad. It's just not good.

I looked up the dates, because I couldn't shake the feeling that I was reading something that was supposed to be a movie (and a movie I'd seen several times). Shoemaker-Levy smacked into Jupiter in 1994. Everyone got excited about the "What if?" factor. The question constantly being asked by the news reporters was "What
Nathaniel Turner
Nov 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book was, in a word, chaotic. And in a second word, preachy. It's actually very difficult to determine which of those two descriptors was more upsetting, as I went through the book. Around three-quarters of the way through, I had had more than enough, and I only finished reading to give the book a fair shake.

In all honesty, I rather wish I hadn't.

Let's start with how it was chaotic. This issue should be relevant to any reader, regardless of your philosophical bent.

The chaos begins with simp
Sep 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Imagine if Quinn Martin were still alive and making disaster films today... that's what you'd get if someone were to make a movie of this book.

I used to just love disaster films. Such a guilty pleasure. This book feeds that love. A comet hits the moon, the moon breaks apart and Earth is bombarded. The Vice President is on the moon at the time. Crazy RWNJs take advantage of the disaster to try and make things even worse! I love it!
Jack Burnett
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
McDevitt is a niche author. He writes what is sometimes erroneously called "hard sci-fi"; what it is really is the imagination of certain plausible events and asking "what would happen next"? Moonfall is my favorite of his books and among my favorites of all books. A comet or some such is going to hit and destroy the moon, and there are people on it. That's it, that's how you start, and if you're as good as Jack McDevitt, you make an outstanding book out of it.
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The story is excellent, but several details spoiled the entire book for me. I didn't mind the tremendous number of around fifty character, but for even the smallest "bit" players, McDevitt provided in the text, a minimum of a paragraph, and usually three or four along with a page or two of backstory. Some got killed within the next few pages. After several of these, I skimmed every backstory. In addition, although I could see where McDevitt tried to make all the names different, after the first ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Ah, hard science fiction, how I've missed you! Your paper-cutout characters, your massive scope, your meticulously researched and detailed science! It's been far too long since I've read a good hard SF book, and Moonfall fits the bill.
If you enjoy hard SF, then you'll probably like this book. It moves a bit sluggishly at first, but once things start getting put into motion, the pace picks up dramatically until the very end. I was thoroughly entertained!
Akash Amat
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
First of all, I do have a bias towards this book as the plot itself seems quite innovative compared to other works of fiction on impact avoidance. The science holds up pretty well. Surprisingly there was no Wikipedia entry till I got to add it:

One issue with the book which many other reviewers also call out is its unjustified length. It introduces many minor characters, describes their backstory etc., only to kill them off or not use them again in the plot.
Dec 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I grew up in the 1950s and 60s and was a big fan of science fiction and particularly "space operas". I loved movies like "The Forbidden Planet" that tried to speculated what it would be like to be in a spaceship in Outer Space and to visit other planets, loved TV shows like "Star Trek" and "Lost in Space". I loved books by Isaac Asimov (the Foundation trilogy) and Frank Herbert (the Dune series). Then science fiction became almost all "fantasy" - magic, make-believe worlds without any scientific ...more
Beth Allen
Feb 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a really good book that exceeded my expectations. Jack McDevitt has always been a talented author that does real well with academic or mystery science fiction but I've never been a fan of the "Earth Disaster" aspects of his books. He and I aren't necessarily on the same page with things like global warming and global government. But, I can enjoy his work without agreeing with him because his beliefs are background to the story, not the point.

I digress...

This book was a page-turner, a sto
Kay Cugini
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Great concept, slightly let down by the confusing array of different vehicles, stations, hubs etc and so many characters who pop up for not much reason. This book would benefit from a simple diagram of all the various stations involved in transit to and from Earth and Moonbase and a brief outline of the various moonbuses, shuttles, space planes, micros etc as I was often unsure where characters actually were! Maybe it's just me but it got a little confusing. The plot it very good and the writing ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
The drama builds up with a slow burn. The characters are portrayed and used well: dozens of characters supply vignettes of the central event in this book, and each makes the reader think about things from a new angle.

One gripe about the dramatic build-up, though, is that the events of the first third of the book ((view spoiler)) seem trivial when juxtaposed with the next third ((view spoiler)). I feel lik
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I just finished Moonfall and it was a terrific science fiction thriller about a pre-apocalyptic event in which a comet is hurdling through space and is expected to hit the Moon. In this future, the US has established a Moonbase which will be destroyed by the comet so the research facility needs to be evacuated. However, the question becomes what happens when the Moon is hit? How bad will the damage be? And what impact will this have for Earth? This book has a complex group of characters which I ...more
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
I went into this book with high expectations - I really liked McDevitt's Academy novels, but something about this just didn't click for me. Over 100 pages in, I hadn't found a character I could like, and the plot was completely unsurprising - I felt like I knew where the book was going, and didn't see much point in continuing. Moonfall doesn't have the elements of the Academy novels that grabbed me, and it felt like a rehash of Deepsix, minus those elements. I'll still give McDevitt's Alex Bened ...more
Ian G
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
One of those books written with the hope of becoming a movie. Written about the same time as "Armageddon " and "Deep Impact".
Luckily for us, Hollywood had moved on before it got to this sad piece of dreck.

Asteroid or comet or something smashes into the moon. Much destruction. Suggestion of alien interference, never elaborated upon; saving it for the sequel, I suppose. Which I won't be reading.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
The story of a rogue comet striking our moon or Earth itself is not new. So I expected an original twist in the course of events. Unfortunately, this twist never came. After some 250 pages or so the book became really boring. A word to editors: send a manuscript with more than 500 pages back to its author and ask him/her to omit at least 200 pages.
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
7/10 stars.
It's a page-turner and the cast of characters is huge (sometimes unnecessarily so), but before long the main characters take over most of the action. I just kept picturing the story unfolding on the big screen with lots of special effects.
Sep 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Usually I like reading McDevitt, but this one just reminded me of a written version of a Roland Emmerich film. Since I'm not a fan of those movies, I wasn't a fan of this book. Ah well.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This is a very exciting story. It kept me up at night reading.
Dan Evans
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
great book which departs from the authors normal extinct alien species and focuses on a disaster here on earth (and the moon). His otehr books are great but this one tops it for me.
Tony Williams
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
If you're familiar w/the cinematic "disaster" genre, then you know what to expect from Jack McDevitt's Moonfall. It has all of the trappings and tropes, strengths and weaknesses that we associate w/the durable genre.

This was my first time reading McDevitt's work, but I can safely say that he's a decent writer. What he aspires to here isn't high art or big idea sci-fi, it's blockbuster summer popcorn stuff. Using that as the bar, it's a fine, if disposable, read.

McDevitt throws everything AND t
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Not an easy book to review at first glance. Taken at face value this is a firm two-star affair in terms of narrative. However the main plot pushes this in to a fairly enjoyable page-turner three-star. That said if you go in to this expecting anything more than the main plot;

Comet smashes in to moon and causes problems on Earth;

you'll be very disappointed. The problem is the author. The book mostly reads like a collection of unexpanded authors notes. As such there is a very annoying show and tell
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Asteroid collision stories usually have one of two focuses: how do we keep it from happening or what do we do after it hits. Moonfall takes a third approach—what can we do to limit the impact. It also deals not with a direct hit on the earth but the effects of a large, very high-speed hit on the moon. The book is in the tradition of Clarke, Pournelle, Niven, and Bova. Like many near future space stories, it is a bit optimistic about how far along space exploration will be in 50 years. But given ...more
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A disaster movie in book form, so McDevitt has the sense to describe scenes of devastation in simple terms, allowing reader imagination to do what a movie would achieve easily but with which prose can struggle, and he concentrates on character, character, character - some of them disposable as the story demands, the rest of them built on layer by layer as the novel progresses - as solid a science background as the form dictates, and problems, pitfalls and catastrophes.

And he also has the fine hu
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Moonfall is an exciting exploration of humanity's response to a unique and imaginative catastrophe. It simultaneously points out flaws in bureaucracy and leaves hope for humanity. There were diversions to an extraordinary amount of characters throughout the story, most of which were exciting but some were dull or distracting to overall narrative arch. Moonfall was suspenseful until the end and I highly recommend it too any science-fiction fan.
Lynnelle D. Bolton
Jack McDevitt, in my opinion is the best all around writer I've read in several years.

First, I recommend McDevitt to anyone who wants to read exceptional writing. He has been writing sci-fi for at least twenty years. But he could write in any genre and put out the best I've read. I'm so sorry he's gone.
Chuck Smith
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An exciting, enjoyable read. Very engrossing - especially the realistic reactions and actions of people taking place sensing the world as we know it might come to an end in 5 days time. The science of what could happen seemed very real as well as the portrayal of our space travel capabilities at the time. Highly recommended.
Leila P
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very exciting story of global catastrophy, I almost held my breath while reading this. Also, it shows that this novel was first published in 1998, which was pre-9/11 era, so it felt a bit naive at times (in the end of the book people celebrate, wars cease overnight etc). I'm afraid that if this happened in real life, there would be nukes.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Same plot different author, similar to Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Introduces a large cast of characters, some you get glimpse of their life. It would be interesting to take a minor character and write the same book from their prospective.

Overall good book. It would be nice for the world population to come together before a near catastrophic event .
James Mourgos
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi

At first glance, Jack starts in by showing an eclipse, then we get a preview of an unknown comet from another galaxy, invisible except for the elclipse leads to its discovery. What follows is at first a bit of a slow tale with over explanation of vignettes and way too much minor detail, but ends up as a page turner that will grip you to the end.

This story is how people react to stress and unsolvable life threatening situations. A large rock is falling onto the planet from a broken Moon.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Quantum Garden (The Quantum Evolution #2)
  • The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry
  • The Guns of the South
  • Linesman (Linesman, #1)
  • 1633
  • Eagle Station (Patrick Universe, #24)
  • 1632
  • Rollback
  • The Business
  • Fateful Lightning (Lost Regiment #4)
  • Terrible Swift Sword (Lost Regiment, #3)
  • The Union Forever (Lost Regiment #2)
  • Rally Cry (Lost Regiment #1)
  • Gospoda pod Upiorkiem
  • Masked Prey (Lucas Davenport #30)
  • Dies the Fire (Emberverse, #1)
  • Against the Tide of Years (Nantucket, #2)
  • Island in the Sea of Time (Nantucket, #1)
See similar books…
Jack McDevitt is a former English teacher, naval officer, Philadelphia taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. His work has been on the final ballot for the Nebula Awards for 12 of the past 13 years. His first novel, The Hercules Text, was published in the celebrated Ace Specials series and won the Philip K. Dick Special Award. In 1991, McDevitt won the first $10,000 UPC Internation ...more

News & Interviews

  Let your voice be heard! We need your help selecting the best books of the year during the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards, our 12th annual...
82 likes · 44 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »