Tor, Jan 2003, 14.95, 363 pp.
NASA is in deep decline especially looking back to its glory days of Mercury, Gemini, and the Apollo missions. As the astronaut and cosmonaut pioneers of space die, Elvis-like sightings are reported, but most rationale folks write them off as too much moonshine. However, when Neil Armstrong passes away, a Saturn V moon rocket launches from the Cape Canaveral pad witnessed by shuttle astronaut Rick Spencer. The ghostly spacecraft reaches Moon orbit, then vanishes. This phenomenon repeats itself several times.
Rick persuades the NASA brass to allow him to travel with the phantom ship, which takes him to the shuttle piloted by his girlfriend, Tessa McClain. Rick, Tessa, and astronomer-astronaut Yoshiko Sugano ignore their superiors and ride the ghost ship to the Moon with the Russians providing mission control support from earth. Rick soon learns that if he fears that the space program will end, the ship remains solid, but if he believes that the space program will recover, the ship begins to vanish. The team lands on the Moon and successfully returns to Earth only to have the CIA interrogate them to learn more about psychic powers.
ABANDON IN PLACE is a full-length novelization of an award-winning novella. The story line is exciting as Jerry Oltion uses New Age elements combined with scientific information tat tuns into an excellent paranormal tale. The novel is at its best during the space scenes, but loses thrust when the CIA enters the picture. Though the NASA leaders seem stilted, fans of preternatural science fiction will relish this weird to the moon and back thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner