Half-Humans, Moon Dust, and Tetrahedrons REVIEWING The Moon Children

So I'm the kind of person who likes to pick up random books whenever I have the chance. I'm also a pretty big fan of science fiction. When I come across pretty old science fiction books at my university's library, and they're super cheap, I just can't help but pick them up. That's why we have today's post.

The Moon Children

Author: Jack Williamson
Publication Year: 1972


The story tells of three strange children born to astronauts after they return from a moon flight where they were exposed to some strange crystals from outer space. The children, two beautiful, one a shaggy monster, grow up with unhuman capabilities. 


So I first should confess that I have never read a Jack Williamson book in my entire life. I honestly had never even heard of him until I Googled him after I finished reading the book. Imagine my surprise to see that he is actually often referred to as the "Dean of Science Fiction". Additionally, he spent a few of his younger years in Western Texas, before his family moved to New Mexico. A popular science fiction author from the Southwest and I've never heard of him! Makes me feel a little silly to call myself a science fiction fan who is very proud and happy about living in the Southwest. Then again, The Moon Children is not that easy of a book to come across at a standard bookseller like Barnes and Noble, as the only copy I saw online of it readily available on their site was an audiobook, making this all the more interesting of a find from my perspective.

This book is narrated by Kim Hodian, who is an unorthodox main character, to say the least. The real main characters of the story are the moon children, but because of how different they are from us it would not necessarily have been ideal to make them the narrators. Kim is a Jewish man who does not exercise a lot of agency and who generally does not make things happen. This is a plot based story that focuses on an integral group of characters, all relayed to us by a guy who is kind of dragged into everything just by nature of relation.

The general idea of the story is that a few astronauts go up to the moon, see a strange structure no one else can see or prove the existence of, return from the trip, and have children that are unlike any other children known to man. Something about their exposure to moon dust altered them biologically in a way that allowed them to have these strange half-human children, despite the children having two human parents, and then left them sterile. The children, who are referred to collectively as the Moon Children, experience different growth stages, growing much faster than their human counterparts. There are three of them. Two are perceived as more beautiful than humans. The boy is named Nick and the girl is named Kyrie. There is a third child who is very hairy and resembles an animal, moreso than a person, and he is not as intellectually advanced as the others. He is named Guy. The children express themselves differently and have ways of thinking that surpasses the human scientists they interact with over the course of their lives. As a result of this, they are seen as scary and dangerous, and are closely monitored.

We learn about the moon children through Kim, who is the brother of one of the children's fathers. His brother has a much higher status than he does, generally speaking, and his brother is more outgoing. Kim ends up writing press releases and public relations statements for the people involved with the space missions and the moon children. Lately, the Earth has been engaged with mysterious, alien creatures, that are causing problems, but no one can seem to communicate with. Kim is actively around as the children grow, and he actually has more of an active role in their lives than his brother does, which is partially why he gets to be the narrator. At every turn, he ends up involved in what the moon children are up to. As the story progresses, the children start to play with some moon dust samples and they create a tetrahedron structure, which according to them, with further work and materials, can lead to a structure that will allow for communication with a group of beings. Supposedly, the beings partially responsible for their existence. They also expect that it will lead them to a transgalactic culture and communication with outer worlds, using a tachyon beam.

Compared to the science fiction of today, this book can feel a bit slow despite it being rather short. It is six chapters long, spanning 208 pages. At times it gets very technical (whenever the children talk about the tachyon beam and tetrahedron), but it is rather speedy whenever Hodian finds himself in a new situation. The thing I find most interesting about this book is not the world it exists in or even the moon children. The most curious thing about this book to me, is the choice of the narrator, which the narrator himself even mentions at the beginning. Since he knew the moon children best in some ways, and interacted with them the most over the course of their lives, he is the most fitting to tell us what happened and what they did. However, his lack of agency causes the story to move along not because of him, but in spite of him. He gets tossed from one point to another and goes with it. He staggers along and eventually gets where he needs to be when he needs to be there, but the children love him and he is apart of their family in his own way. I'm used to reading about characters who have more agency and who actively make big choices to move the story along, but this is not that kind of story. At first, I honestly wasn't sure what to think of that, but now, after thinking about it more, and how it fits with the story, I believe it was the best thing to do. The story being told could not be told by the children in a way that would benefit it, in my opinion, and nobody else was present enough and therefore couldn't provide the information that Kim does. So, in this instance it works, even if it is a kind of abnormal seeming decision by the author.

I wouldn't say this is the best work of science fiction I have ever read, or the most gripping, but it is definitely interesting. I enjoy seeing the progression of the genre from one point to another (say Jules Verne to now), so this is a good step to seeing the change over time in storytelling preferences. I would definitely consider reading more of Jack Williamson's work, but I don't think this book is for everyone. I think this book would work best for anyone who is a fan of 1970's science fiction specifically, or someone who has a high amount of interest in the genre. I don't think it would entertain the average reader and they might even slog through it slowly before abandoning it altogether.

LoneStar Rating:✯✯✯

Final Thoughts

I liked this one and found it to be very interesting as a work to study further, but it isn't the best book I have ever read and I don't see it ever breaching my top 10 lists. I might skim it to examine the author's style due to my interest in writing and the science fiction genre, but I wouldn't reread it just for the sake of enjoyment. There are definitely other things I would pick up first.

That being said, this review has come to an end.

Comment Section Time!
Let me know what science fiction books you have read or if any books you have read surprised you with the kind of narrator that the story featured.

Also, if you enter your e-mail in the subscribe box off on the right hand side of this page, every review will go straight to your e-mail! Subscribe and stay updated without all the extra clicking around in social media.

See you at the next post!