The Final Frontier

August 24, 2014

In honor of my astronomer hubster's recent birthday, coupled with the also-recent 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, I'm posting an encore of a blog from last year about space-themed mysteries.

The above is a fair pictorial representation of the space shuttle launch at night I witnessed in 2010, one of the last shuttle launches (with photo credit thanks to James N. Brown). Truly a sight to behold. It got me wondering about mystery and crime fiction novels which feature NASA or astronauts. I did a little digging, but wasn't able to uncover many examples. Obviously, science fiction is the way to go if you're really interested in fiction on space themes, but it seemed to me that the space program might provide decent fuel for mystery stories, as well.

Although the brilliant Stanislaw Lem is best known for his science fiction, he wrote a cross-genre book titled The Chain of Chance, which was written in the style of a detective novel. An ex-astronaut is hired to look into the death of a wealthy businessman, but neither detectives nor a sophisticated computer used for the investigation can crack the case. On a trail which reaches from Naples to Paris, the ex-astronaut barely escapes numerous seemingly random threats on his life, and begins to realize he may now be the target of a deadly conspiracy.

Tess Gerritsen published Gravity in 2004, part thriller and part horror novel in which six astronauts studying living creatures in space encounter an alien life form that wreaks havoc aboard the International Space Station.

Dana Stabenow penned Prepared for Rage, published in 2006, a thriller set at the Kennedy Space Center where terrorists are planning to disrupt the launch.

I *know* there have to be others out there, so if you are aware of other entries to add, pass them along. I might even be able to coax the nonfiction-loving hubster to chow down on some fiction books, if they relate to space. Suggested titles, anyone?

(Note:  Helpful reader and operator of Detectives Beyond Borders, Peter Rozovsky, added Reginald Hill's story "One Small Step," in which the now-EuroFed Commissioner Pascoe calls his old boss Dalziel out of retirement to investigate a murder. The murder happened on the Moon, which necessitates space travel.)

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