The year is 1995, a different 1995 than you may recall. Already the United States has a low-earth orbit space station called "The Wheel;" humans have explored the reaches of Mars, and there is a permanent base on the moon. The only trouble is that this base contains nuclear missiles, dormant for many years, but ripe for the picking by any two-bit government. Steele tells the tale of The Tranquillity Alternative between world peace and total annihilation.
The base is located in the Sea of Tranquillity on the moon and has seen better days. Due to NASA's diminishing budget and the lack of need for nuclear missiles on the moon (now that the Cold War is over), the base has been sold to a private German corporation and the missiles are to be launched on a one-way ticket to the sun. Whose task is it to get rid of the missiles? Gene Parnell, an ex-astronaut who has seen better days himself. He helped install the missiles 30 years earlier and now he has to remove them.
Only one problem: there is a traitor among his crew. Could it be Cristine Ryer, a NASA pilot who is flying her final mission due to a personal scandal? How about Paul Dooley, a techno-wizard and hacker who is assigned to get the Tranquillity Base's computers online again? Maybe it is Markus Talsbach, or Uwe Aachener, two Germans sent along to make sure everything runs smoothly? Parnell has his suspicions and things are made worse when he learns of a secret North Korean missile launch site. All of this makes him wonder why he didn't stay in bed.
This novel is exciting, suspenseful, and keeps the reader on the edge of his seat from beginning to end. The Hugo Award-winning author Allen Steele is by far one of the best science-fiction writers of our time. His ability to use the human elements of emotion and motives is truly unprecedented. This thrilling and suspenseful novel is a great addition to any science-fiction or spy-thriller buff's collection. Steele sure can tell a story, and readers won't be able to put it down. (I know I couldn't!) .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.