KOPPESCHAAR, CARL, and translated by Susan Massotty. Moon Handbook: A 21st-Century Travel Guide. (Illus.) Chico, CA: Moon Publications, 1996, 140pp. $10.00 (paper), ISBN 1-56691-066-8. Index; C.I.P.
JH-T, GA **
Carl Koppeschaar's Moon Handbook: A 21-st Century Travel Guide is singular among books I have reviewed for Science Books & Film. With unabashed audacity, Koppeschaar presents us with what appears to be a complete travel guide, aimed at the upscale tourist, straight from the 21st century. What wonderful deceit! As a travel guide - and it is truly that - the Moon Handbook is wonderful, informative, and enjoyable. Facts, observations, and advice for would-be lunar tourists dated as of the publication of the book (1995) are based in historical and scientific fact. Any items, discoveries, and advice conjectured at dates after publication are simply that: conjecture and fiction. The remarkably seamless transition between fact and fiction makes the book wonderful perfidious. Unfortunately, the unsophisticated reader - particularly young readers with little background in science or current history - could easily be taken in and readily believe the fiction as fact. To that end, I have asked the author and publisher, who both agreed, to include an insert describing what is fact and what is fiction as of the date of the current publication. With that in hand (and with some guidance from an instructor), the Moon Handbook becomes an excellent tool for teaching lunar history and science, a book that readers of all ages will enjoy. With luck (and considerable investment in lunar exploration), the book's seamless transition from fact to fiction may one day become simply seamless fact. If nothing else, the volume may inspire those who will subsequently make it so.