"Sea of Tranquility" is a thriller about a return to the Moon. But it’s not science-fiction. It could happen. It probably will happen. It asks hard questions about how humanity should expand into space and does not shy away from the ethics, rigors, and lethality of this environment.
I hope that the book, when complete, enthralls a reader so much that they stay up all night reading it. I want the reader to feel like they are on the moon. And while I haven’t walked on the moon myself, obviously, I know exactly how regolith (lunar soil) behaves when someone stomps on it.
A submission to The Launch Pad Manuscript Competition. You can learn about and support the other entries here.
The new space age is here and with it a resurgence of interest in space not seen since the Cold War fifty years earlier. It’s the wild west as corporations compete to achieve the next “first” and governments struggle with the global implications of a space-based economy. Which is why, when investigative journalist Ian Graham gets a tip about something called “OASIS” that may have ties to a reclusive billionaire entrepreneur named Peter Osborne, he doesn’t think too much of it at first.
But there are questions. What are the mysterious blueprints Graham has been given? Blueprints to an island facility that looks suspiciously like a space camp. And why is it such a secret? When someone tries to kill Graham, he realizes he’s on to something much bigger. Yet he is completely unprepared for the truth.
Abruptly invited to see OASIS with his own eyes, Graham learns that the island is merely prologue to something far grander. In the Sea of Tranquility, where man first set foot on the Moon, Peter Osborne has done the impossible: He’s built the first permanent lunar installation, OASIS-1. And he did it in secret, in just a few years, with existing technology.
OASIS-1 is only the start of Osborne’s ambitious plans to create a lunar infrastructure and mine Helium-3 (He-3), a precious isotope that promises clean energy for the entire world. And Osborne wants Graham to experience OASIS-1 for himself – to go where no reporter has gone before.
Before he can say one small step, Graham blasts off for the Moon with an OASIS team and a group of NASA consultants who must certify the facility. But from the moment Graham lands on the Moon nothing is what it seems. And with every hour that passes, Graham becomes more and more convinced that they are not alone up here.
And when OASIS-1 is suddenly attacked the biggest story of Ian Graham’s career becomes the fight of his life.
With the facility all but destroyed, Graham and the other survivors are now trapped on the Moon with dwindling oxygen, no way home and no hope for a rescue in time. Their only chance is to find out who attacked them – and why. But to do that, they’ll have to draw their attackers out again. And fight.
Because on the surface of the Moon, there is no place to run. No place to hide. And no air to breathe.
The spark for "Sea of Tranquility" was the Challenger explosion. I am the son of an Air Force officer and from my earliest days was exposed to the wonders of flight and space travel. I spent my high school years living in the shadow of Cape Canaveral. I watched Space Shuttle launches from my house, and I saw the Challenger explosion in person.
Challenger was a national tragedy, but for those of us living in Central Florida at the time, it was a deeply personal loss that reverberated through our lives for a long time. Even today, the memories sting. The loss of Challenger was the first time in my life that someone had died in the service of space.
Growing up on the periphery of NASA as I did, it always bothered me that we abandoned our plans for the Moon. We went several times. Why didn’t we keep at it? The Moon is right there. America could have had a city on the Moon by the 21st century if we’d maintained our momentum. But we made other decisions.
Thus, this notion that we left our lunar destiny unfulfilled has nagged me my entire life, and I began to conceive of a thriller about the first lunar base. But then NASA got more and more stuck in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and I began tracking the efforts of Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Robert Bigelow as private enterprise took up the mantle of spacefaring. The story percolated in my head for years and I did some initial discovery writing, but always put it aside for one reason or another -- usually another writing project. The timing just didn’t seem right. No longer. We’re on the precipice of a permanent return to space, and I’ve never been more excited about the possibilities.
The Moon is right here and waiting. After all, if we don’t go, someone else will. And the question hit me: What if someone is already on the Moon?
How strongly do I believe in a return to the Moon? Whenever I’m asked about the top item on my bucket list, I say, “I want to be the first tourist to walk on the Moon.” It usually gets some chuckles, but I mean it.
I’m a novelist and screenwriter by night. I graduated from Hunter College (C.U.N.Y.) with a degree in Film and worked in New York TV production for several years. I write primarily in the thriller, horror and action genres and love putting my characters through extreme duress. Man, that’s boring, I’m falling asleep just writing it. Let’s try this: