These short stories are all about the moon—trying to get there, exploring it, or living on it. Generally, they’re about Earth’s moon, but stories of other planet’s moons will also be put here.
Short Stories About the Moon
“This Is Not the Way Home” by Greg Egan
Aisha weeps over a helmetless Jingyi, whom she can see through the window. Jingyi had kept her going, and was instrumental in formulating their plan. Aisha puts her daughter into their shared suit and packs for the trip. There’s no indication a rescue team is coming. The buggy is ready. She’s going to head for the farside.
This story can be read in the preview of The Year’s Top Hard Science Fiction Stories 4. (7% into preview)
“Moon Six” by Stephen Baxter
Bado is on the Cape Canaveral beach, holding his Moon rocks and tools. It’s different—no launch complexes, no Kennedy Space Center and an unfamiliar Moon. He’s wearing his Moon gear and has no money. In another reality, Bado is on the Moon with Slade, exploring Wildwood Crater. Their mission is to retrieve some pieces of the Surveyor and bring them home.
This is the first story in the preview of Other Worlds Than These. (12% into preview)
“Moonwalk” by H. B. Fyfe
The radio operator on the Lunar station stops calling. They’ve lost contact with Tractor Two, manned by Hansen, Groswald, Van Ness and Hernandez. It’s been an hour. They’ve only recently begun surface exploration. Meanwhile, Hansen is alone on a ledge, trying to keep his balance.
This story can be read in the preview of Explorers: SF Adventures to Far Horizons. (25% into preview)
“The Cassandra Project” by Jack McDevitt
NASA is preparing to return to the moon. At the press conference, a reporter asks about a story in a tabloid, The National Bedrock. The Russians have released never-before-seen lunar pictures from the sixties. On the far side of the moon, one of them shows a dome, suggesting an alien presence. It’s dismissed as a joke, but the picture looks legitimate. Jerry, the US public relations person, confers with his Russian counterpart and tries to figure out what’s going on.
This story can be read in the preview of Lightspeed: Year One. (17% in)
The following nine stories are in the anthology Moonrise: The Golden Age of Lunar Adventures.
“Dead Centre” by Judith Merril
Jock and Ruth Kruger host a dinner party for some important people. Jock has orbited the moon twice. In a few days, he will go again, this time to land. Ruth is one of the rocket’s designers. They both have some misgivings about this flight. Their son, Toby, is six-years-old. The launch is successful. Ruth and Toby attend a small press-party. The first report is received from the rocket.
“A Visit to the Moon” by George Griffith
Lord and Lady Redgrave, newlyweds, have just taken off in the Astronef. He’s the ship’s creator, while she is the daughter of its inventor. The only other person on board is Andrew Murgatroyd, an old engineer who also worked on the ship. No one else is needed, as almost everything is automated. The one thing requiring careful attention is the regulation of the “R. Force” that powers the vessel. They plan on taking a good look at the moon.
“First Men in the Moon” by H. G. Wells
A physicist, Cavor, develops a new material with anti-gravity properties he calls cavorite. He constructs a spherical spaceship with the material. Accompanied by a writer, Bedford, he sets out for the moon. On landing, they encounter an insect-like native species, Selenites.
The novel-length version of this story seems to be much more common than the shorter one.
“Sub-Satellite” by Charles Cloukey
Javis used his vast wealth to fund a trip to the moon. He brought with him a famous stunt-flier, Brown, after a falling-out with his assistant, Duseau. There’s also the matter of a serious incident involving Donald, Javis’s oldest son. Javis wants to disinherit him and leave everything to the youngest, Donald. Complicating things further, Duseau vows to get revenge on Javis.
“Lunar Lilliput” by William F. Temple
The Interplanetary Society in London build an unmanned rocket and launch it to the moon. The experiment is a success. It attracts the attention of a wealthy man, who offers to fund the construction of a passenger-carrying ship. Captain Cassel and his wife, Clemence, are chosen to go, along with the narrator.
“Nothing Happens on the Moon” by Paul Ernst
Hartigan is the sole occupant of Station RC3, an emergency landing station on the moon. He contacts New York once a month to report the station’s status. Everything is always the same. One day, he gets into his spacesuit and goes for a walk. There’s an explosion of ash as a meteor strikes the surface. Walking on, he finds the meteor—smooth, round and black. He takes it back to the station for analysis. He soon notices that the color is changing to green.
“Whatever Gods There Be” by Gordon R. Dickson
A landing party has been on the moon eight days. Four of the six are still alive. Doc Green has just found a troubling result in one of the crew’s blood tests. Kronzy calls him outside to help raise the ship. They landed safely, but while adjusting the angle for a proper takeoff, the ground gave way and the ship sunk.
“After a Judgment Day” by Edmond Hamilton
Martinsen is looking at a monitor on a moon station. A tiny red star indicates that Charlie Sixteen is coming back. Cyborgs, nicknamed Charlies, are sent out in probes to gather data on other planets. Martinsen alerts Ellam, but there’s no response. He finds Ellam in a daze from taking tranquillizers. It’s his way of coping with the news from Earth—a devastating plague has broken out and survivors will be few, if any.
“The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke
Wilson relates his experiences from a lunar expedition. They were well prepared for any emergency. Everything was as expected until Wilson saw a glint on a far away mountain. He and his assistant, Garnett, decided to check it out.
This story can be read in the preview of Explorers: SF Adventures to Far Horizons. (12% into preview)
“The Distance of the Moon” by Italo Calvino
The narrator recounts the time when the moon was close enough to Earth that people could reach it with a ladder. They made trips to the moon to collect moon milk. One of them, a deaf man, thoroughly enjoys his moon visits.
This story can be read in the preview of The Complete Cosmicomics.
“Promises to Keep” by Jack McDevitt
Sawyer remembers his mission to Callisto, a moon of Jupiter. The ship was old, as were all the others, and government support for the space program was waning. They want to explore Jupiter one day, but that is unlikely. Cathie made a Christmas video to send home in the hope of boosting public interest. The crew is finished in this system. They have a little celebration and prepare to return.
This story can be read in the preview of The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Second Annual Collection. (63% in)
“Second Variety” by Philip K. Dick
During a nuclear war between the Soviets and the United Nations, the U.N. authorities are forced to relocate to a moon base, leaving the troops behind. U.N. developers build “claws”, a basic robot with churning blades that seeks out warm bodies. U.N. troops are protected by a special radiation-emitting wrist device. After the robots turn the tide of the conflict, the Soviets want to talk to a high ranking officer to discuss a new threat.
Read “Second Variety” (Novella)
“Requiem” by Robert A. Heinlein
Harriman has always wanted to go to the moon. As the face of his company, his business partners would never allow him to take the risk of going. Now that he’s older, he can’t pass the physical required for space flight. He uses his wealth to overcome this obstacle.
“A Walk in the Sun” by Geoffrey A. Landis
Trish is the only survivor of a crash landing on the moon. She has enough supplies for a while, but her radio signal is blocked by a mountain. On the mountaintop, there will be a short window for a signal to get through.
I’ll keep adding short stories about the moon as I find more.