The Great Moon Hoax

by Liam Hankins

While reading From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, the book mentions a work of fiction by a Sir John Herschel, who had apparently improved a telescope's power so he could see individuals on the surface of the moon. Upon further research, I found that it was portrayed as true, and now it's regarded as a hoax. Despite that, it is still good worldbuilding. I found a pdf, of the articles published in the New York Sun in 1835. Here it is.

In it, we see the flora, seas, geology, and of the moon. Trees, taller than than any on Earth. Tides, extremely variable, dependent on the earth. Massive natural quartz formations. I'll let you read about the animals(and people!). Don't want to spoil too much.

{Comment from Zendexor: the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 gives us a fascinating window into popular feeling about our satellite. And the Hoax's imaginative appeal is sufficiently enduring, that an illustrated article appeared on the subject some years back in the astronomy magazine "Sky & Telescope"; it's also pleasing to note that C S Lewis was excited when he learned of the story of the Hoax. I particularly like the idea of creatures living properly up front on the lunar surface. No skulking around in caves or caverns... instead, a proper lunar biosphere. A goal scored in the Great Game, you might say. Imagination 1, Reality 0.}

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Aug 28, 2019
The Good Moon Hoax
by: Dylan Jeninga

I thought for a minute you were going to claim the Moon Landing was faked - phew!

This is fascinating, I hadn't heard of it! It's not inconceivable, either; I can see why people bought it. It reminds me a bit of Percival Lowell's descriptions of how he imagined life on Mars. That, I think, was believed nearly as totally by some as this Moon Hoax.

It could serve as a good jumping-off point for some historical OSS fiction. Perhaps a world where the Moon Hoax was no hoax at all, and maybe an early space program revolving around Jules Vernian space cannons to go with it.

{Z: Talking of Verne-style space cannons, Piers Anthony's "Macroscope" contains an interesting solution to the problem of how to survive super-acceleration. Basically, you just dissolve into a soupy bath of cells for the duration of the ordeal, and then re-complexify into a body afterwards.}

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