Oh, man, how many times did John Christopher blow my mind as a kid?
Many times and here’s one of the big ones!
This book appears to be out of print.
Of course, that may be because it’s not titled “MoonZoomers in Peril: Cave Spawn of the Lotii.”
Likewise the jacket copy describes an “insidiously solicitous interstellar superintelligence.”
This is a perfect description, but it may not have made books fly off the shelves.
Luckily, there’s no sentence in the book that’s anywhere that difficult to read. Once again, Christopher introduces BIG ideas through an adventure story, this one involving a stolen lunar crawler, a clue to the disappearance of an early astronaut and an unforgettable cave.
In an attempt to hook the reluctant, I’m going to divulge a little more of the plot. No ending spoilers, but if you already want to read the book skip this part and discover it for yourself:
The two boys, who are already in big trouble for breaking lunar colony rules, take an unauthorized, but kind of boring, ride hundreds of miles across the barren lunar surface to visit the original, abandoned lunar station. There they find a notebook, overlooked for 70 tears, written by an astronaut who went missing. They learn that he had become obsessed with the idea that he had seen a giant flower during a lunar exploration.
They follow his trail to find that … the astronaut had been right. In fact there’s a lot more than a flower. There are all sorts of Strange with a capital S things. But by the time they discover this, they’re trapped in the cave with the flower, the Strange things and something even Stranger which I won’t even tell you about here.
Folks, I recommend you read this book yourselves and urge you to encourage bright mid-grade/YA readers to read it, too. A little bit of mind-blowing can do a lot for a kid. AND a book this good it can help him/her become a voracious reader for life. (Though they may be disappointed that not every book can do what this one does.)
Nearly 40 years after it was written — and despite a zillion space books and movies since — this book is amazing.
I said this at the beginning of John Christopher Week and I’ll say it again:
The Lotus Caves (and more) should be in print, on library shelves and in the hands of kids.