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Walking on the Sea of Clouds

Written by: Gray Rinehart
Narrated by: Stephanie Minervino
Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Before permanent lunar encampments such as Clarke's Clavius Base or Heinlein's Luna City, could be built, there would have to be the first settlers - the first people to set up shop and try to eke out an existence on the Moon. 

Walking On the Sea of Clouds is the story of such lunar pioneers: two couples, Stormie and Frank Pastorelli and Van and Barbara Richards, determined to survive and succeed in this near-future technological drama about the risks people will take, the emergencies they'll face, and the sacrifices they'll make as members of the first commercial lunar colony. In the end, one will decide to leave, one will decide to stay, one will put off deciding...and one will decide to die so another can live.

©2017 Gray Rinehart (P)2019 WordFire Press LLC

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  • Victor @ theAudiobookBlog dot com
  • 2019-04-03

From Earth to the Moon

Walking on the Sea of Clouds is a great Sci-Fi adventure by Gray Rinehart, available now as an audiobook, performed by Stephanie Minervino. This is Mr. Rinehart's first fully fledged fiction work, but he has a lot of experience writing and editing non fiction and other fiction novels.

I started to listen to Walking on the Sea of Clouds last week, I finished it in three relatively long sittings and now, after thinking about it for the last few days, I am ready and willing to write this review.

The year is 2034 and humanity is looking to the stars for a new home. The action follows four main characters, two couples, as they leave a quiet life on Earth in order to live on the Moon. Each and every one of them has their own reasons for embarking on this journey, filled with perils and threatened by the unknown at every step, but the wish for discovery and the reward of being pioneers of space exploration far outshines the potential unwanted consequences.

The story revolves around these brave individuals, Stormie and Frank Pastorelli and Van and Barbara Richards, and I can say that the character development is great, the plot is very well thought out, backed up by deep research on the author's part, while at the same time a few well placed creative licenses makes it even more interesting.

This is a book about people, about the difficulties of a new life in a new and strange land. All that we take for granted on Earth is a luxury on the Moon and any relatively small problem or an accident can become a disaster in that sealed and at times hostile Environment. I will not tell you anything more about the story as I don't want to spoil anything, but I'll add that this is not a book for those looking for aliens, futuristic weapons or explosive, over the top, action...

The audiobook version of Walking on the Sea of Clouds is brought to life by actress and voice over artist Stephanie Minervino. As this is her first recording for an audiobook release, I can tell you that she did great! Stephanie reads in a clear and soothing voice, giving each character his or her own personality, with subtile changes in tone, accent and cadence. She infuses the dramatic scenes with urgency and she delivers the many lines of poetry present in this novel with talent and passion.

I will be on the lookout for any new releases from Gray Rinehart  and I will definitely like to listen to more audiobooks performed by Stephanie Minervino. I recommend this book to anyone in search of a good Sci-Fi adventure, that delves more into what makes us what we are as human beings and less into how many aliens we can kill if on a strange planet.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • 2019-06-26

Good Storytelling, Good Narration, and Great...

Good Storytelling, Good Narration, and Great Character Development

3.75 out of 5 stars

Walking on the Sea of Clouds is one of those books that reads/feels like a non-fiction book but it’s fiction. Rinehart, from what I can tell, tried to write a book that felt like a biography of the first people to settle on the moon. The action doesn’t all take place on the moon as he also sets up what the training on Earth would be like. But, Clouds was a very matter-of-fact book. There wasn’t any unnecessary hardship or action in it. Things happened because that is what Rinehart predicted would be a problem in that scenario.

The book, being similar to a non-fiction book did drag a bit for my liking. There were parts of it that really felt like they were added in because Rinehart wanted to talk about them – but they didn’t, in the end, really have a point to being there. I won’t go into what, but there were a few cases that I felt this happened. I get it, it’s something really awesome and definitely deserved to be written about – but since this was more of a matter-of-fact kind of story – it didn’t feel like it totally belonged.

The characters in the story were all incredibly real and believable. They were all well thought out and executed in my opinion. Rinehart was able to create people that felt like those who would be the first people on the Moon. In that same vein – he created a company (companies) that also felt real and acted just like I thought they would if this was how life was in 20+ years.

Because the book just kind of existed and nothing absolutely major or catastrophic happens (no major issues like The Martian for example) it loses a little bit of a rating from me. But it’s definitely made up by good storytelling, good narration, and great character development.

I thought that Stephanie Minervino did a pretty good job. There were a few times that the voice she chose to use for a person/character was a little off but thankfully those were for side characters that didn’t have a lot of lines. I can be annoyed with a narrator tries to do the opposite sex but Minervino’s male characters weren’t too bad. They had a lot of lines and I didn’t really notice it like I usually do. Her pacing and style wasn’t my favorite but it definitely fits the book and the characters well.

Overall, I think this book hits on some things that I believe will happen in the future. It also includes some really cool science that I would love to see a prequel or a short story about (the treatment as an example). It was a little bit slow at times but I knew going into it that the pacing was going to be that way.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • DWD
  • 2019-06-10

Suffers from peaks and valleys

Published in 2019 by WordFire Press LLC.
Read by Stephanie Minervino.
Duration: 13 hours, 33 minutes.

In the year 2034 a private corporation is making an attempt to build a colony on the surface of the moon to act as a home base for asteroid miners. They make the long run from the moon to the asteroid belt and back so that the lunar base can refine the metals found in the asteroids. It's a solid plan, but it has to start with almost nothing and work it's way to the kind of lunar colony you see in the movies.

The world of 2034 is different in some ways. There are early references to some sort of traumatic biological problem, such as rampant infectious disease. A great deal of the early parts of the book is devoted to Stormie and Frank Pastorelli, two prospective lunar colonists that expose themselves to the risk of contracting a bloodborne pathogens when they help the victims of a car crash. The lengths they go to cleanse themselves of pathogens and the fear exhibited by other potential colonists tell me that this was not HIV or hepatitis. Sadly, it is never explained what the infection could have been even though the infection story line comes up again and again throughout the entire book.

NASA is rarely mentioned in this book because this colony is a private venture. Imagine if Elon Musk and Space-X decided to go the moon and you get the idea. But, it's not entirely a company operation - there are independent contractors that manage parts of the small-but-growing lunar colony and there are independent contractors that deliver goods. It all can be very complicated and decidedly not glamorous to hash out who has what responsibilities with the lawyers - just like most corporate gigs.

If you remember the literary devices you learned about in school (man vs. man, man vs. self, man vs. nature) - this book is almost entirely man vs. nature - the nature is the harsh environment of the moon. It is the ultimate unforgiving environment - it is so cold that you will die almost instantly upon exposure, it has no atmosphere so you can't even take a breath and fluids burn away immediately when the sunlight hits them. The temperature extremes (more than a 500+ degree Fahrenheit difference) are tough on the machinery and the dust...well the dust gets everywhere and unlike Earth dust, it can be sharp and jagged (no weathering to take off the harsh edges) and it can tear up all sorts of stuff.

Building a colony in such conditions can be a tedious venture. You cannot just say "good enough for now" and then come back and fix the leaks later on once the colony starts to make some money. It all has to be perfect on the first try or people die.

The audiobook was read by Stephanie Minervino. She was given a hard task in this book - there are a lot of male voices and there are a variety of accents (the first lunar colonies will have to access talent from around the world). She did a strong job with this book.

This book gives the reader a taste of what our first lunar colonists (I do believe that we will be there eventually - NASA is making rumblings about it again) will be up against. It will be, as noted above, a tedious venture. Tedious things do not make the best topics for a book and there are times when this book drags. It is is not a horrible book by any means - but it suffers from peaks and valleys and some of the valleys are pretty big.

I am giving this book 3 stars out of 5. It is not the most riveting of books, but this is a must listen/must read book if you are interested in getting a glimpse of the difficulties in the eventual colonizing of the moon.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kirsten and Scott
  • 2019-04-29

Return to the moon!

As a teenager I read a LOT of books about lunar exploration and colonization (both fiction and non-fiction). It is obvious that Gray has also read a great many of these in his research. So this was great trek down memory lane for me. Also it's great to explore some of this materials from a very HUMAN perspective - not just a technological one. The performance was also a delight to listen to. Stephanie does some great characterizations making the dialogue easy to follow. BTW Gray, if you read this review, this is Scott, not Kirsten. :-)