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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Douglas J. Wood's novel Dragon on the Far Side of the Moon is a thriller set in the immediate future. China claims its base on the far side of the moon is for peaceful purposes -- exploration, mining, and launching missions to Mars. The US suspects the base is for military purposes. Whereas the Chinese use advanced computers and cyborgs to build the base, the US space program lags far behind. Antiquated American satellites orbiting the moon provide only limited information. When eight Chinese taikonauts land successfully on the moon, tensions accelerate between the two world powers. US President Phillip Lawson immediately orders two major American successful space venture companies and NASA to prepare to go to the moon within two months. Then in a fearful development, the Chinese lose all contact with their taikonauts. Their new superintelligent computer on the moon, Luna Diébào, appears in total control of the base, including ballistic missiles. The Chinese ask the US for help.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Douglas J. Wood's Dragon on the Far Side of the Moon for its gritty characters, and the terrifying, dangerous, and deadly challenges posed by the superintelligent AI, Luna Diébào. I liked the unflinching courage and determination of US President Phillip Lawson as he argues with the Chinese president to provide more information, to compromise, to avert war. I also liked First Lady Atlee Lawson's character: sharp and intelligent, with diplomatic skills to push for peace between world leaders. I liked the extensive and vivid dialogue between characters revealing strengths and flaws, and the highly volatile world of global politics. As the story moves to the moon, the tension is palpable and the pace and action rise exponentially. The highly imaginative scenario on the moon, with Luna Diébào in control, turned the story from improbable to a very plausible one. A thought-provoking thriller, indeed, about humans and superintelligent AIs.