This is the first of three connected stories by a forgotten writer of the thirties, the era of epic, world making and world destroying science fiction. The other two are Brood of the Dark Moon and The Finding of Haldgren. The three protagonists, Chet Bullard, Walter Harkness and Diane Delacouer, cliffhanging adventurers who run through all three stories. They take place 40 years in the future, in the scientifically advanced brave new world of 1973. As a person who was an ardent science fiction fan in 1946, I find this extremely amusing. The language used tends to obscure the fact that its concepts of giant aircraft carrying passengers all over the world was more or less accurate. When I was 14, I put a pencil to it to figure that if I lived to age 65, I would experience, the then far future, of the 21st century, and here I am, reflecting on, looking backward to how the future was. See Pohl’s auto biographical book with that title.
This is a tale of the first spaceship traveling to the mysterious dark moon and all the wonders and perils of a truly alien planet. Beyond the narrative of the story itself, I love the enthusiastic attitude of the characters. This is the period of enthusiasm for the sheer adventure of flying, when every week someone would invent some gadget which made flying safer or more feasible. In one of the old Charlie Chan films, Number One Son exults over the fact that an ocean liner, two weeks at sea, had been overtaken by an airplane in just eight hours, Gee Whiz! Isn’t that great! Today advances in technology are generally greeted with a blase Ho Hum.
If you want tales of romantic adventure, turn to these old pulps. It’s why so much is being reprinted.