Remote Moon Reads

SciFiMonth 2021 (1-30 November): Words full of hope and threat, like the stars

There’s a long-standing British radio show that invites celebrities to pick the eight musical tracks, single book and one luxury item they’d want with them if they were stranded on a desert island. For Wyrd and Wonder, I gave this concept a fantasy bookish spin – for SciFiMonth, damn right we’re taking it into space…

Welcome to Desert Island Reads Remote Moon Reads, where we imagine ourselves in a terrible situation: stuck on a lunar base with most systems down after a solar flare and nothing you can do but wait for the relief shuttle to arrive. Unfortunately, those flares mean you only have access to a very limited number of files for entertainment. But at least life support is stable, there are plenty of basic rations and the med bay is working…

The Rules

Desert Island Discs – the classic BBC radio show that inspired this meme – allows players to take eight musical tracks (not albums), a single book (plus the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible or a more appropriate religious / philosophical book of choice as a freebie) and a random ‘luxury’ item to make island life bearable.

For Remote Moon Reads, you may choose:

  • Eight (audio)books
    • If you want to take a series, each book counts as one of your eight unless a collected edition has been published. So you can’t take the whole of The Expanse (dammit)
    • No fully-loaded e-readers or other digital media. Those solar flares wiped the rest of your stash
  • A podcast, TV show or movie – for when you really can’t read any more
    • If you choose Podcast / TV show: yes, you get all the episodes / seasons
    • If you choose Movie: since I’m being lenient, yes this can be a full series / franchise
  • A personal item: one more thing that you just can’t do without
    • A favourite food, something comforting, a console game, a touch of luxury – this can be pretty much whatever you like, so long as it’s inanimate, can’t help you escape and doesn’t require off-base comms. Unlike Desert Island Reads, you have electricity!

Assuming you do this for the SciFiMonth Challenge, please limit your bookish and entertainment picks to science fiction titles. If you’d like to make a non-SF-related response at another time, you’re very welcome.

Please link back to this post so I can swing by to enjoy your selections!

My SciFiMonth Remote Moon Reads

  1. MY REMOTE MOON READS… I found it so much harder to make a scifi selection than I did a fantasy selection. While I love the genre, it seems there’s fewer individual titles I’ll hang my hat on (especially as I lean towards taking stand-alones over single books from a series). But then I realised I could this as an opportunity to fill in some of my SFnal reading gaps and it all started to come together…
    1. The Hainish Cycle – Ursula Le Guin (2 books): I’m long overdue diving into Le Guin’s seminal SF, and the Library of America handily published all 8 books and the short stories in a 2-volume collector’s edition. This should give me lots to mull over! 2 spots on my shelf go to Le Guin
    2. The Patternists Octavia Butler: I’ve been meaning to revisit this series (and Butler’s work in general) since reading Wild Seed and I already have the collected edition handy. My remote moon gives me the time to jump back in.
    3. Thessaly – Jo Walton: thoughtfully, Tor published a collected edition of Jo Walton’s philosophical trilogy. My reading hasn’t kept pace with Walton’s writing of intriguing tales, and I’m keen to explore Athena’s experiments in utopia.
    4. Teixcalaan – Arkady Martine (2 books): I’m going to want some dependable rereads too, so I’m happy to give up 2 spots on my shelf to one of my recent favourite series. I adore these characters; the biggest risk is that it inspires me to try and write poetry…
    5. Orthe: Chronicles of Carrick V – Mary Gentle: this chunky paperback contains favourite Golden Witchbreed (last year’s SciFiMonth read-along) and sequel Ancient Light. All the world-building, much diplomacy, and a great deal of reader screaming.
    6. My final spot needs to go all in on feel-good or escapism, which leaves me agonising over The Murderbot Diaries (although I may get jealous of the amount of media it has downloaded) or A Closed and Common Orbit (surprisingly little hesitation over which Wayfarers novel would be considered). I suspect Murderbot would edge it in the end, but this has me almost reconsidering Teixcalaan. Almost.
  2. TV, MOVIE OR PODCAST… the MCU feels like a cop out (plus I can’t watch it with a migraine; too many flashing lights and fast cross-cuts); The Expanse is hella tempting since I can’t take the books and Doctor Who would keep me going for …years???… but I think I’m going with Orphan Black. I adored the show and I’m loving Orphan Black: The Next Chapter and hell yes I’m declaring that part of the franchise and taking both.
  3. I CAN’T DO WITHOUT… I get cold easily, and moons are chilly places. Life support is all well and good, but I bet it hasn’t factored in my being a reptile. I’ll be claiming one large, soft and snuggly wool blanket as my luxury item, for curling up with my books; I’ll trust that basic rations include green tea and some decent chocolate.

Share your SciFiMonth Remote Moon Reads on November 17th as part of the SciFiMonth Challenge.

It should go without saying, but just in case: this post is inspired by but is in no way affiliated, associated with or endorsed by the BBC.

Image Credits

ARTWORK by Liu Zishan from

QUOTE from Babylon’s Ashes by James S A Corey