DARLAH or 172 Hours on the Moon in some languages is a sci-fi/horror novel. When I look back to novel (or its original cover) I understand that this was a bloody youth novel. In other words, its protagonists are people who you possibly cannot care about unless you’re a teenager yourself, possibly not even then. The characters are unrealistic fluctuations of hormones that can only be found relatable or realistic by people who cannot control their own fluctuations of bloody hormones. Almost all events get resolved by deus ex machinas; you cannot even get a proper chance to get frightened. To my defense there are no signs or labels on my copy warning me that I was about to lose an afternoon of my life with a bloody “youth novel” rather than an actual novel.
Fig.1. “Youth novel” inscription is mandatory in civilized countries (image: DASHBot)
I mean, if you’re at that stage of your life you might not find characters as flat as they can be and plot unbelievable or plain boring due to the fact that you already experience unrealistically exaggerated upon everything you live. Then this might as well be your thing. But take my word, if you think even a little bit that “no one understands you” or “life is against you”, you’ll be very bloody surprised in the future. If you try and be silent during this time, the times when you’re preparing to sleep but prevented due things you do or say during these years, which may seem reasonable at the moment, will be significantly lower. You can thank me later.
In the section below, there are major spoilers of the plot. It’s your choice to keep reading. If you’re fed up with the amount of free time you have, if you’re not afraid to be bored to a near death experience and plan to read the book, stop here.
In the very beginning we understand two things. First NASA have to send some teenagers to the Moon in accordance with a cleverly devised public relations campaign or get bankrupt; second there’s something on the Moon feeds on teenagers. Fair enough, this may very well be horror more than sci-fi. Teenagers eaten alive one by one seems to be popular issue among horror authors. I have to admit that by the end of the first section, I felt that something’s not right. But this is a horror novel and teenagers were about to be eaten. What sick person would write a horror story for children? You know who. And he bloody knows himself.
After this point we start to know the characters. If you still thinking of reading this thing, you can skip this chapter altogether; because it does not have any effect on the chapter where people dies one by one.
Our first character is from Norway who probably be beaten every day to be thought some manners if by chance born anywhere out of Scandinavia. I don’t want to be misunderstood, I am no way in favor of children disciplined by corporal punishment. I think that after her parents are beaten, she should better be frightened for her own good. Our second character, is a French boy, who is in deep love pain, because he’s French. What else could it be? Nothing. All French people are either making love on top of the Eiffel tower at this very moment or is dumped and living its pain on top of the Eiffel tower at this very moment. These are the two possible states that they can exist. The last character is from Japan and her only problem is being in Japan. I like this character because I interpreted it as the authors criticism against the stance of Japanese government regarding the freedom of movement demanded by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To me, this is the pinnacle of the novel.
Fig.2. It is not that no one understands you; there’s nothing TO understand (image: Pexels)
Of all the teenagers on the Earth, these three, without any consideration whether any of them might be psychopath-sociopath with violent tendencies or have a cardiovascular disease or not have a bone structure suitable for high G-power selected without any substitutes and called to mission headquarters. “These three NASA. Either you shoot these three on the Moon, or seek jobs on Monday as an agency.”
Fig.3. We were counting on them getting eaten; that was the plan all along (image: NASA)
Apart from the teens, there’s an old man at a retirement house who dies before he can interact with the bloody plot. This character probably exists for the young people reading the novel to have a look at their future-selves: Deep in dementia and suffering from amnesia, thinking whose hands that those might be while dripping saliva on them and hallucinating some astronauts devoured by some monster on the Moon some 50 years ago as vividly as possible. This is what being old is. This is what we will all be.
Fig.4. “I’m too bloody old for book. Also, who am I?” (image: Pexels)
Of course apart from these people there are some ready-to-give-up, at the verge of a nervous breakdown, suicidal astronauts who are sworn not to outlive their relatives or themselves. Normal people you’d pick for the job. I mean, what idiot would bloody catapult people with perfect psychological and physiological condition, proper education and iron will in the fuckin’ void. If you have to shoot someone, shoot bloody wankers. The world’s better off with them. If the target audience of the book were a few years younger, there would not be any astronauts at all; there’d probably a can shaped AI would suffice.
Fig.5. Wearing the wrong suite again. Typical for an astronaut (image: Pixabay)
Of course, from the moment our character reach to the bloody Moon, this start to go wrong. These are the enjoyable parts of the novel, in fact I almost liked these parts. It is very satisfactory to see characters who deserve to die one by one, dying one by one. What I mean is, there’s an omnipotent monster on the, some of the astronauts are not even briefed about what’s waiting and they have three children with them. It is miraculous that they’ve gone that far.
Maybe, just maybe, as a race who loves killing each other this much and does kill other species as a sport, trained soldiers, armed with steel piercing bullets, anti-tank grenades and even small tactical thermonuclear bombs that’ll be used just in case would be better. And you know what, the fuckin campaign would have been BY FAR more successful. It is “Humanity versus the universe. Who’ll win, we do not know, but there’s one thing we know, if we lose, we can fuckin’ blast the Earth and the Moon three bloody times to fuckin’ hell over. If it’s not ours, it’ll not be.” I mean, not launching a campaign because you’re too lazy to build a hangar as large as for money you’d get from such a campaign, humanity deserves to be conquered and it does.
Or does it?.. I actually ask this because, due to a clever use of third person singular pronouns, I can’t say I quite understood what happened. My interpretation is, everyone on earth is indeed dead, but people living on Europa survived. Yes, this is what I think.