Stephen Baxter established himself as a major British sci-fi author with tales of exotic, far-future technology. More recently, in Voyage, Titan and now Moonseed, he shows his love for the hardware of the real world s space programme. (Comparisons with Tom Wolfe s The Right Stuff have been frequent.) Moonseed is a spectacular disaster novel whose threat to Earth comes from a long-forgotten Moon rock sample carrying strange silver dust that seems to be alien nanotechnologyљ molecule-sized machines. Accidentally spilt in Edinburgh, this Moonseed quietly devours stone and processes it into more Moonseed. Geology becomes high drama: when ancient mountains turn to dust, the lid is taken off seething magma below. Volcanoes return to Scotland, and Krakatoa-like eruptions spread Moonseed around the world. A desperate, improvised US|Russian space mission heads for the Moon to probe the secret of how our satellite has survived uneaten. Baxter convincingly shows how travel costs could be cut, with a hair-raising descent on a shoestring lunar lander that makes Apollo s look like a luxury craft. The climax brings literally world-shaking revelations and upheavals. Moonseed is a ripping interplanetary yarn.