A piece of classic SF with an intriguing premise that explores some of my favourite themes but for me seemed to lack focus and was distracted by pointless character interactions and conversations.
Many a time I've pondered what really happens to you
if you were teleported from one location to another, the original you destroyed but your exact molecular structure accurately recreated in the target location. How would you really know you were still who you were before after the event? All you would have are your memories which might have been changed in subtle ways not objectively verifiable to anyone else. What about if more than one copy of you was recreated, which is the real you and which should go back to living your life afterwards.
These questions (and more) are at the centre of this book in a story set in 1960 in which although we haven't yet managed to fly people to the moon, we are able to teleport there. A strange artefact is discovered on the dark side of the moon that kills all who enter it if they breach a seemly pointless set of rules that they can only discover by trial and error. Ed Hawks, who's heading this exploration of the artefact, has come up with a mind blowing way of keeping people alive when they enter it, if only he can find someone who can keep their sanity after experiencing their own death...
My main problem with this book is there were pointless digressions as superfluous characters were introduced leading to many pointless conversations that did little or nothing to move the plot along or develop the characters that were central to the story. Often these conversations were hard to follow which didn't help. These formed such a large portion of the book that it has to bring down my rating of an otherwise fine story.
To sum up, a great story that was significantly flawed.