Tom Dyne,

Secret Frontier

Review posted to NetGalley, February 1, 2020

Speculative fiction

A revenge plot played out at a top-secret lunar colony.

Tom Dyne’s novel is a conspiracy theorist’s dream: body snatchers and simulacra, a unified world government funding black budget projects, a secret facility and defense forces combating aliens, gadgets reverse-engineered from alien tech, a coverup about what really happened during the Apollo moon landing, space pirates, and propaganda about settling Mars. Earth in this alternate reality seems to have missed out on global warming and nuclear armageddon but of course has suffered from military adventurism.


Details from our own society seem to have been carried forward in time, perhaps to make the story more accessible to readers new to science fiction. There is a colony on the moon, its population maintained by people who won’t be missed (reminiscent of Australia’s original days as a penal colony). This lunar colony has full-grown oak and pine trees, presumably the source of butcher paper and shoeboxes. Asphalt exists along with hovercraft, shotgun slugs along with beam weapons, chain-smokers and DNA manipulation, baggage claim at the spaceport. In the mix of old and new, a few creative concepts shine through, such as the Still Light Exhibition and amber resin.


Dyne offers up cautions about the dangers of sectionalism, elitism, and factionalism, along with plenty of examples of bad behavior. Though the lunar colony is made out to be a sort of utopia providing the freedoms of the frontier, the humans who populate and govern it are as self-centered and greedy as those who kept Earth in a perpetual state of warfare. Along the way, readers will discover a revenge plot, a love story, and plenty of adventure.