I am pretty sure this story dates from the 1940's or 1950's. The first lunar expedition orbits the moon and discovers it is only a façade made of wood and canvas.

  • I haven't read it yet but I can't believe there are two SF stories with the same punchline. Thanks for your help. Commented May 28, 2016 at 3:18
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    – Otis
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


Thanks to the unique image, this is likely to be the short story "Ideas Die Hard" by Isaac Asimov, originally published in the October 1957 issue of Galaxy. The store may be read online in its entirety thanks to archive.org.

It has also previously been asked about and answered here, in the question:

Help identify the title of a story about the back side of moon being missing

The unaccepted answer (by user John Rennie) to that question contains the relevant quote from the passage you recall:

But Oldbury still looked at the Moon. It was terribly close and now the surface was moving quickly. They were starting the swing in earnest and Oldbury’s scream was high-pitched. “Look! Lookathat!” His pointing finger was stiff with terror.


“You saw it. You saw the hidden side of the Moon as we went past and you saw there wasn’t any! Good Lord, just sticks, just big beams holding up six million square miles of canvas. I swear it, canvas!”

  • John Rennie's answer was unofficially accepted by the OP in a comment which was posted as an answer and deleted by a moderator: "thank you so much for pointing out the title of the story and the author. I just read it and contrary to Isaac Asimov's introduction I think it's still a pretty good story. [. . .]"
    – user14111
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 0:02

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