I know that a Czech author J.M.Troska had a character write PAX on the Moon with a death ray in his book Captain Nemo I. Nemo's empire (1939). I only know about these books because I got my hands on my dad's old Sci-Fi books so I consider him pretty obscure. But recently somebody mentioned this trope on a predominantly English forum. So I have two questions:

  1. Did Troska create this trope or did he copy it from somewhere?

  2. What is considered the best know use of this trope in the genre?

Edit: To clarify the trope, it could be PAX in any language.

  • 2
    The trope is not just writing something on the Moon, but writing the specific Latin word PAX on the Moon, right?
    – user14111
    Apr 19 '18 at 7:51
  • 1
    English only ? books only ? Because it is used in the french Bande Dessinée (comics) Spirou et Fantasio 'Z comme zorglub'( 1959).
    – dna
    Apr 19 '18 at 8:19
  • 1
    The first question is fine, but the second question is much too broad. It could result in an endless list of books by English authors about characters writing PAX on the Moon with their death rays.
    – user14111
    Apr 19 '18 at 8:32
  • @user14111 it's just a yes/no question. "Is this trope used?" "Yes here are a couple examples". Not too broad at all.
    – Edlothiad
    Apr 19 '18 at 9:09
  • Could you please define the "trope" you are asking about? Does the word written on the moon have to be precisely the Latin PAX, or can it be the equivalent in some other language, such as the Spanish PAZ or Hungarian BÉKE, etc.?
    – user14111
    Apr 19 '18 at 9:57

You say you found a mention of this trope in an English language forum. Perhps you might want to provide a link to the discussion and/or more information about what was said there.

TV Tropes "Deface of the Moon" lists many recent examples of writing or drawing on the Moon that is visible from Earth.

I find no examples of writing the word "Pax" listed. But other words and symbols are written in various stories.

The earliest examples they list are Arthur C. Clarke's "Watch This Space", first published in the London Evening Standard 28 May 1956.


And Robert A. Heinlein's "The Man Who Sold the Moon", first published in The Man Who Sold the Moon 1950.


So far as I can discover Troska was the only writer to have "Pax" written on the Moon, and the first to have anything written on the Moon. However, science fiction began before 1900, and pulp science magazines started in 1926, 13 years before Troska's novel, so there could be earlier examples.


A solid example of graffiti-tagging the Moon comes from the original "Tick" comic (issue #4, ~1990). Not only a solid example that occurs as the perfidious villain Chairface Chippendale attempts the most narcissistic gesture ever, but, for many, possibly the most well-known.

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