Looking for the name of a book I read about .. oh, must've been 25-30 years ago or so. Would be fun to find the name, and re-read it to see if I still think it is good (I liked it a lot back when). What I remember of the plot is basically:

The main protagonists are a scientist and his wife, having a bit of turbulence in their marriage, mostly due to them both (or if it was only one of them) focusing most of their time on their scientific work. The lab they work in is receiving samples of lunar dust, and one of the lab techs is fired (or maybe just chewed out for being sloppy and lazy) and he crushes one of the sample tubes (by accident, or as some sort of vengeance I do not recall).

In the sample is some silicon based life form that infects the lab tech, a life form that eats certain minerals present in the human skeleton, so they basically eat the bones of the infected.

Great calamity breaks out, the scientists races to find a solution before everything is too late.

The protagonist finds a solution (think using sound, but I am not sure. Vague memory that they tried to burn it first, but that it did not have an effect, or even boosted the organism), eventually but is horribly injured in the process losing an arm, and his memory.

Sounds a bit cheesy, but I would love to find out the name if anyone knows.

  • goodreads.com/book/show/59127037-riebeckite is probably too recent, and doesn't match on some other points, but it does involve moon dust that eats people...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 28, 2022 at 12:31
  • Unfortunately you are correct. One of the details I do remember well is that the organism escaped from a sample taken from the moon. Jul 28, 2022 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


I actually am now thinking that it may be Moonseed by Stephen Baxter. As per this review:

Front cover of Moonseed

A tiny handful of dust from a sample of moon rock brought back by the NASA astronauts is dropped on Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh which sets off a catastrophic series of events on Earth as it interacts with the aged volcanic rocks forming the Seat. Edinburgh itself is totally destroyed an the volcanic activity started there spreads world wide. The narrative follows three main characters, Henry Meacher, a geologist, his divorced wife Geena and her new boy friend, Arkady, both astronauts. There are a host of minor characters from a female Edinburgh police constable to an Irishman turned Japanese monk. Many of these characters come to a sticky end as the eruptions turn into an extinction event.

The inciting incident is not a crushed tube, but rather Mike, a lab technician, trying to impress his sister, Jane, with a tube of smuggled moon dust from the lab he works in. After he pours the dust onto her hand, she shakes a few clinging particles off, where they contact the ground. Later, some of the characters discuss the effects of the dust being nanotech, although the possibility is dismissed.

I also haven't found anything where the dust eats away at bones, although it's implied that Jane's cancer, which kills her, stems from the dust.

  • FWIW I have a soft spot for this book as I live in Edinburgh and can see Arthur's Seat from my window. In fact my house is one of the first to be destroyed when it erupts!
    – GordonD
    Jul 28, 2022 at 16:30
  • Doesn't feel right, but since I kinda liked Baxter and have missed this book, I will put it up on my "To Read"-list and say thank you for the suggestion. Jul 28, 2022 at 19:37
  • @StefanLindström: FWIW, you can check it out from the Internet Archive at archive.org/details/moonseed00baxt
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 28, 2022 at 19:39
  • Thanks! Will do. Jul 28, 2022 at 20:25
  • @StefanLindström Any luck verifying it?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 8, 2022 at 0:36

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