Welcome to Luna 15

Read the Novel Everyone's Talking About!

Red Moon

2019: The Sea of Crisis --

A Soviet spacecraft found after half a century holds the darkest secret of the Moon Race.

And the hope of all humanity.

"A Cracker! Red Moon is one of those books that you simply can't put down - and at over 400 pages it is a fair read. Seamlessly weaving fact and fiction, it is an enthralling case of what - literally - might have been."

-- David Harland, author of The Apollo Expeditions and Jupiter Odyssey

We Invite You to Discover Red Moon.


Welcome, and thank you for visiting.

Luna 15 is the cyberspace home of the collaborative work of author David S. Michaels and me, longtime friend and co-author Daniel Brenton. We are extremely pleased to announce our first release, Red Moon, presented by the cutting edge publisher Breakneck Books.

Here, you can get to know Dave Michaels and me through our bio pages, learn more about our past and present projects, and keep apprised of the latest developments through the Luna 15 Weblog, just below.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send a message to us through our Contact page.

Enjoy your visit.

-- Daniel

The Luna 15 Weblog Border

Is There a Mars in Your Future?

March 10th, 2013 by Daniel Brenton


    Two brave Americans may get the opportunity soon to be the first to attempt a piloted flyby of the planet Mars. Would you go?

You’ve almost certainly heard about this around the same time I did, but it took a few days — and a brief comment from a friend — for it to really register with me:

Dennis Tito, the millionaire who made history in 2001 by becoming the world’s first space tourist by spending eight days on the International Space Station, has announced a project that he feels will capture the imagination of the world, and re-ignite America’s pioneering spirit. The venture is to send “[t]wo professional crew members – one man, one woman” on a 501 day flight to within a scant 100 miles of the planet Mars.

In the press release from his Inspiration Mars Foundation, Tito is quoted:

“Human exploration of space is a critical catalyst for our future growth and prosperity,” [Tito] added. “This is ‘A Mission for America’ that will generate knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It will encourage and embolden all Americans to believe, again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, and inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue their destiny through STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education.”

Audacious? Damned straight it’s audacious!

Inspiration Mars

Image courtesy Inspiration Mars Foundation

Though officially still looking at options for the technology, a study was conducted utilizing a SpaceX Falcon series rocket and one or more uprated SpaceX Dragon capsules. (The technical but relatively short “Feasibility Analysis for a Manned Mars Free-Return Mission in 2018″ [PDF link] is available from the foundation’s site).

The ideal crew, according to Taber MacCallum, member of Tito’s development team, would be a married couple past childbearing years (due to the risk of exposure to unhealthy levels of solar radiation), in excellent health, and with a high degree of technical aptitude in order to handle repairs.

Being aware of all this, it still hadn’t become real to me until I learned my co-author of Red Moon David S. Michaels (well, all right, I’m his co-author) told me that he wanted to apply for the trip, but his wife has an issue with motion sickness that precluded her even thinking about it.

The very idea of going to Mars (or really, “circum-areion space,” but still, close enough to practically touch it), is a dream that for well over a decade I held very, very dear.

Mars — an Adolescent Romance

International Space Station
Percival Lowell’s Map of Mars, 1895 (Click for full size)

The Mars of my childhood was a romanticized Mars, a Mars popularized by turn of the century astronomer Percival Lowell. Lowell became an ardent proponent of the idea that a Martian feature observed by some astronomers of the time, the “canals” of Mars, was evidence of intelligence life, in the form of a vast network of irrigation canals, which one could easily imagine having been engineered to sustain a desert world. Though the existence of these features was disputed even at the time and eventually fell out of favor in the astronomical community, the damage had been done. Popular culture was infected with a fascination with Mars as an apparent abode of intelligent life well into the 20th Century.

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Red Moon – What’s My Favorite Line?

February 7th, 2010 by Daniel Brenton

Red Moon's New Cover

The new cover for
Red Moon

    Over the last few months, Variance Publishing has hosted on their blog a number of posts featuring their offerings and commentary by their authors, and they graciously invited me to contribute. Stanley Tremblay of Variance gave me permission to repost these here, and today’s post is the last of the three I contributed.

    This is my response to the question posed to all the Variance authors about their novels: what’s your favorite line?



What’s My Favorite Line? RED MOON

Welcome back, fans, to another Thursday edition of ‘Favorite Line’. This week’s guest is Daniel Brenton, co-author of RED MOON. Let’s let Dan do the talking…

When Stanley presented his latest idea for the Variance authors to give a little inside look at their work by asking “what is the favorite line in your novel?” … I knew I was in trouble.


I, as Desi would tell Lucy, “got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

Red Moon, the novel I wrote with David S. Michaels (or, more correctly, where I played co-pilot while he did a marathon multi-month session putting the manuscript together, skillfully weaving in a number of chapters toward the end from yours truly) has a lot of lines I consider really good ones. Being human and having an ego, I confess I gravitate toward the ones I wrote.

I can’t tell you the first line I picked because that would ruin the ending of the book.

And I can’t tell you the second, because I’d have to explain it, and the simple act of explaining that one would be a pretty big spoiler.

So here’s my third favorite line, the first sentence of Chapter 52:

You are leaving the Earth.

Innocuous words in and of themselves, but in context, they bring this sequence of the narrative into sharp focus.

The story at this point has brought cosmonaut Grigor Belinsky, the only Soviet cosmonaut to attempt to reach the Moon, to the morning before his lift-off in an untried, hybrid Moon lander.

Belinsky, blackmailed into this enormously risky mission, wrestles with himself during these last few hours before the launch to do … what he knows he has no choice but to do.

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Red Moon – Author on Author

January 24th, 2010 by Daniel Brenton

Red Moon's New Cover

The new cover for
Red Moon

    Over the last few months, Variance Publishing has hosted on their blog a number of posts featuring their offerings and commentary by their authors, and they graciously invited me to contribute. Stanley Tremblay of Variance gave me permission to repost these here, and today’s post is the second of the three I contributed, an interview by Craig Alexander, author of The Nineveh Project, with yours truly.

Author on Author – Craig Alexander on Daniel Brenton

Here it is fans, the last week of “Author on Author.” I know, a round of awwws followed by boos and hisses. Don’t worry, another fun author-involved project will be coming your way soon, but let’s not detract from our project at hand where Craig Alexander pokes and prods into Daniel Brenton’s thoughts, life, and career.

Craig Alexander: Some of my favorite novels, like Red Moon, are collaborations. I’ve always wanted to know how that works. Can you give us any insight into the collaboration process?

Daniel Brenton: Craig, thank you for the kind words regarding Red Moon. I don’t think my experience is representative of all collaborations, of course, but I can certainly share it.

There was a long process with Red Moon. The first spark was in fact was a short story I wrote in junior high (and long since lost … probably for the best). In the early 1990s the memory of this story sparked in Dave the idea of a writing a screenplay, in part motivated by the success by the then-recent film Apollo 13. For those not familiar with Red Moon, a portion of the novel is set in 1968-1969 on the Russian side of the Moon race, and follows the story of Grigor Belinsky, the only Soviet cosmonaut to (secretly) make it to the Moon.

Dave and I wrote a screen treatment which, unfortunately, went nowhere. The best input he received on it was that, with the ’60s and the Cold War so far behind us, no one would care about Belinsky and his journey.

Dave didn’t want to give up on the story, and he revisited the idea after about a year with the intent of making it a novel, and devised two storylines set in 2019, involving a “return to the Moon” mission and the international intrigue behind it

So, to answer your question, mostly due to my circumstances I took a back seat to the effort. I did actually write about 20,000 words to the novel, of about 12,000 actually wound up in it, smoothed over a little to better fit with Dave’s style. (If you’ve read the story, my chapters follow Belinsky through his lift-off, his flight to the Moon, and his long vigil there.) Beyond this, I helped develop the character of Mirya, Belinksy’s dissident wife, focusing on her religious and “mystical” side: I hit upon the idea of her experiencing an apparition of (what is now) the Russian Orthodox Saint, Xenia of St. Petersburg, an event that colors much of the 1960s narrative.

From my experience, our collaboration — which I certainly consider successful — was based on an agreement on who has final say on the vision of the book. Dave did, and I accepted that, partly because he had in fact picked up the ball and run with it, and partly because I trusted his instincts. I have a hard time picturing an effort to write a novel using a different paradigm.

CA: What’s next? Can we expect any more great reads from you in the future?

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