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First Look at New YA Sci-Fi Horror Novel '172 Hours on The Moon' (Exclusive)

THR presents the first chapter in the story of a multinational teen trio who win a NASA lottery to go to the moon only to encounter unexpected horrors on their arrival.

172 Hours On The Moon Book Cover - P 2012

Publisher Little, Brown is hoping for big things with its new YA sci-fi thriller 172 Hours on the Moon and The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive sneak peak of chapter one in advance of the book's arrival in stores on April 17.

The plot centers on a mission to the moon a few years in the future:

In 2018, as the fiftieth anniversary of the original moon landing approaches, the United Sates decides to return to the moon. To generate publicity for the effort, NASA holds a worldwide lottery to choose three teenagers for the trip. The winners are Mia, a Norwegian girl hoping to gain attention for her punk band, Midori, a Japanese girl looking to escape her country's restrictive culture, and Antoine, a French boy trying to forget the ex-girlfriend who broke his heart. 

After rigorous training, the group departs for the moon, where they intend to spend a week (hence the title 172 Hours) at a secret lab which NASA established in the 1970s and subsequently abandoned. But as soon as they land, things go terribly wrong; the three of them encounter terrifying things on the moon, accidents happen, and someone -- or something -- appears to be stalking them jeopardizing the possibility that they'll make it home alive, much less safely.

172 Hours is a thrilling read that deftly mixes horror and sci-fi in the tradition of the best space-based horror movies of the '70s and '80s. The story builds tension effectively to a twisty, surprising conclusion. The three main characters are well-developed and believable; the international ensemble gives the book a welcome breath of diversity that sets it apart from other entries in this genre. 172 Hours is a thrilling and original addition to the crowded shelves of YA books.

The novel was originally published in Norway in 2008, where it won the Brage Prize for Children's Literature, the country’s top literary prize. It is the first YA novel by Johan Harstad, whose only other book published in the U.S. was 2011's Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All The Confusion?

Little, Brown is making a big push with 172 Hours, releasing a series of well-crafted videos that do a great job teasing the story.  Earlier ones featured a pre-launch news conference and video diaries. This final video, which is exclusive to THR, is a transmission from the moon by the teens and things are not looking good. 


The movie rights to the book are still available, but 172 Hours' possesses a cinematic quality that would be well-suited to a big-screen adaptation.

In advance of the book's debut, read THR's exclusive look at the first chapter.

From the book 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad. Copyright © 2012 by Johan Harstad. Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY.  All rights reserved.



“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Mia Nomeland said, giving her parents an unenthusiastic look. “No way.”

“But Mia, honey. It’s an amazing opportunity, don’t you think?”

Her parents were sitting side by side on the sofa, as if glued together, with the ad they had clipped out of the newspaper lying on the coffee table in front of them. Every last corner of the world had already had a chance to see some version of it. The campaign had been running for weeks on TV, the radio, the Internet, and in the papers, and the name NASA was on its way to becoming as well known around the globe as Coca-Cola or McDonald’s.

“An opportunity for what? To make a fool of myself?”

“Won’t you even consider it?” her mother tried. “The deadline isn’t for a month, you know.”

“No! I don’t want to consider it. There’s nothing for me to do up there. There’s something for me to do absolutely everywhere except on the moon.”

“If it were me, I would have applied on the spot,” her mother said.

“Well, I’m sure my friends and I are all very glad that you’re not me.”


“Fine, sorry. It’s just that I . . . I don’t care. Is that so hard for you to understand? You guys are always telling me that the world is full of opportunities and that you have to choose some and let others pass you by. And that there are enough opportunities to last a lifetime and then some. Right, Dad?”

Her dad mumbled some sort of response and looked the other way.

Her mother sighed. “I’ll leave the ad over here on the piano for a while, in case you change your mind.”

It’s always like this, Mia thought, leaving the living room. They’re not listening. They’re just waiting for me to finish talking.