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Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History Paperback – July 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307741349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307741349
  • ASIN: 0307741346
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2011: In this true story of love and adventure, nothing can stop Thad Roberts from keeping a promise to his girlfriend Rebecca--not even NASA security. When he's in the lab, Roberts is a brilliant NASA co-op intern, but the other interns know him better for devising thrill-seeking activities, like cliff diving and sneaking into the shuttle simulator. When he realizes that scientists consider moon rocks worthless once they’ve been in experiments, Roberts starts to wonder… if they’re worthless, how could stealing them be wrong? Ben Mezrich, author of The Accidental Billionaires (which inspired the movie The Social Network), starts each section with excerpts of Roberts’s love letters to Rebecca from prison, providing a love-drunk context for Roberts’ journey as the moon rock heist balloons from idle fantasy to stark reality. Behind-the-scenes looks at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and thriller-like action that ranges from the U.S. to Belgium make for an enthralling read for anyone who ever dreamed about being an astronaut--or promised to give someone else the moon. --Malissa Kent

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“An out-of-this-world heist.”
USA Today 
 
“Mezrich has uncovered another high-stakes, fascinating true story. . . . Part love story, part madcap caper, part astro-geekery, the book is one of the summer’s most fun reads.”
—NPR 
 
“Movie-worthy treatment to the guy who stole moon rocks from NASA.”
The New York Daily News
 
“Mezrich is a genius at using characters and dialogue. . . to turn nonfiction into something as compelling as any thriller.”
The Chronicle Herald 

“[An] in-depth look at Thad Roberts, who along with three other NASA interns, stole pieces of lunar rock to impress his girlfriend. Mezrich has done extensive research to recreate the story of how an aspiring astronaut ended up getting caught for stealing over 100 pieces of the moon.”
The Atlantic Monthly

“A fast and furious read, powered along by Mezrich’s desire never to take his eyes off the story.”
Chicago Post-Tribune

“Ben Mezrich’s latest straight-to-the-big-screen book. . . . a rollicking summertime page-turner crackling with sex, astronauts, stolen dinosaur bones and international cyber-intrigue.”
The Miami Herald

“A breathless, credulous style. . . . memorable supporting characters. . . . adventure, sex, romance, a hero who is equal parts Clifford Irving from The Hoax, Frank Abagnale from Catch Me If You Can, and George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The Boston Globe

“[A] thrilling account of space rock heist. . . fun, breezy action.”
Tampa Tribune

Eloquent prose and a direct view into the characters’ mind. . . the access to Roberts and re-creation of his motivation and personality are Sex On The Moon’s best qualities.”
The Onion

“[A] fascinating story. . . . has the readability of popular fiction, a ripping story, and great characters. . . . Another winner from an extremely talented writer.”
Booklist, starred review

“Out of this world heist. . . . one of the summer’s most buzzed-about books.”
—CNN.com

“Page-turner. . . . engaging read.”
San Antonio Express-News

“Ben Mezrich, the gonzo-inspired biographer of Ivy League geeks. . . . [brings us a] stranger-than-fiction, true-life thriller of a man who went where no man has gone before. . . . [the] story ticked all the boxes: a charismatic dreamer with a troubled past, a Romeo-and-Juliet love story, a geek-alicious high-tech setting, an ingenious Oceans 11-style heist—and perhaps the most boneheaded mistake any man ever made to impress a girl. Even better, it was a journalist’s Holy Grail: a truly uncovered story.”
BookPage

“Deliciously readable.”
Baltimore Jewish Times

“Ben Mezrich goes to incredible lengths to bring readers a story that is both accurate and spellbinding, honest and riveting.”
Portsmouth Wire

“A pulse-pounding tale.”
Patriot Ledger

“This is the incredible story of a crime truly out of this world, told with verve by Mezrich.”
News of the World

“Compelling.”
Atlanta Jewish Times

“Enthusiastically re-creates this oddball 2002 moon-rock heist.”
Kirkus Reviews
 


More About the Author

Ben Mezrich has authored fifteen books, including the wildly successful Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, which spent sixty-three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and sold over 2 million copies in fifteen languages. His book, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal - debuted at #4 on the New York Times list and spent 18 weeks in hardcover and paperback, as well as hit bestseller lists in over a dozen countries. The book was adapted into the movie The Social Network -written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher - and was #1 at the box office for two weeks, won Golden Globes for best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best score, and was nominated for 8 Oscars, winning 3 including best Adapted Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin. Mezrich and Aaron Sorkin shared a prestigious Scripter Award for best adapted screenplay as well.

Now, in September 2014, Ben Mezrich returns to his fiction roots, blending the meticulous research and razor sharp detail his non-fiction is known for with a breath-taking storyline in: SEVEN WONDERS. Running Press is publishing the exhilarating epic thriller as part of brand new partnership with Hollywood producer and director Brett Ratner and his imprint, RatPac Press. 20th Century Fox has acquired the film rights with Brett Ratner and James Packer's RatPac Entertainment and Beau Flynn to produce for a summer/action film to start shooting shortly.

While writing these true stories, he has been afforded access to worlds seldom talked about. During his research for Bringing Down the House, he taped $250,000 to his body and smuggled it through airport security with some of the most notorious card-counters in the world, getting to taste the lifestyle of the Las Vegas high roller upon arrival. While writing Ugly Americans, he visited exclusive "Japanese Only" underground sex clubs in Tokyo and juggled roadblocks and run-ins against the Japanese mafia.
Now, Mezrich is Hollywood's next big thing. Sex On the Moon, Mezrich's twelfth book, is being developed by the same producers and studio as The Social Network, and is on the fast track to becoming another #1 box office smash. Both of Mezrich's other New York Times bestsellers, Ugly Americans and Rigged, have been optioned for the big screen as well.

Mezrich has appeared often on TV, including a stint on Court TV with a series titled "High Stakes with Ben Mezrich." The show utilized his unique contacts to explore the culture of young, highly educated millionaires and their clandestine hobbies. Mezrich also hosted the "World Series of Blackjack" for GSN and has several scripted and non-scripted TV projects in the works.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to anybody who enjoys reading non-fiction that reads like a novel.
Spellbound
Ben Mezrich tries really, really, really hard to make the most out of this story, and its main character.
C.C. Arranda
I really really like Ben's work and have read almost all of his books, but this is just terrible.
A. Kaye

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Gary Schroeder on July 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a manuscript for a movie. In recent interviews Ben Mezrich has been very open about that. He writes books from the very beginning in the hopes that they will be optioned for movies. And it shows.

Mezrich, author of "The Accidental Billionaires," the book upon which the Facebook movie "The Social Network" was based, went in search of his next great true-story thriller. What he settled on was the tale of Thad Roberts, a student enrolled in NASA's Cooperative Education Program who turned thief and decided to steal moon rocks and sell them online for easy cash. The story behind "Sex on the Moon" (itself an awful title) is hyberbolically subtitled "the Most Audacious Heist in History." Roberts' theft is by no means entitled to such an exciting description. The heist itself was fairly uncomplicated and involved nothing more than a clever use of chemical dust to break an electronic combination lock and some elbow grease to drag a safe out of a room and into a car. The only thing remotely remarkable about the theft is that actual moon rocks are involved. Had Roberts stolen terrestrial gem stones, he would have warranted nothing more than a mention in the local news paper police blotter. Mezrich has to work hard -- very hard -- to fill this thin conceit with enough volume to fill a book.

And then there's the writing. Which is awful. This is some of the most hackneyed, rigid, trite prose I've ever read. Some examples: "she had given him her number. It had been like rocket fuel in his bathing-suit all the way home" or "sooner or later, the truth would be as clear as the tattoo on her thigh" or "Thad only knew for sure what he was feeling. Which was beyond anything he could remember feeling before" or "suddenly, reality hit him like a Saturn V rocket to the face." Ugh.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Michele Kingery on November 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
And Thad Roberts really needed one. He is one of those poor slobs for whom the magnetic pull of self-destruction is as irresistible as a Siren's song. (Darwin would have had a field day with that.). At least Odysseus had the smarts to order his sailors to lash him to the mast and stuff wax in their ears. Roberts wasn't nearly as prudent, though he was certainly smart.

Booted from the family fold for the unforgivable sin of engaging in pre-marital sex, Roberts claws his way up from the depths of despair to earn a prestigious internship at NASA only to blow it trying to pull off one of the most cockamamie scams in modern history; stealing moon rocks.

Really?

That Roberts even got to NASA in the first place was something of a miracle. How a broke, disenfranchised kid managed to rack up the pre-recs for a shot at the big time is one question I still had at the end of the book. Roberts takes courses in physics, geology, anthropology, Russian and Japanese. He obtains a pilot's license. He learns to scuba dive. He completes a charity bike ride for cystic fibrosis and raises $10,000. That accomplishment seems to be what cinches his entry into the Johnson Space Center at Houston, where he spends three semesters glad-handing his fellow interns and trolling in and out of various labs and simulators with the James Bond theme song playing in his head.

Ego issues? Possibly.

Roberts also has a wife back in Utah. Something he doesn't hide, but doesn't exactly advertise. It wouldn't mesh with the ultra-cool, geek-meets-Mission Impossible persona he's created, the same persona that attempts a ridiculous, bumbling moon rock heist that ultimately does earn him a dope slap from the universe in the form of an eight year prison sentence.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By C. Callahan on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
An inside look at NASA, stolen moon rocks, an international team working to recover the goods, sex, interns, prison....how did this story turn out to be boring? Whatever the reason, boring is how it turned out.

Maybe there just wasn't enough material to fill a book about this case. Plus, in spite of his desire to make himself into a larger-than-life character, Thad really isn't one. Instead he's more of a pathetic loser who throws away everything he worked for and disappoints so many people in an attempt to re-make himself.

Dull, slow, only occasionally interesting, and the only characters you really care for get treated badly.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on August 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This latest Mezrich book is a 308-page 'con-job' - the entire story can be, and should have been, told in one paragraph. Thad Roberts is an aspiring NASA astronaut with weak ethics. While at the University of Utah UofU) he steals some rocks, then gets accepted as a student researcher at NASA's Johnson Space Center where his marriage falls apart, he becomes enamored with two new lovelies and gets them to help him steal a 600+ lb. safe containing moon rocks being studied by his mentor, Dr. Robert Gibson. Predictably he's caught trying to sell the loot, loses his girlfriends (they're sentenced to probation), he does 8 1/2 years, and then receives a cool reception from the UofU upon asking to return and complete his studies.

The outcome is as predictable as tomorrow's sunrise, given that NASA is the only legitimate source of moon rocks and NASA doesn't sell or give them away. The outcome is even more predictable when Thad tries drumming up interest in his ill-gotten loot by emailing a reputable rock collector in Belgium who promptly notifies the FBI. All the rocks are recovered, though Roberts' mentor loses some 30 years of research notes. Dr. Gibson emerges as the second of the story's two 'stars,' showing his and NASA's gratitude for the Belgian rock collector's assistance by traveling to one of their club meetings and giving an expert presentation on moon rocks.

Final Score: Mezrich - 0, Roberts - 0, Dr. Gibson + 1, and the Belgian rock collector + 1.
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