Lime, Jean-Hugues. Le roi de Clipperton. Paris: Le Cherche Midi, 2002. ISBN 2-86274-947-8.
This fascinating novel, reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, is based on events which actually occurred during the Mexican occupation of Clipperton Island from 1910 through 1917. (After World War I, the island returned to French possession, as it remains today; it has been uninhabited since 1917.) There is one instance of bad astronomy here: in chapter 4, set on the evening of November 30th, 1910, the Moon is described as «…très lumineuse…. On y voyait comme en plein jour.» (“…very luminous;…. One could see like in broad daylight” [my translation]). But on that night, the Moon was not visible at all! Here is the sky above Clipperton at about 21:00 local time courtesy of Your Sky. (Note that in Universal time it's already the morning of December 1st, and that I have supplied the actual latitude of Clipperton, which is shown as one minute of latitude too far North in the map on page 8.) In fact, the Moon was only 17 hours before new as shown by Earth and Moon Viewer, and hence wasn't visible from anywhere on Earth on that night. Special thanks to the person who recommended this book using the recommendation form! This was an excellent read which I'd otherwise never have discovered.

November 2003 Permalink