An international agency, COSMOS, is in charge of space exploration in the not very distant future. Odd forms of life have been discovered on Mars, Venus, and Jupiter; there may be a life form on Mercury; and finally something utterly mystifying is discovered on the moon. Three astronauts land and examine an installation that all three perceive as radically different - one sees a heap of gold, one a fort bristling with guns, one a space platform and space craft. They return to Earth with some crystals picked up at the mystery site.
All three soon produce children - the moon children, gifted, precocious, and seemingly damned by the crystals their fathers had handled. Two are eerily beautiful, the third a grotesque monster. And the three soon discover that they are Earth's hope for survival, as interplanetary invasion brings overwhelming alien forces to bear on mankind.
Jack Williamson (1908 - 2006)
John Stewart 'Jack' Williamson was born in Arizona in 1908 and raised in an isolated New Mexico farmstead. After the Second World War, he acquired degrees in English at the Eastern New Mexico University, joining the faculty there in 1960 and remaining affiliated with the school for the rest of his life. Williamson sold his first story at the age of 20 - the beginning of a long, productive and successful career, which started in the pulps, took in the Golden Age and extended right into his nineties. He was the second author, after Robert A. Heinlein, to be named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by SFWA, and by far the oldest recipient of the Hugo (2001, aged 93) and Nebula (2002, aged 94) awards. A significant voice in SF for over six decades, Jack Williamson is credited with inventing the terms 'terraforming' and 'genetic engineering'. He died in 2006.