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"Inconstant Moon" is an episode of the US television series The Outer Limits. It first aired on 12 April 1996, during the second season. It was written by Brad Wright, based on the short story of the same name by Larry Niven.

Contents

  • 1 Opening narration
  • 2 Plot
  • 3 Closing narration
  • 4 Cast

Opening narration

“Moonlight can drive man to madness and lovers to swoon, but this night, for one last and glorious moment, it shines bright as a grim harbinger of dawn.”

Plot

The episode follows, roughly, the plot of the original story from which the episode is adapted. A physics professor spots that the Moon is extremely bright. He realises that the Sun must have gone nova and the side of the Earth in daylight must be suffering extreme heat — and that he has only a few hours left to live. He speaks to another academic and decides that it would be better if people did not know what had happened.

He contacts a woman whom he had been in love with and invites her to go for a walk with him; a love story ensues where he and the woman marry on what they assume is their last night on Earth. He is forced to admit what is going on to the woman, who is initially extremely disconcerted and distrustful of his intentions, although he defers these misgivings by repeatedly professing his love.

When they go to her apartment to share a final meal, he begins to suspect that the Earth is merely being hit by an extreme solar flare, and he begins to plan for an extended period of survival, despite his new wife's reluctance to accept possibly false hope. He turns out to be correct, and the professor and his wife are one of the few left alive despite extreme flooding, although the story is ambiguous as to the scale of the disaster.

Closing narration

“Perhaps, how we face death is not as important as how we face life. To live each day with hope, with courage and with love... as if it were our last.”

Cast

Michael Gross as Professor Stan Hurst, Joanna Gleason as Leslie, Scott Swanson as Silver Haired Man, William deVry as Bartender

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