How much were can a werewolf wear if a werewolf could wear wolf?

The headline was inspired by a blog post and question from author Charles Stross, who poses a couple of intriguing questions.

SERIOUS QUESTION for space geeks:

The flight of Apollo 11. Postulate that Mike Collins is a werewolf. At what point during trans-Lunar injection does he go furry? And how many times during the mission profile is he forced to shapeshift by the light of the full Moon?


A full Moon must subtend an angle of at least 0.5 degrees to trigger shapeshifting in werewolves. A werewolf is aboard a spaceship bound for Ganymede, largest moon of Jupiter. In low Ganymede orbit, how many Jovian moons trigger shapeshifting?


  • Werewolves are real.
  • Shapeshifting is not triggered by direct exposure to the light of the full Moon, but by the existence of a full, uneclipsed Moon in the sky (otherwise werewolves could just hole up indoors to avoid furry hijinks).
  • Werewolves shapeshift involuntarily in an arbitrary short period of time (WARNING: any discussion of relativitic effects or the use of werewolves as an FTL signaling mechanism will be firmly discouraged).

There’s more at the link, including more assumptions.  (The responses from his readers are worth reading, too.  Some of them are giggleworthy.)

Okay, space travel, science fiction and fantasy geeks, here’s your chance.  Have at Mr. Stross’ questions in Comments (but please check his other assumptions first).  Let’s see if we can come up with something special!



  1. When he's at the moon, isn't earth now "the moon" from his perspective? So maybe he shifts when there is a full earth in the sky.

  2. I've been reading Charlie since the days of Usenet and alt.peeves. I have several of his books. I didn't realize he had an active blog until you posted this, so I went over there and looked around and found a wretched hive of leftist scum and villainy. My blood pressure doesn't need the aggravation of it.

  3. Nate Winchester:

    One of the assumptions is that the moon must be a primary moon. So a moon in orbit around a planet, not a planet orbiting the sun, or a moon-moon.

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