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JOHN RANKINE
Space 1999: Moon Odyssey


click to enlarge

(Orbit, London, 1975)
price: 35p; 144 pages


copy available to buy

The blurb on the backs:

Blasted out of orbit by erupting atomic waste pits, the Moon and its captive Earthmen on Alpha Base hurtle into deep space, all contact with Earth lost.
Suddenly, as they plunge into uncharted galaxies, the Alphans are attacked by an alien force on the run from its own planet. At first, the renegades demand only refuge from their pursuers but after a new-born baby is mutated and its mother killed, Alpha's Commander John Koenig realises the invaders are not merely commandeering the base, but also their bodies...


opening lines:
Commander John Koenig stood looking out of the window of his executive suite and reckoned irritably that the fever which was affecting all personnel on Moon Base Alpha had finally gotten round to him.


I know that Gerry Anderson's live action series Space 1999 still has many devotees, but I have to say, it's not really out of the top drawer. The set-up - that the Moon is flung through a black hole and wanders the Universe - is kinda dumb, and the acting and plotting was really very poor. I guess there's a nostalgia value, but in real terms, why bother with this when Voyager did exactly the same thing much better? (And even then that was the weakest of the Star Trek franchises).

Anyway, we're here to talk about the book, and I'm afraid I can't think of anything nice to say about it. Even if you did get into the series, you could at least claim that there wasn't much competition at the time for SF entertainment on TV in 1975-77. When it came to books, on the other hand, you were spoilt for choice. So why bother with a novel that was simply fifth-rate SF? It's a waste of your time. Even if it were written beautifully (and, er, it's not), it's still saddled with the ropey premise - you can't get rid of that. The only point is that it looks rather attractive and will remind you of your childhood. A rather fetching pink background as well.

Just for the record, Mr Rankine also wrote two other novels in the series: Space 1999 and Breakaway: this is the second in the series. The biography in the front tells us that he 'is married with four children and lives in Wallasey, Cheshire, where he is a headmaster.'


ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


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