The Tomorrow People
The blurb on the backs:
Four Into Three
For those who don't remember, The Tomorrow People was a kids TV series that ran between 1973 and 1979 (revived in the early-'90s to less effect) and was intended as a kind of ITV rival to Dr Who. Created by Roger Price, it effectively brought to the small screen Bowie's sci-fi ruminations on the generation gap in 'Oh You Pretty Things': 'All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay ... you gotta make way for the Homo Superior'.
In this instance the homo superiors were a group of adolescents who suddenly realized they had psychic powers and the ability to teleport themselves (or jaunt, as they liked to call it). At the beginning there are only four of them, but they know there are going to be more, because they've been told what's happening:
Sounds like a good idea to me. Especially when it's combined with (a) a super-computer in their headquarters, located in a disused section of the London underground, and (b) a healthily dismissive attitude towards the Saps (homo sapiens to you, sunshine). All of which, of course, is a perfect wish-fulfilment angle to pitch at kids. Which is why we loved it.
The Visitor was the first spin-off novel and, while it's not exactly bold in its conception, it's a brief and efficient piece of writing, and the pitting of the four kids against the full force of governmental, quasi-governmental and military power structures is kinda cool. By the time of Four Into Three, the third volume in the series, actors Steve Salmon and Sammie Winmill had been replaced by Elizabeth Adare and Dean Lawrence, and we seem to have lost co-author Julian R Gregory somewhere along the way as well. The book comprises three short stories and is actually better than the first one. The writing seems aimed at a slightly older readership, and the need for initial exposition having disappeared, we get more narrative for our our money. Nice knitwear on the cover, as well.
And then, joy of joys, here came another Tomorrow Person: Mike Holloway, drummer with failed teen band Flintlock. (I'll share my Flintlock album collection with you sometime.) Apart from the fact that Mike Holloway was a great addition, it also indicated why the series was such a sharp piece of structure - they could just keep adding characters whenever they wished. And it's another perfectly decent bit of kids' adventure fiction.
In short, these books are better than they have any right to be.
Steve Salmon, Peter Vaughan Clarke,
Nick Young, Sammie Winmill
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 3/5
the Look-In comic strip:
visit a very fine Tomorrow People site