Monday 27 July 2009

Spaceship to Saturn by Hugh Walters

Review #9 looking back at the old and largely forgotten science-fiction series Chris Godfrey of UNEXA.

The introduction to the team of a girl in the previous book was a resounding success in proving that being emotional and weepy has a place in space. So Gail gets to go on the next mission, Spaceship to Saturn (pub 1967), so she can make the tea while admiring the blokes and their vast knowledge of technical matters that are too complex for girls to understand.

Apparently, Saturn's orbit is so clogged up with debris that even ace space hero Chris can’t fly the ship around it and it needs a new-fangled thing called a computer to do it for him. With this computer thingy being about the size of Ireland, the computer has to stay on earth and the signals to move the ship must be sent over the radio. But with the radiation around Saturn and the Martian's going 'Whoo-oo' on the radio it needs a clever solution. Telepathy is again the only answer. It worked over fifty million miles so it'll work over a billion, scientists decide.

So plucky honorary bloke Gail blasts off with the chaps on what turns out to be a very dull mission. They hurtle around seeing the sights, taking some snap-shots, and making notes of interesting moons and stuff. Then they whizz through the Cassini division and come home in time for tea and the results of the test match.

This book suggested that the series was running out of steam as most of the permutations of danger in space had been explored. But as it turned out there were still a few more great moments to come before the British space program finally gave itself over to that lone odd-ball with the rockets tied to his feet.

Next week Chris becomes the only hero in sci-fi history who knows what a mohole is.

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