My first SF book was Patrick Moore’s Invader from Space. I won it as a prize in Junior School as my grades were good. However, at the time I had no great enthusiasm for it. In previous years I’d come away with book prizes such as The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, and a further book in his Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair. My nine year old self put it to one side; it was what I wanted. It took me four years to stoop to opening Invader from Space.
I read and was hooked. The library became my friend – books were a rarity for me. I lived in a one-parent family which, due to the vagaries of the state, was penalised on behalf of maintenance payments my absent father never made. Doubtless he was using that maintenance money to drown his self-inflicted sorrows. God bless those wastrel souls.
Invader from Space was published in 1963 by Burke London. It was about 40,000 words in length. Some sellers are touting the 1975 edition of this book at an enthusiastic $60 +. Steady on chaps. Patrick Moore published a number of other books, which however I never went on to read, dependent as I was on what my local library had in its juvenile range.
Novels I remember reading from the juvenile library include offerings from Robert Heinlein, Philip E High and Andre Norton. The titles of those books still conjure memories for me; books such as:
- Space Cadet
- Citizen of the Galaxy
- The Door into Summer
- Lord of Thunder
- Dread Companion
- The X-Factor (No, not that ‘X-Factor’)
This was good solid adventure telling with none of that slushy romance nonsense. I draw inspiration from many of those reads and see a connection between my beautiful (and sexy) aliens and Patrick Moore’s Invader.