Sunday, December 23, 2007

No longer missing

A long time ago, more than thirty years as near as I can tell, I read a book.

It was in Junior High, what people hereabouts call Middle School. It was an old hardcover Scifi book from the school library. I remember that it had a stylized rocket ship in a circle on the spine and the cover had a picture of a big skeletal spacecraft sitting on the surface of one of Saturn's moons (years later I would see paintings by the great Chesley Bonestell, and recognize that cover art as a rip-off off Bonestell's renderings of Werner Von Brown's original moon lander designs). The story was about the second mission to Saturn, the previous mission having been lost many years before. I remember that eventually the protagonists discover the first mission ship in orbit in deep, deep space and that the ship's name was the Anomaly. I remember, because it was the first time I'd ever heard the word. I remember that the explorers find an abandoned base on one of Saturn's moons, left by the first expedition. And that eventually they meet Saturians and find some survivors from the first expedition.

And that's about all I remember.

I knew it had to be a golden age book. And it was old when I read it, because vintage scifi was about all a conservative Junior High library would have in western Michigan in the early 70's (probably don't have any nowadays), and I knew the science was dated even way back then.

And it's bugged me for thirty years - because I could never recall the title or the author.


Ain't the Internet wonderful? Armed with just that bit of information and a little persistence I finally found it. I happened to remember the symbol, the rocket ship and circle - that eventually led me to the Winston Science Fiction set, a list of 35 juvenile science fiction novels by famous (in the 50's and 60's) authors. And there it was, Missing Men of Saturn.

I will be damned.

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