Friday, May 31, 2013

MAN FROM ATLANTIS (1977) Tie-In Paperbacks

As I've mentioned before, as an avid reader from age five, one of the few Space:1970-era collectibles I really made an effort to buy as a kid (and still do) were the film and TV tie-in paperbacks. In those pre-home video/pre-cable days, it was virtually the only way to re-experience the movies and TV shows you enjoyed (well, a lot of us made audio recordings on cassette, too). Fortunately, pretty much all of the major 70s TV sci-fi properties got tie-in novels: Star Trek, Space: 1999, Battlestar Galactica - even Buck Rogers got two, and the Planet Of the Apes show got four.

In 1977, Dell Books commissioned veteran tie-in author Richard Woodley (The Bad News Bears, Slap Shot, Con Air) to pen four paperback novelizations of the NBC Man From Atlantis telefilms: Man From Atlantis, Death Scouts, Killer Spores and Ark Of Doom (The Disappearances). The first two of these books hit the racks just around the time the weekly series premiered in Autumn, and I remember saving up my Junior High allowance of 50¢ a week to buy them when they came out. Woodley was a solid wordsmith, so they're pretty decent adaptations - and good reads, too.

The second two volumes, Killer Spores & Ark Of Doom, didn't make their way to bookstores until 1978, and the show was already off the air. This probably explains why they were published without the MfA logo or numbering. The nicely painted cover artwork by Vincent DiFate (replacing the photo covers of Volumes 1 & 2) does portray the likeness of actor Patrick Duffy, but otherwise appear to be designed to attract the eye of general sci-fi readers rather than just fans of the recently-cancelled show.

I didn't pick up these last two books in '78 (I wonder if their distribution was less pervasive than the earlier books?), but have added them to my library recently, thanks - in part - to Star Kid "Caeric ArcLight," who kindly sent me a nice copy of #3.


  1. I remember reading Killer Spores. I've got the whole series on DVD.

    I can't identify "Ark of Doom," though. Definitely that's not the title of any of the episodes. Is it an original story?

    1. Ark Of Doom is a retitled adaptation of the fourth TV movie, The Disappearances.