Thursday, June 20, 2013

SPACE: 1999 (1975) Year One Novelizations

As I noted in my last Captain's bLog, I'm currently working to fill in the gaps in my library of Pocket Books' 70s Space: 1999 paperback novelizations. I've had four of them since I was a kid, but until a week ago, I wasn't sure how many total volumes Pocket had actually published.

Turns out that there were ten books published in the U.S.  The first six were adaptations of the television scripts, with authors E.C. Tubb, John Rankine and Brian Ball taking three or four TV episodes per volume and linking them together to make a single novel out of them. In the few of these I've read, the authors have done a remarkably good job, seamlessly combining the TV scripts and fleshing them out in imaginative ways. I tend to like Rankine's efforts the best.

Starting with book #7, Alien Seed, by Tubb, the series turned to all new, original adventures for the Moonbase Alpha wayfarers. I have yet to read any of these - I didn't get them as a kid, and only recently started collecting these later volumes - but I look forward to diving in soon.

I believe that all of these books - as well as a number of new novels - have been reprinted in recent years by a company called Powys Media. I don't have any of those books, and, frankly, I don't have much interest in them. I prefer to stick with the 70s originals. At the moment, I'm still missing Alien Seed and Rogue Planet... but I should have them soon.

Then, I can work on getting all of the Year Two novels from Warner Books!


  1. Chris, on the subject of vintage books...have you ever read Elliot S! Maggin's two Superman novels, Last Son of Krypton and Miracle Monday? They were published to tie-in with the release of Superman in 1978 and Superman II in 1981.

    1. Knowing your love for Space: 1970-era film and TV novelizations and spinoff novels, I highly recommend the Maggin books. Original novels were released instead of regular novelizations, apparently because Mario Puzo's involvement (which resulted in the general storyline of the first two Superman films) prevented any sort of adaptation of the material.

  2. One "novelization" that was not released in the US until the Powys series was EC Tubb's Earthfall a massive book which adapted an early draft of the pilot episode, "Breakaway", then went off on a totally-different tangent, becoming a multi-generation tale returning the Alphans' adult children to Earth.

  3. I remember anxiously waiting for these to come out. Alien Seed was the last one I bought new. If I remember correctly, they were pretty well done.

  4. I LOVED reading these. I lived and breathed 'em when I couldn't watch 1999, after they weren't broadcast anywhere near and I could barely tune them in via antenna from a city further away..

    Very well written.

  5. At my 12 year geek stage, I had a complete collection of these. I saved my allowance to buy them as soon as they came out at Walden Books, My allowance was a $1.50 and so were the books. I searched many a couch and car seat and phone booth for the 9 cents tax. There were also 6 season 2 books, as I recall. I only found one of them before Space 1999 faded from all of the local station's syndication. More things that my mother sold while I was away in the USAF in the early to mid '80's. Wish I still had them.....

  6. Powys has only republished John Rankine's two original novels, Android Planet and Phoenix of Megaron, in slightly rewritten form to fit in with the "Powysverse" chronology.

    They have NOT published Earthfall, which is a complete re-imagining of the series, as noted above.

    Powys has long planned to publish an omnibus hardcover of the six volumes of novelizations, to match their 2006 omnibus of Year Two novelizations. As a small, fan-run company, there's no telling when the volume will appear. I believe all three authors whose novelizations will be featured have passed away while the project was gestating.

  7. I always wondered why they censored the fried guy on the cover of Collision Course.

  8. Apparantly Powys Media lost the Year One book rights some time ago, so looks like they've cancelled the project.