Cover of 'Blast Off At Woomera' Cover of 'Blast Off At 0300'
Dutch language 'Woomera'

Blast Off At Woomera

(US - Blast Off At 0300)
(NL - Ruimtevaarder nummer n - lit "Astronaut Number One")


Publishing details:

UK: Faber 1957, in print until about 1978, h/b.
UK: Faber 1965, p/b.
US: Criterion Books, 1958, h/b.
NL: Prisma Juniores 104, 1960.

Synopsis:

Mysterious domes have been sighted in a crater on the Moon. Suspecting that they may be the work of Communists, the British Government must launch a man into space in order to photograph them from outside the atmosphere. Unfortunately their rocket was not designed to carry a man, and so someone unusually short is required. Enter Chris Godfrey, a four foot ten and a half sixth-former at Wolverton Grammar School. Will he survive the trip? The less than reliable rocket is to be launched from Australia - but there may be a Soviet traitor among the ground crew!

Commentary:

The original, and in many ways the best. The early chapters are superbly evocative of the 50's, complete with Teddy Boys, corner shops, and wonderfully formal dialogue between the main protagonists.

The space flight itself only occupies a small section at the end of the book, but the build up to it is extremely tense and gripping. This is perhaps the most 'adult' of any of the books in the series, relying more on characterisation than on hardware.

Reviews:

Rocket Into Space

BLAST-OFF AT 0300. By Hugh Wal-
ters. 187 pp. New York: Criterion
Books. $3.50.
For Ages 12 to 16.

IN every boy's file of secret
daydreams there is one la-
beled "Son, Only You Can Help
Us." This theme has inspired
countless adventure stories, and
in "Blast-Off at 0300" author
Hugh Walters demonstrates its
continuing reliability - this time
in an English and Australian
setting.
Christopher Godfrey is 17
years old and is perhaps atypi-
cal in being less than five-
feet tall. Chris' height, cour-
age and his honor grades in
science qualify him for a very
special mission: he is to be
the first human to ride a rocket
into space. Sinister objects
have been spotted on the moon.
If Chris can keep the rocket's
instruments focused, the undis-
torted data thus gathered may
save the world from foreign
domination. Despite a somewhat
melodramatic climax, this is an
engrossing, fact-packed yarn
which, coming hot on the orbit-
ing heels of the earth satellites,
might well be echoed on tomor-
row's front pages. Pint-size
volunteers, one step forward.
ROBERT BERKVIST.
New York Times Book Review
c.1958
BLAST-OFF AT 0300, by
Hugh Walters,
is a science-fic-
tion book as modern as a new-
born child. At present we are
running tests simulationg condi-
tions under which man must
live during space travel. The
author has already solved the
problems and young Chris, 17,
will pilot a rocket out over 150
miles to get pictures of the
moon and return. Security de-
mands that we must ascertain
what the mysterious new ob-
jects are on Luna. Each na-
tion suspects the other. What
the flight proves, how Chris
survives, and a very wonderful
surprise ending make fine read-
ing for fans from grades 7 and
up, oldsters included. (187 pp.,
Criterion. $3.50)- R.U.H.
The Record, Morristown NJ,
27th February, 1958.

BLAST-OFF AT 0300. By
Hugh Walters. (Criterion;
$3.50.) (11 and up.)
An Eng-
lish boy who hoped to do rock-
et research when he got to
Cambridge, volunteered to be
rocketed into outer space, and
not only completed the trip,
returning with photographic
data, but helped apprehend a
scientist traitor. A fast-mov-
ing, timely thriller.
Source unknown, 1958.

WALTERS, Hugh. Blast-off at 0300. 187pp.
58-5449. Criterion. Feb. 24. CSm. $3.50
Time: present. Problem: an unidentified, pre-
sumably man-made object's sudden appearance
on the moon. Solution: send up a rocket from
the Woomera Rocket Research Station in Aud-
tralia to photograph this object without cloud
interference. Hero: 17-year-old Chris Godfrey,
interested in rocketry, soon to enter Cambridge,
and, most important, unusually small for his
age. What happens on the first man-occupied
space missile and the events leading up to
its blast-off, make a fast-paced, well-written
story. Reommended for ages 12-16. -Lear-
ned T. Bulman, Hd., Youth Serv., E. Orange,
N.J.,F.P.L.
Minnesota Journal of Education
January 1959

Or, should boys prefer the world of
the future, Blast-Off at 0300 by Hugh
Walters (Criterion $3.50) would have
us believe it is close at hand. Chris God-
frey at seventeen is only four feet ten
inches and by virtue of his size he be-
comes the first man to blast-off with a
space ship for the express purpose of
photographing strange protrusions on
the moon. The author is a master story-
teller and most convincing. New worlds
are just waiting to be explored.
Grade Teacher 77, November 1958.

ENGELSKT
Gillar ni sedan Hugh Walters rätt trivsamma ungdomsbokserie om Chris
Godfreys och hans vänner äventyr i den närmare världsymden, och har ni gått
miste om den för några år sedan utkomna första delen, BLAST OFF AT
WOOMERA (Faber & Faber, 15/---), där Chris får sin grundläggande
astronaututbildning och tar det första tveksamma skuttet mot månen, så bör ni
kanske ha ett visst intresse av att den delen nu har kommit i nyupplaga -- ett
bevis så gott som något för att serien såsom sådan är avsevärt bättre än de
flesta i sitt slag. Kunnig och inte oävet småspännande.
Roland Adlerberth
Translation: If you like Hugh Walters' very pleasant series of books for
youngsters about Chris Godfrey and his friends' adventures in not-too-distant
space, and if you've missed them for some years since the first part came out,
BLAST OFF AT WOOMERA (Faber & Faber, 15/---), where young Chris
gets his fundamental astronaut training and takes the first hesitant leap toward
the Moon, then you will perhaps certainly be interested that this part has now
come out in a new edition, as good an indication as any that this series as such
is considerably better than most of this kind. Well informed and not a little
exciting.
Hpna, Nr 6-7, 1964

left-arrowBack to the main index

down-arrowGo on to the next book