Cover of 'Moon Base One'
Cover of 'Outpost on the Moon'

Moon Base One

(US - Outpost On The Moon)


Publishing details:

UK: Faber, 1960, in print until about 1975, h/b.
US: Criterion Books, 1962

Synopsis:

The legacy of the radiation from the alien domes on the moon is now become manifest. Thousands of young people are terminally ill with a rare form of leukemia, and it is decided to take one of these as a passenger on the next trip to the moon to see if exposure to the fall-out there may have a curative effect.

Rivalry between East and West having now been put aside, a combined space agency has been formed, the United Nations EXploration Agency, UNEXA for short. Naturally an Englishman is to be place in command of this vital mission - step forward Chris Godfrey. His old friends Morrey and Serge accompany him, whilst the 'patient' will be Tony Hale, a cheeky young schoolkid from Aston, near Birmingham (UK).

The trip to the moon and setting up of a temporary base goes well, although the effects of his illness combined with radiation make Tony dangerously rebellious. And when a supply rocket crashes, destroying some of the team's vital navigational equipment, and as the mysterious grey lunar mist reappears, it seems as though the quartet may never make it back to Earth!

Commentary:

By introducing Tony Hale, the fourth member of the team who would feature in all the subsequent novels, Walters was clearly looking for a character to appeal to his younger readers. While Chris could appear a little stuck-up and middle-class at times, cheeky Tony, with his incomprehensible Brummie accent and working-class attitudes made a welcome contrast.

Once again there are a few changes between US and UK editions. For example, in the UK edition Sir Leo Frayling suggests that Tony be clubbed unconscious should his illness make him dangerous during the mission - this line is omitted from the US version.

Reviews:

EXCITING BOOK
FOR BOYS
* "MOON BASE ONE," by Hugh Walters (Lon-
don: Faber and Faber)
REALLY there ought, on a
basis of probability estab
lished by children's fiction,
to be a 14-year-old at the
centre of every real-life
drama:
At the top of Everest
(" 'We'd never have made it
without you, Jimmy,' said
Edmund Hillary, smiling in
a way that made the young-
ster gulp"); under the table
at the Commonwealth Prime
Ministers' Conference
(" 'You've saved the day,
Terry,' said Mr Nehru, and
the boy turned red").
There's room for a thesis
on the devices by which
writers insinuate their
young heroes into situations
normally hogged by grown-
ups.
This is the latest book in
a series in which the orig-
inal device was a simple
one: Chris Godfrey was
shot into space for the ade-
quate reason that he was
small enough to go into a
rocket.
*
Now, a grown-up himself,
he has again to make that
chancy ascent - this time
to prepare the way for a
permanent base on the moon.
There is still, however, a
14-year-old in the crew of
the Pegasus: Terry, who gets
in because he's suffering
from a radiation sickness
that might be cured by a
trip to the moon.
Mr. Walters' books are
quite inimitable; solemn,
wooden in style, with char-
acters who are hardly more
than names - and yet really
exciting, because they com-
bine an artful mounting ten-
sion with a mass of fascin-
ating technical detail.
It's pleasant, into the bar-
gain, to have a book of this
sort, in which East and
West are seen working to-
gether, instead of having to
be foiled when they nastily
interfere with one another's
fuel tanks. - E.B.

The Auckland Star, 8th April, 1961
MOON BASE ONE
By Hugh Walters. (Faber & Faber Ltd., 24,
Russell Square, London, W.C.1, 13s. 6d. net.)
CHRIS GODFREY, hero of Operation
Columbus
and other stories, has another
science fiction adventure in this story of
space flight to the moon, with all the excitement
which Mr. Walter knows how to put into his
stories. Whether this is the Shape of Things
to Come or not does not matter; young science
fiction addicts will thoroughly enjoy this latest
Chris Godfrey adventure.
Teachers' World, 14th March 1961

'Exciting science-fiction yarn . . . Good suspense . . . can't blame Walters for putting the spotlight most often on Chris . . .' - Philadelphia Sunday Bulletin

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