A for Andromeda / The Andromeda Breakthrough

(United Kingdom | BBC | 1961 / 1962)

A for Andromeda / The Andromeda Breakthrough
Series Background

A for Andromeda was one of the BBC's first major sci-fi TV productions of the 1960s, and was devised by prominent astronomer Fred Hoyle, who contributed the outline for the story, with the final scripts being written by BBC producer John Elliot.

The seven-part serial involved the reception of radio signals from the constellation of Andromeda, which, when decoded, prove to be the instructions for a highly advanced computer. After following the instructions, further signals are received, which, when programmed into the computer, result in the creation of a new lifeform, Andromeda, who takes on the appearance of lab assistant Christine, who had earlier been killed in an accident with the alien-designed equipment.

The role of Andromeda was played by a young Julie Christie, while other major characters include computer scientist Dr John Fleming (Peter Halliday), biologist Professor Madeleine Dawnay (Mary Morris), and Intel agent Kaufmann (John Hollis).

A for Andromeda proved to be just as popular with the viewing public as the final Quatermass serial a few years earlier, with ratings escalating sharply as the story progressed. Needless to say, the strength of the scripts had already prompted work to begin on a follow-up serial before production of A for Andromeda had even begun.

Picking up from the conclusion of the previous story, The Andromeda Breakthrough saw the mysterious Intel organisation (almost a prototype for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.s THRUSH) building a replica of the alien computer in the newly independent, middle-eastern country of Azaran. With Madeleine Dawnay already recruited, and Andromeda and John Fleming spirited away from the UK, the scene was set for for a further battle against alien technology, as the world's weather systems start to become increasingly violent — a direct consequence of one of Dawnay's failed experiments in A for Andromeda.

The sequel saw Susan Hampshire replacing Julie Christie as Andromeda, whose movie commitments clashed with the shooting schedule, meaning that she only performed in a limited number of location shots before leaving the production. Many of the other cast members from the original story also reprised their roles, including Peter Halliday, Mary Morris, John Hollis, and Noel Johnson as Osborne.

The Italian television network RAI subsequently produced their own adaptation of A for Andromeda in 1972, with the five-part serial being produced in black and white and on videotape just like the UK original. To this day it remains one of the few original UK sci-fi TV productions to be re-made in this manner.

A further production of A for Andromeda occurred in 2006 when BBC Four commissioned a ninety-minute re-make as a follow-up to their 2005 update of The Quatermass Experiment. By a bizarre coincidence, a 16mm print of the sixth episode from the 1961 original was returned to the BBC archives just a few days after the new version was announced.
Archive Status / DVD Releases

As with many programmes of the time, very little of A for Andromeda still exists. The only complete episode is the penultimate one, The Face of the Tiger, which was returned early in 2006 from a private collector in the form of a 16mm telerecording. A number of filmed inserts and the concluding fifteen minutes of the final episode, The Last Mystery, are also held by the BBC archives. A complete off-air audio recording of The Last Mystery, again from a private collector, was returned to the BBC late in 2006.

All six episodes of The Andromeda Breakthrough exist as 16mm telerecordings.

All existing footage from the original 1961 production of A for Andromeda has been released on DVD in the UK, alongside The Andromeda Breakthrough as The Andromeda Anthology. The existing footage from A for Andromeda is included as part of a 147 minute reconstruction of the serial which uses photographs and on-screen captions to explain the story. All major pieces of footage (The Face of the Tiger, the existing part of The Last Mystery, and a five-minute extract from The Machine) also feature an optional commentary. Extras include a documentary, PDF files of the scripts to the missing episodes of A for Andromeda and an extremely comprehensive 32 page booklet of viewing notes by Andrew Pixley. Sadly, the soundtrack to the final episode was only returned to the BBC after the DVD release. Subtitles.

The 2006 remake of A for Andromeda has also been released on DVD in the UK. Extras include a documentary on the making of the production, a photo gallery and a 24 page booklet of viewing notes by Marcus Hearn. Subtitles.

The Italian production has been released in its country of origin on both DVD and video but sadly without English subtitles.
A for Andromeda

by
Fred Hoyle
and
John Elliot
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Souvenir Press (1962)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Souvenir Press
Publication Date February 1962
Original Price UNKNOWN
ISBN N/A

A for Andromeda is a novelisation of the 1961 BBC television serial of the same name. Souvenir Press would also commission the novelisation of The Andromeda Breakthrough, the sequel to A for Andromeda, which was published in October 1964.

Other Editions
Cover image: Budskabet fra Andromeda, Hasselbacks (1962) Budskabet fra Andromeda
Denmark | Hasselbachs | 1962
Translated by C Luplau Janssen. This was to be the only release of A for Andromeda in Denmark, although a translation of Andromeda Breakthrough would be published in the country in 1980 under the title Angrebet fra Andromeda.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Harper & Row (1962) A for Andromeda
United States | Hardback | Harper & Row | 1962
First American edition. Harper & Row would also acquire the publishing rights to Andromeda Breakthrough, which would be released in the United States in 1965.
Originality, excitement, pace and scientific accuracy — readers who appreciate these elements in science fiction will enjoy thoroughly this outstanding novel of adventure. A For Andromeda is the product of a very successful collaboration between an astrophysicist of world-wide reputation and a talented dramatist whose work for British television has received the highest critical recognition.

The scene is set ten years from now. A new radio-telescope picks up from the constellation of Andromeda, two hundred light-years away, a complex series of signals which prove to be a program for a giant computer. Someone in outer space is trying to communicate, using a supremely clever yet entirely logical method.

When the necessary computer is built and begins to relay the information in receives from Andromeda, the project assumes a vital importance: politically, militarily, and commercially. For scientists find themselves possessing knowledge previously unknown to man, knowledge of such a nature that the security of human life itself is threatened.

As a seven-part serial on BBC Television, this story established popularity records. The last several installments doubled BBC's audience, reaching 80% of the viewing audience of Great Britain.

Cover image: A for Andromeda, Corgi Books (1963) A for Andromeda
UK | Paperback | Corgi Books | April 1963 | 3/-
First paperback release in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the front and back covers feature a number of photographs from the television serial.
Originality, excitement, pace and scientific accuracy. These are the elements of A FOR ANDROMEDA. The product of a very successful collaboration between an astrophysicist of world-wide reputation and a talented dramatist whose work for British television has received the highest critical recognition.

The scene is set ten years from now. A new radio-telescope picks up from the constellation of Andromeda, two hundred light-years away, a complex series of signals which prove to be a program for a giant computer.

When the computer begins to relay the information in receives from Andromeda, the project assumes a vital importance. For scientists find themselves possessing knowledge previously unknown to man, knowledge of such a nature that the security of human life itself is threatened.

"Gripping" YORKSHIRE EVENING PRESS
"Sparkling" NEW STATESMAN
"First rate" MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS

Cover image: A de Andrómeda, Plaza & Janes (1963) A de Andrómeda
Spain | Paperback | Plaza & Janes | 1963
Translated by Alfredo Crespo. This was to be the only release of A for Andromeda in Spain. The sequel, Andromeda Breakthrough, was not released in the country at all.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Pattern Books (1964) A for Andromeda
UK | Paperback | Pattern Books | December 1964
This edition was produced for educational purposes. It was abridged for publication by Jennifer Taylor and contains a number of photographs from the television production. The front cover shows Julie Christie as Andromeda.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Crest Books (1964) A for Andromeda
United States | Paperback | Crest Books | 1964
First paperback edition in the United States.
MESSAGE FROM AN UNKNOWN PLANET

The faint crackling noises from the loudspeakers in the control room of the big observatory were definitely signals. Someone... or something... far out in space was trying to make contact.

Young Dr. Fleming and his colleagues were not superstitious. They were scientists. But none of them could deny the chill of fear that suddenly swept over them.

Still there was nothing really to warn them of the danger — the hideous nightmare that was about to envelop them all.

They had no way of knowing that a monstrous intelligence from outer space had already reached into their minds... that they were already victims... helpless comspirators in a silent, invisible conquest of earth.

Cover image: A Come Andromeda, Feltrinelli (1965) A Come Andromeda
Italy | Paperback | Feltrinelli | 1965
Translated by Irene Bignardi. The sequel, Andromeda Breakthrough, would be released by the same company the following year under the title L'insidia Di Andromeda, while a second edition of A Come Andromeda would be released by Feltrinelli in 1971.
\'Cover Ameaça de Andrómeda
Portugal | Paperback | Livros do Brasil | 1965
Translated by Jorge Fonseca. A translation of Andromeda Breakthrough was also released in Portugal in 1965 under the title Nova Ameaça de Andrómeda. These would be the only releases of either title in the country.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Corgi Books (1965) A for Andromeda
UK | Paperback | Corgi Books | 1965
The second paperback edition in the UK from Corgi, complete with new cover artwork.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, USSR edition (1966)\ (A for Andromeda)
USSR | 1966
A second edition of A for Andromeda would be released in the USSR in 1991, shortly before the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Cover image: A Wie Andromeda. Goverts (1967) A Wie Andromeda
Germany | Hardback | Goverts | 1967
First German release, translated by Gustav Keim and Robert Picht. Paperback editions would follow in 1970 and 1984, although Andromeda Breakthrough would never be released in the country. The front cover image is a still from the BBC's original 1961 television production, showing Julie Christie as Andromeda and Peter Halliday as John Fleming.
Cover image: Andromeda, AW Bruna (1968) Andromeda
Holland | Hardback | AW Bruna | 1968
First release in Holland, translated by Faber Heeresma. A paperback edition would be released by the same company in 1971, while Andromeda Breakthrough also received two releases in the country under the title Andermaal Andromeda.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Hayakawa (1968) (A for Andromeda)
Japan | Paperback | Hayakawa | 1968
A translation of Andromeda Breakthrough was released in Japan the following year, with both books being re-issued in 1981. The identity of the translator is unknown.
Cover image: A de la Andromeda, Editura Tineretului (1968) A de la Andromeda
Romania | Editura Tineretului | 1968
This was the only release of A for Andromeda in Romania. Andromeda Breakthrough was never to be released in the country. The identity of the translator is unknown.
Cover image: Andromēda, Zinātne (1969) Andromēda
Latvia | Zinātne | 1969
Translated by R Koka and J Antimonova. This was the only edition of A for Andromeda to be released in Latvia. Andromeda Breakthrough was not released in the country at all.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Corgi Childrens (1969) A for Andromeda
UK | Paperback | Corgi Children's | 1969 | 055208199X
The third paperback edition in the UK from Corgi, complete with yet another new piece of cover artwork.
Cover image: A Comme Andromède, Éditions Fleuve Noir (1970) A Comme Andromède
France | Paperback | Éditions Fleuve Noir | 1970
First release of A for Andromeda in France. A translation of Andromeda Breakthrough would finally be released in the country in 1980 under the title Andromède Revient, with a second edition of A for Andromeda being released at the same time. The identity of the translator is unknown.
Cover image: A Wie Andromeda, Fischer-Bücherei (1970) A Wie Andromeda
Germany | Paperback | Fischer-Bücherei | 1970
The first German paperback edition, translated by Gustav Keim and Robert Picht. The book would be re-issued by Goldmann in 1984.
Cover image: Andromeda, AW Bruna (1971) Andromeda
Holland | Paperback | AW Bruna | 1971 | 9022990354
First paperback release in Holland, translated by Faber Heeresma. A hardback edition had been released by the same company in 1968.
Cover image: A Come Andromeda, Universale Economica Feltrinelli (1971) A Come Andromeda
Italy | Paperback | Universale Economica Feltrinelli | 1971 | 8807806401
The second Italian paperback release, translated by Irene Bignardi.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Corgi Books (1975) A for Andromeda
UK | Paperback | Corgi Books | 1975 | 0552099384
The fourth and final UK paperback edition to be released by Corgi. A new edition of Andromeda Breakthrough was also published by Corgi Books in 1975. The two books would once again feature new cover art, but for the first time the same layout and design would be used on both titles. Anyone who likes to keep their bookshelves ordered and scarily neat might therefore like to track down the only matching pair of the books released in English!
Far away, from the constellation of Andromeda came a message... a programme for a giant computer which hadn't even been built. For the scientists it was a major breakthrough in technology; for the politicians it was an opportunity to conquer the world; but nobody realised the true significance the machine they had helped to create, nor of the beautiful woman who shared its secrets and its power...

Cover image: A for Andromeda, Avon Books (1975) A for Andromeda
United States | Paperback | Avon Books | 1975 | $1.25 | 038000299X
The second paperback edition in the United States.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Pattern Books (1976) A for Andromeda
UK | Paperback | Pattern Books | 1976
A new edition of the abridged educational release from Pattern Books. As before, it contained a number of photographs from the television series.
Cover image: A Kao Andromeda, Kentaur (1976) A Kao Andromeda
Yugoslavia | Kentaur | 1976
Translated by Liljana Stanic. This was the only edition of A for Andromeda to be released in what was then Yugoslavia. Andromeda Breakthrough was never released in the country.
Cover image: A Comme Andromède, Éditions Fleuve Noir (1980) A Comme Andromède
France | Paperback | Éditions Fleuve Noir | 1980 | 2265012521
The second paperback release of A for Andromeda in France, translated by BR Bruss. A first French edition of Andromeda Breakthrough was also published in 1980 under the title Andromède Revient.
Cover image: Androméda, Kozmosz Fantasztikus (1980) Androméda
Hungary | Hardback | Kozmosz Fantasztikus | 1980 | 9632114175
An omnibus edition of the two Andromeda novelisations, translated by Judit Gálvölgyi. A for Andromeda was re-titled A — mint Androméda, and The Andromeda Breakthrough became Androméda-áttörés. This was to be the only release of either book in Hungary, and, unless anyone knows otherwise, the only omnibus edition of the two books ever to be published.
Cover image: A Som Andromeda, Bergh (1980) A Som Andromeda
Sweden | Bergh | 1980 | 9150205463
The first Swedish edition of A for Andromeda, translated by Sven Christer Swahn. A translation of Andromeda Breakthrough was released by the same company in 1981 under the title Andromeda Anropar.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Hayakawa (1981) (A for Andromeda)
Japan | Paperback | Hayakawa | 1981
The second Japanese edition of A for Andromeda. A second edition of Andromeda Breakthrough was also released the same year.
Cover image: A Wie Andromeda, Goldmann (1984) A Wie Andromeda
Germany | Goldmann | 1984 | 3442084113
The second paperback release of A for Andromeda in Germany, translated by Gustav Keim and Robert Picht. The previous edition had been published in 1970.
A for Andromeda
United States | Paperback | Avon Books | 1985 | 0380233665
The third and final paperback edition in the United States. Details of this edition are sketchy at best, so if anyone can confirm its existence, or even provide a scan of the cover image, please get in contact via the email address on the front page of the site!
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Bulgaria edition (1988) (A for Andromeda)
Bulgaria | 1988
The only Bulgarian edition of A for Andromeda. The sequel, Andromeda Breakthrough, would never be released in the country.
(A for Andromeda)
USSR | Mir | 1991
The second and final release of A for Andromeda in the USSR. The previous edition had been published in 1966.
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Greece edition (1998) Α για Ανδρομεδα
Greece | Συναλμα | 1998 | 9607578120
Translated by Χαρα Μανεσιπτου
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Souvenir Press (2001) A for Andromeda
UK | Paperback | Souvenir Press | April 2001 | £7.99 | 0285635883
The first paperback edition from Souvenir Press, who had published the original hardback in 1962. The contents of this edition are identical to the original Corgi paperback release from 1963, even down to the typeface, page numbering and justified text. Ironically, Sir Fred Hoyle died on 20 August 2001, aged 86, just a few months after A for Andromeda was reprinted in the UK for the first time in a quarter of a century.
From two hundred light years across the universe comes a message of terror. Ten years from now, a radio telescope picks up from the constellation of Andromeda, a complex series of signals which prove to be a programme for a giant computer. When the computer begins to relay the information it receives from Andromeda, the project assumes a vital importance, for scientists find themselves possessing knowledge previously unknown to man, knowledge of such a nature that the security of human life itself is threatened.

Not surprisingly from this collaboration between one of the world's most highly regarded astro-physisists and a talented dramatist, A for Andromeda is both a work of originality and excitement. Though it is many years since the original TV version starring Julie Christie had viewers enthralled, it retains its power to stimulate a new generation of science fiction enthusiasts.

Sir Fred Hoyle taught mathematics and was Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge University, and professor-at-large at Cornell University. He is currently the Honorary Resident Professor at both Manchester University and University College, Cardiff. He is the author of several books including Nature of the Universe and Frontiers of Astronomy as well as a number of novels and two volumes of autobiography.

John Elliot was a leading BBC television producer and writer of other distinguished novels.

"THIS IS SCIENCE FICTION AT ITS BEST."
SUNDAY MAIL

Cover image: A for Andromeda, Dales (2002) A for Andromeda
UK | Paperback | Dales | March 2002 | 1842621319
The Dales edition was a large print version for the partially-sighted.
Television Story
A for Andromeda
7 × 45 Minutes | BBC | Black and White

03/10/61 Episode 1: The Message Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
10/10/61 Episode 2: The Machine Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
17/10/61 Episode 3: The Miracle Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
24/10/61 Episode 4: The Monster Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
31/10/61 Episode 5: The Murderer Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
07/10/61 Episode 6: The Face of the Tiger Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
14/10/61 Episode 7: The Last Mystery Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
Notes
  • Although the television serial and subsequent novelisation of A for Andromeda were credited to both Fred Hoyle and John Elliot, the byline is slightly misleading as it was actually John Elliot who did the actual writing. While Hoyle had been responsible for the original idea and developing the story, it was Elliot who was tasked with writing a full set of scripts and the 1962 novelisation for Souvenir Press, although the manuscript would be revised prior to publication by Hoyle.

    Prior to the publication of A for Andromeda, Fred Hoyle had already written two science fiction novels, The Black Cloud and Ossian's Ride, both of which were to be widely translated. Later works would predominantly be written with his son, Geoffrey. Today, apart from his work on cosmology, he is best known for coining the phrase "Big Bang" in relation to the creation of the universe. Ironically, it wasn't a theory he personally subscribed to. Far from it, in fact...

    John Elliot would remain at the BBC and in 1965 created Mogul, a boardroom drama at a British oil company. One year later, the series was re-named The Troubleshooters, the title by which it now best remembered.
Cover image: Stranger from Space, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1953)
  • The novelisation of A for Andromeda was very much at the forefront of the 1960s explosion in tie-in fiction.

    While tie-in books of UK sci-fi TV series weren't unheard of at that point in time, prior to A for Andromeda's publication the only other notable examples had been Penguin's three Quatermass script books and the novelisation of the children's serial Stranger from Space.

    As the 1960s moved on, the number of series managing to get a foothold in the high street would expand massively, although in the UK most of the books based on domestic television series would be of children's programmes. Across the Atlantic, in the United States, the situation would be very different, not least because of the money-making focus on primetime television — almost to the exclusion of anything else. While some tie-in books would be aimed at children, particularly a series of hardbacks from Whitman, the majority of TV tie-in fction was aimed at a more commercially exploitable audience.
Cover image: Neverwhere, BBC Books (1996)
  • A for Andromeda is one of the most widely translated UK sci-fi TV tie-in books to date, with only Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere from the 1990s managing to outdo it. The sequel, Andromeda Breakthrough would not be as widely available overseas.

    Unlike the majority of TV tie-in novelisations, A for Andromeda was sold as an ordinary science fiction novel outside of the UK, aided no doubt by Fred Hoyle's pre-existing reputation as a science fiction novelist — ironic, as the A for Andromeda novelisation was actually written by John Elliot! Ignoring the numerous editions published in the United States, the book was released in at least fifteen different countries, including on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

    But the release of the book wasn't the only opportunity for people outside the UK to experience the story. A for Andromeda was sold abroad to both Australia and New Zealand in the form of 16mm telerecordings, and, like the Doctor Who stories from the 1960s, if it wasn't for these film copies the serial would now almost certainly be completely lost.

    Viewers in Italy, however, didn't get the UK production. Instead, they ended up with a version of the story tailored specifically to their own viewing requirements. A Come Andromeda was a five part serial produced by the RAI television network in 1972, and starred Luigi Vannuchi (Dr John Fleming), Paola Pitagora (Judy Adamson) and Nicoletta Rizzi (Christine / Andromeda). Like the English original, it was a black and white production made on videotape, although the story remained set in England. The production was finally released on DVD in Italy in January 2007, although it sadly didn't include English subtitles — a major shame as BBC Four's 2006 re-make in the UK was heavily shortened, making A Come Andromeda the only way of seeing the complete story.
Cover image: From Frankenstein to Andromeda, Macmillan (1966)
  • An extract from A for Andromeda was included in From Frankenstein to Andromeda, a science fiction anthology published in paperback in the UK by Macmillan in 1966. The book consisted of a mixture of short stories and extracts from science fiction novels, including The Lost World, Frankenstein, The War of the Worlds and The Day of the Triffids. See cover image right.
  • The ideas in A for Andromeda would re-emerge again in two mainstream Hollywood productions of the 1990s, and both would use the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programme as their basis.

    The 1997 movie adaptation of Carl Sagan's Contact (first published in 1985) involved the reception of an alien signal which, when decoded, contained the plans for a highly advanced transportation system capable of sending its occupant through space via a wormhole.

    1995's Species, on the other hand, went in the biological direction, with the second of two received signals leading to the creation of Sil, played by Natasha Henstridge.
Cover image of the Pattern Books (1964) edition supplied by Stephen Barker

Cover images of the Pattern Books (1976) edition and Stranger from Space supplied by Anthony McKay
Time Screen
Andromeda Breakthrough

by
Fred Hoyle
and
John Elliot
Cover image: A for Andromeda, Souvenir Press (1964)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Souvenir Press
Publication Date October 1964
Original Price UNKNOWN
ISBN N/A

Andromeda Breakthrough is a novelisation of the 1962 BBC television serial of the same name, and is a sequel to 1961's A for Andromeda.

Back Cover Blurb
From the dead constellation of Andromeda flashed continuously a long and intensely complicated message. Picked up during the testing of the world's most powerful radio-telescope, it proved to be a blueprint of a computor so advanced that it made all earth-built computors seem like children's counting beads and even produced a thinking, living human-being to interpret its needs. Could this be part of a fantastic plan to take over the earth?

This brilliantly conceived novel explores what happens when the computor is used to further the world ambitions of the dictator of a tiny desert state and of the unscrupulous commercial organisation INTEL. The terrible combination of ignorance of the machine's purpose and insane avarice brings the world to disaster. Huge storms rage across the continents, epidemics break out in cities devastated by floods and everywhere people begin to die from lack of oxygen. The incredible achievements of the computer had masked one small formula, which was changing the oxygen balance of the air. Was this the last step in the plan?
Other Editions
Cover image: Andromeda Breakthrough, Harper and Row (1965) Andromeda Breakthrough
United States | Hardback | Harper and Row | 1965
First edition in the United States. Harper and Row had also released hardback edition of A for Andromeda in 1962.

Cover image: Nova Ameaça de Andrómeda, Livros do Brasil (1965) Nova Ameaça de Andrómeda
Portugal | Paperback | Livros do Brasil | 1965
Translated by Jorge Fonseca. A translation of A for Andromeda was also released in Portugal in 1965 under the title Ameaça de Andrómeda. These would be the only releases of either title in the country.
Cover image: Linsidia Di Andromeda, Feltrinelli (1966) L'insidia Di Andromeda
Italy | Hardback | Feltrinelli | 1966
Translated by Graziella Civiletti. A translation of A for Andromeda, had been released by Feltrinelli the previous year under the title A Come Andromeda, while a second edition of L'insidia Di Andromeda would be released by Feltrinelli in 1979.
Cover image: Andromeda Breakthrough, Corgi Books (1966) Andromeda Breakthrough
UK | Paperback | Corgi Books | 1966 | 3/6
First paperback edition in the UK.
From the dead constellation of Andromeda flashes an intensely complicated message, a message so advanced, so brilliant, it can only originate from an immense intelligence, beside which the scientific discoveries of earth appear pigmy-like and trivial.

But when the knowledge from the distant galaxy is used to further the ambitions of a small dictator, the world topples on the brink of destruction. Ignorance and insane avarice result in terrifying storms, epidemics, death from lack of oxygen, and it is left to a small group of frantic scientists to avert the catastrophe of the Andromeda Breakthrough.

Cover image: Andromeda Breakthrough, Fawcett (1967) Andromeda Breakthrough
United States | Paperback | Fawcett | 1967 | 60¢
First paperback edition in the United States.
"A BOLDLY EXCITING WORK OF IMAGINATION... FILLED WITH PHYSICAL EXCITEMENT AND INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION... MUCH OF IT READS LIKE A JAMES BOND ADVENTURE..."
— Boston Pilot

FRED HOYLE / JOHN ELLIOT
NO OTHER SCIENCE-FICTION WRITERS OF OUR TIME POSSESS THE QUALIFICATIONS AND IMAGINATION OF THIS UNIQUE TEAM WHICH HAS CREATED THE BEST ENTERTAINMENT IN A DEMANDING AND EXCITING FIELD...

Fred Hoyle, world-famous astrophysicist and astronomer, is a writer whose work has made a major contribution to our knowledge of outer space. Since 1958 he has been Plumian professor of astronomy and experimental philosophy at Cambridge University. He is also a staff member of the Mount Wilson and Palomar observatories. He has recently been engaged on a computer program for recalculating the age of stars.

John Elliot, noted dramatist, helped pioneer the development of television films. He is well known as a writer and producer of dramatized documentaries and has had a number of plays perfomed on television. He received a special award from the Guild of Television Producers and Directors.

Cover image: A for Andromeda, Hayakawa (1969) (Andromeda Breakthrough)
Japan | Paperback | Hayakawa | 1969
A translation of A for Andromeda had been released in Japan the previous year, with both books being re-issued in 1981. The identity of the translator is unknown.
Cover image: Andermaal Andromeda, AW Bruna (1970) Andermaal Andromeda
Holland | Hardback | AW Bruna | 1970 | 902291271X
First release in Holland. A paperback edition would be released by the same company in 1975. A for Andromeda also received two releases in the country under the title Andromeda, with the first edition being published in hardback in 1968. The identity of the translator is unknown.
Cover image: Andromeda Breakthrough, Ensign Books (1974) Andromeda Breakthrough
UK | Paperback | Ensign Books | 1974 | 30p | 0723552150

From the dead constellation of Andromeda flashed continuously a long and intensely complicated message. Picked up during the testing of the world's most powerful radio-telescope, it proved to be a blueprint of a computor so advanced that it made all earth-built computors seem like children's counting beads and even produced a thinking, living human-being to interpret its needs. Could this be part of a fantastic plan to take over the earth?

This brilliantly conceived novel explores what happens when the computer is used to further the world ambitions of the dictator of a tiny desert state and of the unscrupulous commercial organisation INTEL.

Cover image: Andermaal Andromeda, AW Bruna (1975) Andermaal Andromeda
Holland | Paperback | AW Bruna | 1975 | 9022990397
First paperback release in Holland. A hardback edition had been released by the same company in 1970. The identity of the translator is unknown.
Cover image: Andromeda Breakthrough, Corgi Books (1975) Andromeda Breakthrough
UK | Paperback | Corgi Books | 1975 | 0552099392
The second paperback edition in the UK from Corgi. A new edition of A for Andromeda was also published by Corgi in 1975. The two books would once again feature new cover art, but for the first time the same layout and design would be used on both titles.
Linsidia Di Andromeda, Universale Economica Feltrinelli (1979) L'insidia Di Andromeda
Italy | Paperback | Universale Economica Feltrinelli | 1979 | 8807808617
The second Italian paperback release, using the same translation by Graziella Civiletti.
Cover image: Andromeda Breakthrough, Perennial (1979) Andromeda Breakthrough
United States | Paperback | Perennial | 1979 | 0060804718
The second and final paperback edition of Andromeda Breakthrough in the United States.
Cover image: Angrebet fra Andromeda, Tristan (1980) Angrebet fra Andromeda
Denmark | Tristan | 1980 | 8787839067
Translated by C Luplau Janssen. This was to be the only release of Andromeda Breakthrough in Denmark, although a translation of A for Andromeda had been published in the country in 1962 under the title Budskabet fra Andromeda.
Cover image: Andromède Revient, Fleuve Noir (1980) Andromède Revient
France | Fleuve Noir | 1980 | 226501303X
The first and only edition in France, translated by BR Bruss. A second French edition of A for Andromeda was also published by the same company in 1980 under the title A Comme Andromède.
Cover image: Androméda, Kozmosz Fantasztikus (1980) Androméda
Hungary | Hardback | Kozmosz Fantasztikus | 1980 | 9632114175
An omnibus edition of the two Andromeda novelisations, translated by Judit Gálvölgyi. A for Andromeda was re-titled A — mint Androméda, and The Andromeda Breakthrough became Androméda-áttörés. This was to be the only release of either book in Hungary, and, unless anyone knows otherwise, the only omnibus edition of the two books ever to be published.
Cover image: Andromeda Breakthrough, Hayakawa (1981) (Andromeda Breakthrough)
Japan | Paperback | Hayakawa | 1981
The second Japanese edition of Andromeda Breakthrough. A second edition of A for Andromeda Breakthrough was also released the same year. The identity of the translator is unknown.
Cover image: Andromeda Anropar, Bergh (1981) Andromeda Anropar
Sweden | Paperback | Bergh | 1981 | 9150205897
The first Swedish edition of Andromeda Breakthrough, translated by Sven Christer Swahn. A translation of A for Andromeda had been released by the same company the previous year under the title A Som Andromeda.
Television Story
The Andromeda Breakthrough
6 × 45 Minutes | BBC | Black and White

28/06/62 Cold Front Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
05/07/62 Gale Warning Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
12/07/62 Azaran Forecast Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
19/07/62 Storm Centres Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
26/07/62 Hurricane Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
02/08/62 The Roman Peace Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
Notes
  • Like the novelisation of A for Andromeda, Andromeda Breakthrough was actually written by John Elliot, who had turned Fred Hoyle's ideas for a televisions sequel into a full set of scripts. The follow-up serial also saw Elliot producing, as well as directing three of the six episodes. The remaining three episodes (2,4 and 6) would be directed by John Knight.

    As before, the book would be commissioned by Souvenir Press in the UK, and over the following fifteen years would be translated into at least eight languages, with the final known edition being published in Sweden in 1981.

    In the UK, the book has been unavailable since the mid-1970s, although, having been reprinted a number of times since 1966, copies can still be picked up relatively cheaply online.
  • Unsurprisingly, all of the foreign language editions were released in countries that had previously released translations of A for Andromeda, although Andromeda Breakthrough wasn't to be nearly as widely available overseas as the original, with Germany, Latvia, Romania, Spain, the USSR and Yuglosavia all missing out. The lack of a German translation is especially puzzling as A for Andromeda would eventually be released in three separate editions in the country. Hungary would kill two birds with one stone and release an omnibus containing both novels in 1980 — neither book would ever be released individually in the country.
Back cover blurb of the Souvenir Press edition supplied by Stephen Barker

Cover image and back cover blurb of the Ensign Books (1974) edition supplied by Alan Hayes
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