Spaceship Away Part 30 Summer 2013 (magazine review).

Blimey, ‘Spaceship Away’ has been going ten years now. I think I started reviewing them about six years back, where they were nice enough to supply the earlier issues to read and review. In this issue, publisher Rod Barzilay gives the statistics of how many stories and such they’ve had in thirty issues and at long last, the name of the current editor, Des Shaw, for the past 5 issues.


‘The Parsecular Tales’ story of Dan Dare by Tim Booth continues on its way but I hate saying it, but all the characters have had too many years added to their age. A faster-than-light propulsion unit appears to work and Peabody’s team might be concealing a traitor.

As with all the strips, they are continuing stories and that includes Charles Chilton’s ‘Journey Into Space: Shadow Over Britain’. Jet Morgan and his team are studying a Moon colony.

A new story, ‘The Ghost Sun’ by John Russell Fearn and Sydney J. Bounds with art by Ron Turner and Martin Baines, has a pair of aliens investigating an apparently abandoned spaceship only to suddenly find themselves floating outside. Although I can suspect what’s happened, it’s a nice taster to see what will happen next.

The ‘Garth’ story, ‘Finality Factor’ continues battling. Martin Asbury’s art is helped a lot by Tim Booth’s colouring but I’m still aghast at his depiction of the blonde giant because I’ve seen him do better.

The first of the text features is a comparison of the working script by Alan Shranks for the story ‘Prisoners Of Space’ and the corrections made as he adjusted to the Dan Dare universe including getting Digby’s home country of Lancastershire right after placing him from Yorkshire. Yikes!

Back when Frank Hampton was creating Dan Dare in 1953, he had a book project on his character in the works which he stopped working on when its budget was cut back. Artist Don Harley goes over the project concluding with a reconstruction of a portrait of Dan.

Rod Barzilay and Graham Bleathman give the background of the creator of the ‘Dan Dare: Pilot Of The Future: Space Fleet Operations Manual’ for Haynes which I reviewed a couple months ago. Its success has brought people new readers to ‘Spaceships Away’ from America which shows the space icon is still popular today.

There’s a further look at Dan Dare when he had four series on Radio Luxembourg back in the early 1950s. I was rather interested to discover that among the voice artists was actor John Sharp voicing Digby, who had, amongst other roles, a guest appearing role later in ‘The Prisoner’ and Francis de Wolff voicing the Mekon, who later appeared in ‘The Tomorrow People’, towards the end of his career.

Andrew Darlington’s piece about the SF YA book trilogy ‘Martin Magnus’ by William F. Temple’ from 1954-56, points out that a proposed Dan Dare story was converted to one of these stories. I have vague memories of seeing these books years ago but never picked up on them. The first two were reprinted back in the 1970s and the third, ‘Martin Magnus On Mars’ wasn’t and is somewhat rare now.

A good mixture of material in this issue for anyone wanting a taste of the 50s and background articles. If you have an interest in the era then you’ll have plenty to digest.

GF Willmetts

August 2013

(pub: Spaceship Away. Rod Barzilay, 8 Marley Close, Preston, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 6DH, UK. 40 page A4 glossy stock magazines. Price: £ 7.95 (UK) inc p&p, 3 issues for £21.50 (UK) inc p&p)

check out website: http://spaceshipaway.org.uk


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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