With “Space: 1999” currently enjoying a second screening on ITV4, going back to the very beginning of the 48 episodes, I thought it timely to post the covers of the book series that accompanied the first season of the show. I purchased the first nine of the ten paperbacks, at the time, but with the tenth, “Earthfall” by E C Tubb, came a sharp increase in price to which my pocket money, in the mid Seventies, didn’t extend and so I didn’t complete the set! I didn’t know, then, that the tenth was to be the last book in the series otherwise, in retrospect, I might have made extra effort to acquire it. It has subsequently been republished, purchasable through the Gerry Anderson Appreciation Society, but if any of my readers know where I can get hold of the original in reasonable condition at a reasonable price please let me know. Bit of a long shot I know but, as Colin Baker once said, “No ’arm in trying”!
And so to the books themselves… In the days before domestic video recorders, novelisations were a godsend for those wanting to relive particular episodes of favourite television series, the Target “Doctor Who” paperback series perhaps being the finest example. The first six of the ten “Space: 1999” books contain novelisations of 23 of the 24 episodes that comprise the first season of Gerry Anderson’s second live action series. Five of those six novels each includes four episodes between their covers, each story taking just three chapters to tell. The other book retells three episodes, with an allotted four chapters per story on this occasion. The next three books in the series detail untelevised adventures, some of which I believe are from unfilmed scripts rather than wholly original new ideas. The final book, although not having read it I can’t be certain, covers that elusive 24th episode in extended form.
At the time, the exploits of Martin Landau’s Commander John Koenig in deep space held my fascination as much if not more than the then current Doctor, Tom Baker. Last Sunday, I was able to relive what I regard as the show’s two finest episodes, “Dragon’s Domain” and “Mission of the Darians”, as they were broadcast back-to-back. And tonight, in “Black Sun”, the crew of Moonbase Alpha age a lot and get to meet God, as you do when living on a Moon improbably hurled out of its orbit to travel the darkest reaches of the Universe!