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Cover of 'Terror By Satellite' (UK) Cover of 'Terror By Satellite' (US)
Cover of 'Terror By Satellite' (UK p/b) Cover of 'Pânico no satélite'
Gateway cover

Terror By Satellite

(PT - Pânico no satélite)

Publishing details:

UK: Faber, 1964, 2nd impression 1965, in print until about 1971, h/b.
UK: 1980 'Faber Fanfare' large format p/b. ISBN 0-571-11492-X.
US: Criterion Books, 1964, h/b.
eBook: Gateway SF, 2020.


Tony Hale, who in addition to being a skilled engineer is also an enthusiastic radio ham, smuggles a home-made transceiver on board an earth-orbiting satellite during his tour of duty there. It proves extremely useful as the commander of the satellite, Hendriks, has gone mad and wishes to become Dictator of the World! To this end he is destroying strips of the worlds surface using a radiation beam. The only unmonitored link between Earth and the satellite is Tony's home-made radio...


Superb characterisation of the mad Commander Hendriks is the most memorable aspect of this book, as he gradually becomes more and more unhinged until eventually he is foaming at the mouth! Once read, never forgotten. Chris, Serge and Morrey are really only peripheral to the book, as Tony comes to the fore for the first time.


SPACE-FICTION heroes are a lot of
virtuous nonentities, but what
splendid villains! Commander Hen-
dricks, in Hugh Walters's Terror by
plans to blackmail the world
into making him dictator, not, it
seems, because he has any clearly
defined policy to pursue, but because
he just likes the idea. One must agree
with the author that the gallant Com-
mander has a "diseased mind", but
he is more entertaining than the prig-
gish boy-mechanic Tony who foils
his plans.
A story like this gives the reader a
curious feeling of having been here
before. He has. This is a formula-
story in the old tradition of the
adventure-yarn, tricked out with
today's science and pseudo-science.
Of its kind, Terror by Satellite is com-
petently written, and Commander
Hendricks is a splendid creation. In
Victorian days he would have been
content to foreclose on the mortgage.
Dominating mankind from his satel-
lite and hissing (believe it or not)
"S-o-o-o" to his opponents, he plays
a more flamboyant role, but his ances-
try is never in doubt. Surely his first
name should have been Jasper.
Perhaps the most succesful
essays in science-fiction have
been in short-story form. An
admirable collection of these,
primarily for school use, has
been added to Hamish-Hamilton's
"Oak Tree Books". What impresses
most in Tales of Science Fiction is
the variety. The stories range from
the conventional in Arthur. C.Clarke,
through humour, to tragic irony
in John Wyndham's story of
the minute intelligences from outer
space who are destroyed by a human's

HUGH WALTERS: Terror by Satellite
Faber and Faber. 13s. 6d.
BRIAN N HALL (Editor): Tales of
Science Fiction. Hamish Hamilton.
8s. 6d.
The Times Literary Supplement, 9th July, 1964