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Cover of 'Mission To Mercury' (Faber) Cover of 'Mission To Mercury' (Book Club)
Gateway cover Cover of 'Nearly Neptune (proof)'

Nearly Neptune

(US - Neptune One Is Missing)

Publishing details:

UK: Faber, 1969, in print until about 1975, h/b. SBN 571-09111-3
US: Washburn Books, 1969, h/b. LOC 79-120956
eBook: Gateway SF, 2020.


"Chris Godfrey and his three companions were dead!" So begins Nearly Neptune, as we learn in flashback of the fire that badly damages the ship, and its apparent break-up, monitored by radar from Earth. Needless to say, our four friends have not perished, but it seems impossible for them to make it back to Earth when the hypothermia equipment has been irreprably damaged...


In one of the best of the series, the problems faced by the team seem totally insurmountable. Walters' solution is ingenious however.

Comparing the UK and US editions of this book, the text of the US version seems to have been quite heavily edited, usually by chopping sentences from the end of paragraphs. Interestingly, in the first chapter there is a reference to the 'United States Exploration Agency', but, perhaps realising that the acronym for this would be somewhat unfortunate, the editor has left further references to the United Nations Exploration Agency unchanged.


WALTERS, H. Nearly Neptune. 165 pp 8¼ X 5½ Faber 18/-

Hugh Walters has a special gift of writing space fiction that is
sufficiently convincing to whet one's technical appetite and yet boyish
enough in invention to dispel any impression of highbrow gimcrackery.
It is therefore enough to say of the present book that it deals in the
usual competent way with the problems that arise when a space-crew
bound for Neptune are struck by partial disaster at a critical point
in their voyage. The resulting drama in space and on Earth is
thoroughly exploited in a very readable account of human strength
and weakness at odds with the impersonal factors of Space.
The Junior Bookshelf, December 1969