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Cover of 'The Domes of Pico' Cover of 'Menace from the Moon'
Cover of 'De Maan Valt Aan' Original Manuscript
Cover of 'Menace from the Moon' Click here for
a closer look
at pages of the
original manuscript!

The Domes of Pico

(US - Menace From The Moon)
(NL - De Maan Valt Aan)


Publishing details:

UK: Faber, 1958, in print until the early 60s, h/b.
US: Criterion Books, 1959, h/b.
NL: Het Spectrum - Prisma Juniores 181, 1960.

Synopsis:

The alien domes on the Moon are radiating a strange form of energy, which is neutralising all the nuclear power stations on the Earth. Chris Godfrey's task is to pilot a rocket and plant a homing beacon next to the domes, which will be used to target a nuclear missile strike. The commander of the mission, Sir Leo Frayling, is determined that the mission will succeed - even though the cost may be Chris' life!

Commentary:

A slightly more downbeat effort than its predecessor, with a constant sense of doom and gloom as Chris embarks on a mission unaware that his chances of survival are zero. There's a nice little twist at the end as Walters tricks us into thinking that it is Sir George in the rescue ship, whereas in fact it is Frayling; the sort of scene that could only work on the printed page.

Once more, there is plenty of 50s atmosphere - steam trains and so on; although at the same time Britain seems almost wholly dependent on nuclear power!

The differences between the US and UK editions of this book are far more marked than usual. For example, the entire first chapter of the UK edition (which you can read above) is omitted from the US edition, which merely summarises the events therein a few pages into its first chapter. Some of the danger to Chris has also been toned down for the US market - in the UK edition, Sir Leo says that Chris's chances of returning alive are 'none at all'; in the US 'very little'.

But the biggest change is towards the end. Whereas the UK edition tricks you into thinking that Sir George is piloting the rescue ship, only to reveal that it is in fact Sir Leo, in the US version there is no 'twist'; it definitely is Sir George piloting the ship!

Reviews:

'A tense, action packed thriller, with the hero, Chris, catapulting into the atmosphere in a deparate effore to save earth from leathal rays which originate from the moon . . . Hugh Walters achieves remarkable intensity in this fantasy, limiting the range of time, place, action, and conceit, and endowing the radius of his fiction with the maximum excitement and atmosphere. Discriminatingly written.' - Virginia Kirkus

Adobe documentScript of a Book Review radio programme presented by Edward Blishen - Broadcast 24th February 1959.

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