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Cover of 'Operation Columbus' Cover of 'First on the Moon'
Cover of 'First on the Moon' (US p/b) Cover of 'First on the Moon' (US p/b)
Cover of 'Meta-Lua' Cover of 'Wedloop naar de Maan'

Operation Columbus

(US - First On The Moon)
(NL - Wedloop naar de Maan)
(PT - Meta-Lua) (literally 'Finishing Line: The Moon')


Publishing details:

UK: Faber, 1959, in print until about 1971, h/b.
US: Criterion Books, 1960, h/b.
US: Tempo Books, 1969, p/b.
NL: Prisma Juniores 238, 1963.
PT: Galeria Panorama, p/b.

Synopsis:

The race is on to place a man on the moon to examine the wreckage of the alien domes destroyed in 'The Domes of Pico'. The Russians are training a fanatical young Communist, Serge Smyslov, for the task, while the West's candidate is a cheery young American, Morrison 'Morrey' Kant. Unfortunately Morrey breaks his arm shortly before take-off in a riding accident and Chris Godfrey takes his place.

The two spaceships land on the moon virtually simultaneously. Chris can walk about in his spacesuit, however Serge is sealed up inside a 'lunar rover' vehicle. While Chris ventures towards the radioactive debris of the domes to retrieve a sample, Serge, brainwashed by his Red superiors, uses a rocket to destroy Chris's ship. The blast overturns his lunar rover, leaving him unable to return to his ship, while Chris is trapped by a strange, creeping grey mist that may be connected to the domes' builders...

Commentary:

Quite a bleak novel in many ways, powerfully evoking the isolation of the lunar surface and the claustrophobia of the rockets and space suits. The battle between the astronaut and cosmonaut marooned on the moon is mirrored by increased tension between the superpowers on Earth. Chris and Serge even begin fighting during the journey home!

Reviews:

'. . . informative and exciting. Recommended.' - Library Journal

OPERATION COLUMBUS
by Hugh Walters
Faber and Faber 13s 6d
HERE is the third book by Hugh
Walters, a pen name which
hides the identity of Bro. Walter
Hughes, a member of the Executive
Council.
Like the two previous books, the
subject matter is bang up to date
dealing as it does with rockets and
space travel, and the author is
remarkably well informed technically.
If there are any technical defects it is
difficult to detect them, and one can
almost imagine that Hugh Walters
has already made the space trips
described.
The story deals with a journey to
the Moon by Chris Godfrey, and
after a rather slow start the tale moves
along with increasing tempo to a
crescendo of excitement. Of course
the Russians have their own ideas
about moon travel and it is unfor-
tunate for the hero that almost to the
hour the Soviet send off a rival rocket
containing Serge Smyslov. Chris and
Serge both arrive on the moon quite
safely but it would spoil the effect for
readers if we related what happened.
Suffice to say that after some thrilling
adventures the two space travellers
forget their antagonism and by their
combined efforts manage to return to
earth. The story ends with the two
cosily wrapped up in a Russian
hospital.
As we have said the book is
remarkable for its seeming accuracy,
and we understand that a fourth
book has just been completed, with a
fifth on the way by the same author.
As the author is also a member of
the Study Group is augers well for the
future policy of the Order; it could
very well do with some of the
advanced thinking so graphically
displayed in Operation Columbus
Foresters' Miscellany, 1960
British Books
British Books
Spring 1960
Hexham Courant
Hexham Courant
4th March 1960
Bilston & Willenhall Times
Bilston & Willenhall Times
5th March 1960
London Evening Standard
London Evening Standard
8th March 1960
Express & Star
Express &Star
11th March 1960
Bulletin & Scots Pictorial
Bulletin & Scots Pictorial
24th March 1960
Books Of The Month
Books Of The Month
Apr 1960
Boys' Own Paper
Boys' Own Paper
May 1960
Times Literary Supplement
Times Literary Supplement
20th May 1960
Times Educational Supplement
Times Educational Supplement
17th June 1960
Publishers' Weekly
Publishers' Weekly
28th October 1960