WORLDS OF WONDER
First Published on 22nd March 1962 - 160 pages
This book starts with a short forward that lists the previous eight books and then defines certain astronomical words. The book then commences with Professor Lucius Brane discussing the end of civilization on Earth, when a signal is received from Vargo Lentos that he intends to land. Vargo has brought with him some photographs taken on the planet Krona, with a camera that the Professor had given him. One photograph shows the inhabitants who all appear to be the same age when in fact their ages vary from 20 to 300 years! After the failure to ascertain the reason for the long life spans of the people on Dacoona, this is of interest to the Professor. Apparently, the children of Krona grow normally until adulthood and then eat only a particular type of bean, blue in colour. This prevents the deterioration of cells, but the beans have to be eaten constantly. An old man, failing to eat the beans would shrivel up and die within days. The Professor asks to go to Krona to investigate further. Travelling in the Tavona to Mars, Rex meets his old Martian girlfriend, Morino, who has now grown into a gorgeous young woman. Rex has a confrontation with Rolto, who is still very anti-Earth as he thinks the Earth people are likely to destroy themselves with atomic weapons and this will have an adverse effect on his world. The Professor gets permission from the High Council to travel to Krona and they do so. Krona has suffered from fires and two strange space ships are seen to leave. On landing at a village, it is established that the ships have been taking people, presumably as slaves. The fire has destroyed the villagers' supply of their life saving blue beans and without them, they will die. Tiger Clinton comes up with the idea of arming the villagers with bows and arrows so they can defend themselves against any future attacks. The Tavona flies to another village to get some bags of beans as a temporary measure to feed the people in the village in which they had first landed. It is in this first village that a house is put at our heroes' disposal. The village is surrounded by swamp and impassable, except for one path and that is beset with danger, a danger the villagers refer to as Ruxor. Ruxor turns out to be a huge reptilian dragon like creature that looks like a gargoyle. Tiger shoots it only to be attacked by more. The mysterious space raiders return to the village only to be met by a barrage of arrows. They leave and drop a gas bomb. Vargo uses the jets on the Tavona to blow the gas away. The next step is to remove the danger from the only exit path so that the people can leave their village to find more beans. The swamp is caused by a river that has become choked and burst its banks. Tiger decides to blow up this natural dam, thinking it will destroy the dragon like creatures as well. The Tavona travels back to Mars to get a bomb but is faced with a change of plan. A space ship of the Remote Survey Fleet has gone missing and the Tavona is the only available ship to go on a rescue mission. Rolto had already been sent to investigate but he had also disappeared. Vargo says he will take some bombs and return to Krona to assist the villagers after searching for the missing space ship. Our heroes travel to the planet of Barida, the destination of the missing ship. On attempting to land, our heroes see two space ships and recognise one of them as Rolto's. A strange force drags the Tavona down, but by using some of the bombs on board, Vargo is able to break free. Landing, the two space ships are investigated. One is the missing ship and the other is Rolto's ship. The crews are nowhere to be seen. Exploring, a defensive complex is found and here a tunnel is discovered. Here Rolto and the others are found, having been trapped inside. Attacked by the Baridians, the inhabitants of this world, our heroes are only saved when another hostile fleet of space ships arrive to attack the Baridians. The Tavona crew members return to Krona and find their villager friends in a dire state. More beans are fetched in the Tavona. The bombs are exploded to destroy the dam and kill the dragon like creatures. Any surviving creatures are washed away in the resulting flood. It is at this time that the space raiders return. Tiger opens fire on one of their ships with his rifle and manages to bring it down. The ships leave. Unfortunately, the bomb has started volcanic activity near the village. With the path now cleared, the villagers decide to leave and move to another friendly village where they can get supplies of the essential beans until they can start growing their own crops again. The Tavona leaves and returns to Mars where our heroes spend a few days before returning to Earth. The beans that the Professor has collected do not take to Earth soil and soon rot away.
Worlds of Wonder
Subtitle - More adventures in Space
Publication Details - published by Hodder and Stoughton
Click on the Frontispiece to enlarge it
Original First Edition Boards