Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Childhood reading fun revisited

We were out and about on Valentine's Day, shopping and enjoying things from the past in area antique/junk/collectible stores. I seldom even glance at books in such stores, but, for some reason, my eyes were sliding along a shelf of fiction, when I settled on "The Moon Colony" by William Dixon Bell. My heart leapt as I recalled having read it in the winter of my third grade elementary school year. The copy I had then was left over from my mother's Depression-era library from her teen years. I also had one other science fiction book from that era, one on adventure with rural railroading, and one on becoming a tennis ace (all had teen protagonists). After I read the two science fiction books, I found H. G. Wells' "The Invisible Man" in one of those paperback Pocketbook mystery novels that had an eyeball peering through a keyhole. On the back of the book was a posited map of the locale where the adventure takes place, replete with marked points with importance in the story. My start with science fiction had happened.

Here is a brief synopsis of the story line of the first book mentioned above. You can see why I jumped into reading it with a story line as exciting as this one!
Julian Epworth the head of secret service for Atlantic Pacific Airlines and his co-pilot Billy pursue a huge sky pirate zeppelin about to steal 1 million dollars in gold. A fast paced ultra modern sci-fi adventure: planes being shot out of the sky, air pirates in liquid fueled planes, a mad scientists Herman Toplinsky scheming to colonize the moon is the leader of the sky jackers. Toplinsky has captured Julian, Billy and stowaway Joan, Julian's sister, they are all off to the Moon, only to be greeted by an army of mammoth cricket-shaped creatures in military formation, large as a man, with six legs and two sharp antennas, holding steel pointed lances. Riding on top of the cricket creatures are men-shaped humps, small bodies with legs and arms, and an enormous knotty projection for their heads, seeing through large wide eyes, and this is only the beginning. William Dixon Bell ( 1865-1951), juvenile fiction adventure author.

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