RIDERS TO THE STARS. Curt Siodmak, Robert Smith.


New York: Ballantine Books, [1953]. Small octavo, cover painting by Richard Powers, pictorial wrappers. First edition. Ballantine Books 58. Novelization of Siodmak's screenplay by Robert Smith, published before the release of the 1954 film. The rear cover of the book has stills from the film.The Science Fiction Encyclopedia online offers some interesting commentary on this film which predates the coming space race: "...this is one of the few films, and perhaps the only film, that accurately predicted the course of the American space programme. Space Flight would be achieved by a government programme – not brilliant individuals or patriotic businessmen; space pilots would be carefully selected and rigorously trained before flight, in contrast to films in which people build a Rocket and then look around to see what random individuals might be available to join its crew on short notice; the first steps into space would involve suborbital flights, not a pioneering flight to the Moon or Mars; and astronauts in space would be carefully monitored by, and in constant communication with, technicians on the ground who would continually advise them as they carried out their missions, unlike cinematic astronauts who, once in space, are all on their own. All of these characteristics of actual space flight were meticulously predicted in this film; as a result, while other early space films can now be dismissed as irrelevant to current concerns, Riders to the Stars is a film that remains in dialogue with the ongoing conquest of space, addressing any number of still-significant issues: do the rewards of space flight justify the risks to human lives? What sorts of individuals are best qualified to travel into space? Should space missions be controlled by knowledgeable observers on the ground, or by the astronauts who are actually in the midst of events?" In retrospect this has to be considered an important contribution to 1950s science fiction film making. Small nick to right front cover, a fine unread copy. (15851). Item #15851

Price: $75.00