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Audio Book Review

Book Cover

Journey into Space


Author: Charles Chilton
Read by: William Hope
BBC Audio
RRP: £25.00
ISBN: 978 1 405 68868 0
Available 08 May 2008

No other adventurers had ever faced greater hazards than the crew of the rocket-ship Luna when she hurtled into space, destination - the Moon. Jet Morgan, ace pilot, was her captain. With him were her Australian designer, Mitch; Lemmy, the Cockney radio operator; and Doc, whose diary astonished everyone...

William Hope (who Aliens fans will remember as Lieutenant William Gorman) reads the complete and unabridged novelisation of Charles Chilton's successful radio series, Journey Into Space. This six CD collection has a running time of around seven hours.

Chilton's classic science fiction radio serial stormed the BBC airwaves between 1953 and 1958. With its gripping storylines and tense cliffhangers, it kept a devoted audience of almost eight million people enthralled during its three series (Operation Luna, The Red Planet and The World in Peril). All of which have since been released by the BBC on audio cassette and CD.

So popular were the radio serials that Chilton was inspired to write a trilogy of best selling novels featuring Captain Jet Morgan and his crew. First published in 1954, this first story tells how the Luna's adventures began.

This story has, unsurprisingly, not aged that well - mainly due to the fact man has already been to the moon and failed to encounter the problems Jet Morgan and his crew were faced with. But, if you ignore that, or imagine they are on a mission to a much further flung region of space, then there's suspense and excitement aplenty.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure that Hope was the right choice to provide the voices for this adventure. He's not the world's greatest narrator, and I had to smile when I heard his attempts at a cockney accent (he's Canadian). It's not quite as bad as Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, but it's not far off.

For sci-fi fanatics, Journey into Space is worth listening to from an historical point of view. For everyone else, it'll probably be a bit to dull. You'd be better advised to pick up the original radio plays.


Nick Smithson

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