- Hardcover: 207 pages
- Publisher: John C. Winston Co., Phila & Toronto; First Edition edition (1953)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000OP9M4Q
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,479,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Battle on Mercury (Winston Science Fiction Novel) Hardcover – 1953
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Erik van Lhin (pseud for Lester del Rey) 1953
Very enjoyable 1950's young adult "sci fi" 5*
This is a classic example of a boys' adventure tale set in space, and a cut above most such in writing and attention to scientific detail. The book is set on a planet Mercury now known to be incorrect but very much within the astronomical mainstream of the time, when it was believed that Mercury was tidally locked to the Sun in the same way the Moon is to the Earth, with one side always facing the Sun. (It was not until 1965 that radar showed it was really tidally locked in a 3:2 resonance. The Wikipedia article on Mercury gives a nice explanation of why visual observations led to this false belief.) In such a world, where the Sun appears nine times brighter than at the Earth, half would be glaringly hot, the other half bitter cold, with a small "twilight" zone more amenable to human existence. Mercury is very difficult to observe because of its small size and closeness to the Sun, and before the space era little was know about it. [ETA: Mercury may actually have a "twilight zone" after all :-) I spotted a note in the American Geophysical Union's newsletter "Eos" to the effect that the MESSENGER spacecraft currently orbiting Mercury has observed areas of permanent shadow near the planet's south pole. These are the same as radar-bright regions detected from Earth two decades ago, and water ice would be stable in those conditions. See the comments for references.]
[warning: some spoilers in this paragraph] For Dick Rogers, living in a sun-side mining colony where his father is head engineer, the weeks following his seventeenth birthday are momentous.Read more ›