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Can You Name This Story? (Part 39: The Brit Who Steals a Spaceship and Kidnaps Children)

Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers, sent in by another reader looking for the title of a story read long ago.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

This is a Brit question: In the early 1970s, when I was about 9 or 10, my Mum bought me a bundle of short science fiction books in a little boxed set. One was a John Christopher book which I still have, but the other two were, respectively:

  • A book called Trillions, which I am not that bothered about
  • A great story about a crazed RAF guy who steals a secret British “flying saucer” (a space ship that looks like one) and, to make a protest about nuclear weapons, lands it in a village and kidnaps five or six schoolchildren. I remember now that one of the things he is protesting is that the space ship is a nuclear war refuge for the elite. Anyway, he is dying of radiation poisoning, I believe, incurred when he stole the ship. He dies, while they are all in LEO and the kids have to be coached to pilot the ship down. I remember the protagonist is a very bright but shy black kid called Milo.

Iā€™d love to track this down, as it would be a perfect exciting/interesting read for my 10 year old!

Any help VERY gratefully returned!

– Gary Flood, Lancashire, UK

Can you name this story?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

7 Comments on Can You Name This Story? (Part 39: The Brit Who Steals a Spaceship and Kidnaps Children)

  1. Ian McDonald // December 11, 2015 at 4:24 am //

    Space Hostages by Nicholas Fisk

  2. Eddie Cochrane // December 11, 2015 at 7:43 am //

    Ian beat me to it by several hours, but I remember Space Hostages and it so freaked me out when I read it as a kid, I never read another book by Nicholas Fisk.

  3. Gary Flood // December 11, 2015 at 9:32 am //

    OMG thanks so much! That picture, the font even… rush of memories!!
    I’m getting this for my kid ASAP!
    Awesome sauce šŸ™‚

  4. Nicholas Fisk wrote Trillions, too. I have a copy somewhere.

  5. Trillions was by Nicholas Fisk too. I never came across Space Hostages but Trillions is part of why I write science fiction books today. Wheelie in the Stars was another Fisk book that a lot of kids at my school raved about.

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