Radio Drama
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Tom Corbett Sourcebook
"Stand By For Mars!"
Tom Corbett Sourcebook
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The Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Sourcebook (1952-1955)
All articles by Caroline Miniscule

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Note: All of the Tom Corbett books are out of print, but you can get copies from (Just click on the link.)

The Tom Corbett, Space Cadet television program was based in part on a Robert Heinlein novel called Space Cadet (1948), which was expanded by author Joseph Green.

The show began in 1950, and within a few weeks had acquired a dedicated audience. A host of other media soon followed - a short-lived radio series running concurrently with the same cast, comic strips, comic books, Little Big Books, viewmaster reels...and eventually eight books published by Grosset & Dunlap. The books were written by an unknown author, using the pseudonym of Carey Rockwell. Willy Ley, as with the TV show, was credited as the Technical Adviser.

The Tom Corbett Series
(White titles link to criticism for each book)

1) Stand By For Mars!
2) Danger in Deep Space
3) On The Trail of the Space Pirates
4) The Space Pioneers
5) The Revolt on Venus
6) Treachery in Outer Space
7) Sabotage in Space
8) The Robot Rocket

Downloadable text versions are available (for these and many other classics) from an external site: here.

The eight books in the Tom Corbett series draw their plots from the TV show, and are quite well written for a juvenile audience. The science is dated, of course - Mars is a desert, Venus is a jungle (but although 'terraforming' is not really discussed, it's easy to imagine that's how they were made habitable.)

The books do show their 1950s roots?Dr. Joan Dale is the only woman scientist at the Space Academy...any other women there are clerical staff.

Nevertheless, these books are great fun. On one level the three protagonists are great role models (for all that Roger Manning is a wise-cracking and sarcasm loving individual) and through their actions demonstrate the importance of working at an education, dedication to an ideal, friendship and loyalty. On another level, the books are simply great adventure stories.

For the June issue of The Thunder Child we provide a detailed analysis of Stand By For Mars/. Critical analysis of the remaining seven books in the series will appear in the July issue.

Go to Critical Mass: Stand By For Mars!

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