I read a science fiction soft-cover book in 5th grade in 1979 or so that I was trying to track down. I have very little recollection of the story, but that it was "hard" sci-fi, and probably involved some sort of space warfare. I don't recall if humans were fighting other humans, or if they were fighting an alien species. This book was probably targeted at children or young adults.

Within the story people traveled short distances through space in small boxy spaceships (because there was no air resistance necessitating streamlining), or in sleek needle-shaped ships that were capable of traversing the atmosphere of planets. I recall that there may have been a scene where some people were trapped in either a boxy spaceship or a base on an airless planet with only a limited air supply.

Does this ring a bell for anyone? Sorry I don't have more to provide. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


  • Ender's Game? The Forge of God? Jul 3, 2017 at 19:58
  • 2
    Sounds vaguely like Assignment in Space with Rip Foster. The good guys had "sleek" pointed ships, the bad guys were more rounded (not exactly boxy as I recall). There was a conflict between two human factions.
    – user22478
    Jul 4, 2017 at 20:04
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    Nathan, you totally nailed it! It was most definitely the story you mentioned, but the 1969 paperback reprint called Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet. I hadn't recalled it was that story that promoted thorium as the future wonder fuel for atomic energy, though I remember picking up that idea from somewhere. Thanks so much!
    – Sean G.
    Jul 6, 2017 at 3:05
  • Nathan's comment should be made into an answer, marked as the accepted answer by Sean G. Jul 6, 2017 at 13:47
  • @JohnGHohengarten - I'm new to this, and can't seem to figure out how to "accept" Nathan's answer. Can you provide some guidance for me to complete the answering correctly? The StackExchange help page on accepting an answer shows a grayed-out check mark that doesn't appear for me on IE nor Firefox. All I see in the far left column are the up and down question clarity arrows and favorite question five-pointed star. Nathan's answer only has a vote-up arrow and flag. Thanks for pinging me on this...
    – Sean G.
    Jul 6, 2017 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


As Nathan mentioned in the comments, the answer is: Assignment in Space with Rip Foster.

Rip Foster- Rides the Grey Planet

Freshly graduated and commissioned Planeteer (the space-going equivalent of a Marine) Lt. Richard Ingalls Peter ("Rip") Foster, already contending with inter-service rivalry with the Space Force (equivalent to Navy) crewmen with whom he serves, is tasked with retrieving an asteroid made of pure thorium from the asteroid belt and bringing it to Earth for use as fissionable material. In this he is opposed by agents of the "Consolidation of Peoples Governments", who also seek control and use of the asteroid.

  • 1
    I answered because Nathan never posted his answer in non-comment form. Jul 9, 2017 at 14:40

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