The main character was called Stone, or Commander Stone. I recall them being in outer space, probably in orbit around Earth. I think there might have been some kind of spider involved, like a space alien maybe.

There was some mishap with the ship, and I seem to recall something about like a broken needle in someone's arm, which put them into deep sleep.

I do not remember the title, but can only see the off color white book, in paperback, which was not too big.

  • A good start but we could use some more details, take a look at this guide to see if you can edit in any more details.
    – Edlothiad
    Jan 15, 2018 at 9:38
  • I'm afraid that's all I can remember, I know it's thin, which is why I have the hope that maybe somebody will remember more or know it by chance. It was actually read to us in primary school in the early 70's.
    – Dryade
    Jan 15, 2018 at 16:58
  • 1
    Does this sound familiar as well? scifi.stackexchange.com/q/86217 It sounds similar to a book I’ve been looking for... Feb 5, 2018 at 23:02

2 Answers 2


Trapped in Space (1968) by Jack Williamson.

Protagonist Jeff Stone travels to the newly discovered star Topaz to find out what happened to his brother Ben. He discovered there were no planets around Topaz, just a huge asteroid belt. The native aliens were large spider-like creatures. Jeff eventually finds his brother and the rest of his crew. They have all taken deep-sleep shots, a drug that puts the users into suspended animation to conserve oxygen. Ben's deep sleep hypo broke off the needle in his arm.

The book can be borrowed from the Internet Archive here. It was published in 1968, within your date range.

There are actually two species of spider-like aliens involved. Early in the book on page 21, we meet "Buzz Dozen-Dozen". He is a friendly telepathic alien about the size of a dog, but with many legs and described as looking "a little like a blown-up spider". The book has pencil illustrations and there is a picture of Buzz on page 23. He is the adopted "brother-sister" of Lupe Flor, a fellow member of the rescue crew.

The second species of spider-like aliens are the much bigger vacuum-dwelling "Rock Hoppers". They are described on page 114 as having five arms that

...were bright as silver, but the body was black - black, round, flat and with no head.

The Rock Hoppers weave vast webs in space, one of which captured Ben's ship. Jeff ends up fighting one of them in space, but when it is at his mercy he finds he cannot bring himself to kill it. In turn it rescues him. With the help of Buzz, who has similarities to both the Hoppers and the humans, peace is made.

On page 138 Jeff finds his brother Ben. He and the rest of his crew had put themselves into deep sleep in the hope of later rescue.

He found the broken needle stuck through the sleeve of the jet suit into Ben's frozen arm.

The fact that the needle broke off in Ben's case puts it in doubt that he will recover, but he does.

  • 2
    I have just borrowed Trapped in Space from the Internet Archive. It is a much better match to what Dryade asked than my suggestion of The Rolling Stones / Space Family Stone. I have added some details and quotes from the book to your answer. The revised answer is currently awaiting peer review. Oct 10, 2018 at 17:11

This might be Robert A. Heinlein's 1952 juvenile SF novel The Rolling Stones. (It was written ten years before the rock band of the same name was formed.) The UK title was Space Family Stone. The novel has the main character named Stone - in fact all the main characters are named Stone, being from the same family. The story starts on the Moon but most of it is set in a space ship, travelling within our solar system rather than making an interstellar journey. The "spiders" you remember could be the little alien creatures called "Flat Cats" which are cute but breed too fast. The tribbles in the famous Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles were inspired by Flat Cats.

I don't remember a part about a broken needle in someone's arm, but it is many years since I read the book.

  • 2
    There was a dramatic segment in which Granny Hazel (Hazel Meade Stone, little girl Hazel from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) and Buster (the baby of the family, around 1-2 years old) get lost in the asteroid belt because of a fault gyro in a "rocket scooter" and Hazel puts herself into a trance state to conserve oxygen for Buster.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jan 15, 2018 at 18:05

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