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Ok, so this is a total shot in the dark, but here goes...

When I was in 4th grade (around 1982) there was a series of sci-fi books for kids or teens in the library at school. All I can remember about them is that they were smaller hardcover books (bigger than paperbacks, but not too much - similar to those Golden books in size), and all black. One was about the moon- a moon base I think. I don't believe they were movie novelizations though.

The book was in English, school was on Long Island, NY (Bay Shore, Gardiner Manor school), number of pages was roughly around 100, how many in the series I'm not certain but I'm fairly certain that not all the books in the series were continuations of the same story, I think this was more of an anthology series.

And that's really all I got! I know it's not much to go on, but does it ring any bells for anyone? I've been hunting online for years with no luck.

EDIT 5/21/2021 - Just to try and close the loop on this, and especially on the chance that it could help others... I now have in my possession this fine collection of books:

books

There's one last one that's eluding me, but I'm on the hunt and it's just a matter of time before I complete the set :)

Now, the million-dollar question: are these ACTUALLY the right books? Well, they absolutely do check most of the boxes from my description, and there IS a feeling of familiarity to them when I flip through them, so the odds seem good they are. But, they don't EXACTLY match the picture in my head. Of course, we're talking about a picture that's somewhere around 40 years old now, so what's more likely, that these are the right books, or that my 40-year old memory is perfect?

Yeah, I'm gonna go with them being the right ones!

That said, if these AREN'T the right books, then I think I'm pretty much at the point where I believe I'll never find them and I'll just have to go to my grave with a picture in my head that is never EXACTLY fulfilled, and I think I can live with that.

But, like I said, the odds seem good - VERY good, even - that these ARE the right books. And, you know what? Even if they're not, this is a GREAT series and I'm VERY happy to have them in my hands!

So, to everyone that attempted to help pin these down, my heartfelt thanks to you all!! I may have never done it with out!!

7
  • @thelethalcarrot Why the rollback? The part he removed from the question he put in a self-answer (I didn't check the exact time, maybe you did it before he published the answer?).
    – lfurini
    May 22, 2021 at 14:53
  • @lfurini I rolled back the edit that shouldn’t have been made to the question. Honestly didn’t check what the previous version was, assumed it was all good as it had been up for a while.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 22, 2021 at 15:28
  • I'm fine with this rollback. I was frankly just following what the other person said to do. I'm cool with whatever. May 22, 2021 at 18:18
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    Yes, they have illustrations inside. May 29, 2021 at 16:43
  • 1
    I flipped through all the books quickly. I found one reference in Meteor From The Moon where one character gives "glasses" to another. It seems like it's really describing sort of a telescope, and that's roughly what the illustration shows. I didn't spot any references to ciphers, but I easily could have missed it. May 30, 2021 at 6:08

4 Answers 4

10

I think it may be the Galaxy 1 series, written by Harriette Sheffer Abels and published by Crestwood House.

This blogger remembers them being published in the late 70s, and being in his elementary school library in the early 80s.

This image shows a series of childrens' sci-fi hardbacks with black spines, and the black of space as a backdrop on the cover of one:

enter image description here

Here's a title with "moon" and a space station, plus another black background:

enter image description here

Here's a cover showing a Martian surface that looks more like a lunar surface with some Mars-y cliffs in the distance.

enter image description here

(Note: Everything posted above is taken from the same 2019 blog entry. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have found it.)

Searching Stack Exchange, this series has been the answer to a couple of "identify this series" questions before:

Late 70s Early 80s Children's SF Book Series

and

Looking for a children's book series set in space

and

Children's sci-fi series from 70's/80's with a pink blob as a pet

Now, the books I've mentioned have settings similar to but not quite the same as moonbases. And one of the scifi.SE questions linked above gives the book lengths as "approximately 50-75 pages" as opposed to the "around 100" you mention. Another comes in even shorter, saying "maybe 25-35 pages each". So there are a few details that don't match, but overall I think this is a good fit.

3
  • 4
    OMG! I think that's it! Those absolutely do match the pictures in my head! I have to assume my "moonbase" recollection is off. If those aren't it then FOR SURE it's the closest anyone has come. I'm assuming they ARE the answer though at this point. Thanks SO much!! Now I can go hunt down physical copies :) Apr 19, 2021 at 14:29
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    @FrankW.Zammetti You're welcome! If you find after reading that they are indeed correct, don't forget to accept this answer! (Oh, and you may want to pop over to Eric Robert Nolan's blog to thank him too. If he hadn't posted so many scans and so much information, I would not have found this.) Apr 19, 2021 at 17:12
  • Absolutely, will do on both counts. In fact, I can't imagine I'm likely to get closer than this, so I accepted your answer. I also ordered one of the books from a little shop, so I'll hopefully know for sure later this week :) Apr 19, 2021 at 22:52
8

Could these have been Tom Swift, Jr. books by Victor Appleton II? For example, Tom Swift in the Race to the Moon had a black dust jacket.

Scan of spine, front cover, and overleaf of dust jacket

The books were also available without dust jackets. Those versions had a yellow spine and back cover. Those with dust jackets were blue underneath the dust jacket. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books looked similar in format, as they were from the same publisher.

That was the twelfth of thirty-three books. They could easily have had another book set in a moonbase. It seems to me that they established one after this book, perhaps in Tom Swift and His Space Solartron, the thirteenth book. That seems to have also been available in a black cover like

Photo of front cover

The hardbacks that I have are larger than a mass market paperback but smaller than other hardbacks. I store them with the paperbacks rather than on the larger shelves that hold other hardbacks.

They were written from 1954 to 1971, so they could have been in a school library in 1982.

The third series started release in 1981. The paperback that I read had a black cover. I don't know about the library versions. The third series were all space books, but I don't know that any were set on the moon.

Victor Appleton and Victor Appleton II were house names owned by the publisher, not the authors who wrote them.

2
  • 1
    Could it be 'Moon Base One' from the Chris Godfrey of Unexa series by Hugh Walters? It was published in 1960/ The books follow a young man (Chris Godfrey) who becomes an astronaut, and his American and Russian friends.
    – sueelleker
    Mar 21, 2018 at 7:01
  • Oh, good suggestions! The one thing I do have more than anything else is a picture of the covers (front and back) in my mind... of course, after 30+ years there's no guarantee it's an accurate picture, but I have a gut feeling I'll recognize it when I see it, and I can tell for sure it's not the Tom Swift one, and doing a Google search for Moon Base One I'm almost completely certain that's not it either. (I've spend most of my time doing Google image searches just looking at cover pics in my search by the way, since that seemed like my best bet). Thanks very much for trying! Mar 21, 2018 at 15:12
3

Just to try and close the loop on this, and especially on the chance that it could help others... I now have in my possession this fine collection of books:

enter image description here

There's one last one that's eluding me, but I'm on the hunt and it's just a matter of time before I complete the set :)

Now, the million-dollar question: are these ACTUALLY the right books? Well, they absolutely do check most of the boxes from my description, and there IS a feeling of familiarity to them when I flip through them, so the odds seem good they are. But, they don't EXACTLY match the picture in my head. Of course, we're talking about a picture that's somewhere around 40 years old now, so what's more likely, that these are the right books, or that my 40-year old memory is perfect?

Yeah, I'm gonna go with them being the right ones!

That said, if these AREN'T the right books, then I think I'm pretty much at the point where I believe I'll never find them and I'll just have to go to my grave with a picture in my head that is never EXACTLY fulfilled, and I think I can live with that.

But, like I said, the odds seem good - VERY good, even - that these ARE the right books. And, you know what? Even if they're not, this is a GREAT series and I'm VERY happy to have them in my hands!

So, to everyone that attempted to help pin these down, my heartfelt thanks to you all!! I may have never done it with out!!

2
  • Is there a reason that you accepted your self-answer rather than the April 19 answer that pointed you at the books? (Accepting the answer gives points to the answerer, which is a concrete way of saying thanks.)
    – RLH
    May 22, 2021 at 14:48
  • I was worried that was the case but wasn't sure, I was frankly just following what the other person said. I have selected the other answer now. May 22, 2021 at 18:17
2

There is a slim possibility that it was one of a set of sci-fi books by Bettina Rand. I remember seeing the hardcover editions in my school library in the UK in the 1990s. They were clearly aimed at children, but I never actually read one. To be honest, I got the feeling they might only have been sold to schools and not directly to children.

One of these - Space Bus to Vela - was published in 1980, fitting with your reading it in 1982, and we can see the cover image used moon landing photos:

enter image description here enter image description here

Then there was a sequel, D-Matt to Ororia (I don't know how to scale the image size down, sorry!):

enter image description here enter image description here

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    The first one isn't ringing the "winner!" bell, but you're right, it does meet many of the criteria, so I'm going to research that a bit just in case. The sequel definitely doesn't look like anything I remember, but there's no guarantee I ever saw the full set either, so it's not impossible. Thank you very much for the time and effort! Apr 18, 2021 at 15:20
  • @FrankW.Zammetti No probs - and I've found another, more likely series so keep an eye out for a new answer later today. Apr 19, 2021 at 10:42
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    Spaceteens on a Space Bus, lol. Gotta love those retro sensibilities.
    – Harabeck
    Apr 19, 2021 at 14:21

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