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In 1972-73 I remember reading a novel I found in the children's section of a local public library, which was a science fiction tale about drilling deep into the Earth's crust, loosely based on a real American drilling project of the 1950s/1960s known as Project Moho. The real project was an unsuccessful attempt to penetrate to something called the Mohorovic Discontinuity Layer, deep underground.

As far as I remember there were other novels in the series, all of which were set in Outer Space and involved voyages of exploration to different planets in the solar system; but I think the Moho Project was the first story in the series. I recall there being about half a dozen books altogether.

There wasn't much linking the various stories, except that they all featured pretty much the same characters (AFAIK there were three or four regulars, all male and all adults).

Unfortunately I can't recall the name of the author. And apart from a vague recollection that the title of the first book made some reference to the Moho project (and may have referred to it, somewhat inaccurately, as 'Project Mohole'), I can't recall any of the titles.

Project Moho was a real life scientific investigation that began in the USA in 1958. As the first book was based upon it, the novel must have been written after 1958 - but sometime prior to me reading it in 1972/73.

Can anyone suggest either a possible name for the author, or for the title of the book? Thanks for any suggestions.

  • 1
    How about The Mohole Mystery? – user14111 Apr 18 '18 at 10:16
  • Hmm. I remember reading a story like that. It was a short story, though, with a definite "mother earth" vibe. The story ended as they drilled really deep and blood came out - the "children" (humanity)/had killed the mother (earth.) – JRE Apr 18 '18 at 10:19
  • @JRE In Nelson Bond's short story "And Lo! the Bird" the planets are giant eggs, and they are drilling a hole deep into the earth in a race to kill the bird before it hatches. – user14111 Apr 18 '18 at 10:25
  • see also scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/154929/… – Otis Apr 27 '18 at 20:17
11

You're thinking of Hugh Walters and his "Chris Godfrey of U.N.E.X.A. (United Nations Exploration Agency)" series. The eleventh volume was The Mohole Mystery, published in 1968. I'm afraid the entire series is long out of print.

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A drilling project in Dudley in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom hits a cavern 20 miles beneath the surface of the Earth and detects strange microbes. UNEXA send Russian Serge Smylov down to search for other forms of life in a rocket-propelled capsule but it is damaged when it hits the bottom of the cavern. Then strange creatures start attacking him...

  • Thank you. Even though I can't read it, as it's out of print, this does sound like the novel I was remembering. Looking it up on Wikipedia, it seems to be part of a series that exactly matches my recollections from 1973, with various of the other books featuring trips to planets in the solar system. Accordingly, I've accepted your answer. I do have excellent sources, however, and may be able to obtain a library or ex-library copy (which is why I was anxious to identify the author). If I can get a copy, I'll post back here to confirm details, but I may be some time in reading all 20 volumes! – Ed999 Apr 26 '18 at 14:27
  • For future reference, there were 20 volumes, this novel The Mohole Mystery was volume 11, and only 13 of them were in print in 1972/73. The remainder were published by 1979. – Ed999 Apr 26 '18 at 14:30

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