I read a kid's chapter book from my school library in 1988. I remember it was 1988 because that was the year George H. W. Bush was inaugurated and the whole school watched it on TV, and that's the only year I was at that school.

The book was a science fiction chapter book, almost certainly paperback. I was in second grade and was a good reader, but this was a stretch even for me.

I only recall a little bit, because I didn't finish the book. There was an invisible alien spaceship parked in a field, and the main character somehow got on board. He tried to escape by jumping off the spaceship, but a force field bounced him back. There was possibly a second character, possibly a girl, but I could be imagining that bit. I don't recall any alien characters, but again, I didn't finish the book.

My recollection is that this book was set in the regular world. I.e., not in a future world where aliens and spaceships are commonplace. So the invisible spaceship and force field were a big deal.

So really, all I have to go on is:

  1. Kids or Young Adult chapter book
  2. English
  3. Published 1988 or prior
  4. Invisible spaceship
  5. Force field
  6. Jumping into the force field and being bounced back

I'm afraid I don't recall the cover art. I do have a mental image of a towering spaceship that looks more like a building with a balcony than a stereotypical rocketship or UFO, but I suspect that's my mental image of the scene where the kid jumps off the spaceship and gets bounced back by the force field. So, not actually the cover art.

  • 1
    As I remember George H.W. Bush was elected in November, 1988 and inaugurated in January, 1989. The typical school year the USA, and probably in many other countries, goes from about September in one year to June in the next year. Therefore, it is possible that you were in that school in 1988 to 1989 and not merely in 1988. Jan 17 '20 at 17:45
  • Of course, you're right! 1989. Yes, it was 1989. I was in second grade, I started at that school after Christmas, and we watched the inauguration. So it would have had to be 1989, not 1988.
    – Kenny
    Jan 17 '20 at 21:02
  • 1
    I'm flashing on a Sylvia Engdahl book. Enchantress from the Stars?
    – mkennedy
    Jan 19 '20 at 8:22
  • 1
    Working on phone and can't edit my comment. Engdahl's book is for older kids than 2nd grade so unlikely.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 19 '20 at 8:23
  • At first glance none of Sylvia Engdahl's books look familiar. I'll take a closer look this evening after church. I've been searching for this book literally for years, so anything is worth a shot at this point. Thanks for suggesting Engdahl. I'd never heard of her before.
    – Kenny
    Jan 19 '20 at 15:34

Long shot:

"The Sometimes Invisible Spaceship" by Charles Bowles (1988)

Solely on title and date

  • 1
    Thanks. I can't find any cover art or plot summary of "The Sometimes Invisible Spaceship" on the internet, so I've requested it through inter-library loan. It looks like it was published in either late 1987 or 1988. I think that makes it unlikely it was my book--I read my book in the first half of 1988, and our library wouldn't likely have had new books--but it's worth a shot.
    – Kenny
    Jan 16 '20 at 21:28
  • I could find nothing about it either. Jan 16 '20 at 21:34
  • The librarian just informed me that they could not get the book through inter-library loan. So I guess I'll be scouring eBay and AbeBooks to buy a used copy.
    – Kenny
    Jan 31 '20 at 3:34
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    I got "The Sometimes Invisible Spaceship" in the mail yesterday. I don't think it's the book I remember. I'll read it, maybe over the weekend, and let you know for sure.
    – Kenny
    Feb 6 '20 at 17:03
  • I'm about halfway through "The Sometimes Invisible Spaceship" and it's not the book I'm looking for. There's no forcefield, and so far the spaceship isn't invisible. Also, and I'm putting this nicely, it's not a professionally published book. It's put out by Aegina Press, and it's clearly a vanity publisher. I think the book has been proofread for typos, but that's it. The plot reads like a collection of bedtime stories that the author told to his grandkids, complete with silly voices and accents and possibly some family inside jokes. The cover illustration is also by a family member.
    – Kenny
    Feb 12 '20 at 23:06

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