This was a book of short sci-fi stories for boys. It was illustrated and probably aimed at somewhere like 6-9 year olds. I would have had this book in the 70s or 80s I think. In the UK.

The only story from it I remember concerned a boy who was beamed up from his bed and 'borrowed' in order to represent some aliens playing a ball game in zero gravity, against their enemies. The friendly race had identified him as being their saviour due to skills they'd observed from him on Earth. Obviously he wins, saves the day and then wakes up wondering whether it was all a dream. Then he finds an artefact by the bed which proves it definitely happened.. might have been a leather glove, baseball style.

  • Since you mention the baseball glove, was it indeed baseball they were playing?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 18:22
  • 1
    I don't think so, arguably I picture it more like Quidditch! Balls had to be thrown through hoops in the sky I think. And the opponent aliens were much larger and slower. Much of this could be wrong, it's just what I think I remember. Not much to go on I realise!
    – AndyT
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 23:05
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    A book that has come up a few time on this site is Purnells Book of Space Adventures also published as Galactic Adventures. It's aimed at the right age group came out in 1980 and does have a story about a child recruited to do battle against aliens called Kid Gladiator. However the particular details of that story are not a mach for what is described. Still it might help if we can discount it.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?578513
    – skyjack
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 3:20
  • This does sound familiar. Does a story about two stranded astronauts trying to navigate through a maze filled with deadly traps on hover bikes ring any bells. I wonder if that was in the same collection.
    – skyjack
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 3:28
  • WOW! I'm pretty sure that's it. Even the book cover looks familiar. That's amazing given the scant details... and that the details were wrong! I shall have to find a copy somewhere. THANK YOU!!
    – AndyT
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 8:13

1 Answer 1


Kid Gladiator from the anthology Galactic Adventures (also titled Purnells Book of Space Adventures).

I was able to ID this for several reasons, the age range you mentioned matches as does the general era of publication. The story Kid Gladiator featured a boy recruited to fight aliens. He uses his sports skills to defeat them and keeps a souvenir from the battle.

Although I had my doubts that this was exactly the story you were looking for you have confirmed it in the comments and note that the protagonist is skilled in tennis and not baseball as you had thought.

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