I am trying to identify a short story in a children's anthology of Science Fiction stories. I read it in the early 1980's in the UK. The book was illustrated and had the look of the hardback "annuals" that came out around Christmas time.

Probably there were six to ten stories in the book. The only one I remember clearly concerned two astronauts stranded on a planet. They radio to another ship for help and only receive a partial message which they interpret as instructions to traverse a deadly alien maze. I recall they use motorbikes or probably hover bikes. I recall a particular scene in which just before entering the maze they shine their headlights into the tunnel entrance to the maze and are frightened by the jagged rocks and long shadows. There was a twist ending.

In the end, neither astronaut survives crossing the maze and the twist is that the complete message was telling them not to attempt the crossing as a rescue party was coming to them.

The book is not Purnell's Book of Space Adventures (also published as Galactic Adventures), also not Space Wars: Fact and Fiction although the format is very similar. We can also rule out Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys even though the idea of the deadly maze is similar.

Finally the short story (not the anthology as a whole) may have a title along the lines of "A Maze of Death" but it is definitely not the Phillip K. Dick story.

  • 1
    That sounds rather like a story from a kids annual that I read a lot - but that was from no later than the 1950s. It was more of less a graphic novel (comic) but with more writing. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 8:43
  • @PonderStibbons do you remember the name of the annual by any chance, almost certainly it would be the one I am looking for.
    – skyjack
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 7:51
  • I will make a note to try to find it. Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 8:53
  • @PonderStibbons many thanks!
    – skyjack
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 3:08


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.