Looking for a book which I read in the 70s, which opens with the narrator, who is some sort of 20th/21st century astronaut, waking from a hugely over-extended suspended animation in the distant future on board his spacecraft. The first thing he witnesses is the destruction of the Earth which is somehow tugged into the sun by force-fields from a fleet of super-powerful spacecraft.

That image has stayed with me for 40+ years, but I have little other recollection of the story (my suspicion is that our hero somehow contributes to the valiant and ultimately victorious human resistance against overwhelmingly powerful alien forces, yadayada). I think I read it around 1976—1978, in paperback in the UK, but I don't think it was a new book then so I would guess it's from the 1960s. Although I was perhaps 8—10 when I read it, it wasn't a children's book (and "YA" didn't exist then of course).

  • Of course "YA"books existed then. They used to be called juveniles.
    – user14111
    Aug 25, 2021 at 11:31
  • 9
    Back in the golden age YA science fiction just used to be called "science fiction" :-) Aug 25, 2021 at 11:44
  • 2
    @JohnRennie Thomas Disch once wrote an essay arguing that science fiction as a whole could usefully be regarded as a branch of "children's literature"
    – user888379
    Aug 25, 2021 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


After World's End by Jack Williamson (1939)

Protagonist Barry Horn is hired by an eccentric scientist to test the first manned rocket ship. He takes an experimental drug meant to protect him from cosmic rays. Alas, the drug puts him into suspended animation for a hundred thousand years.

When he wakes, the galaxy has been settled by man and a galactic empire formed. A scientist has invented a hyper-intelligent robot named Malgarth. The robot takes financial control of the Robot Corporation, and proceeds to become the de facto ruler of the galaxy.

The robot starts his campaign of galactic genocide, attempting to kill all human beings and replace them with robots. An underground resistance rises among the humans, trying to stop Malgarth.

Malgarth decides to destroy the planet Earth, center of the rebellion. A robot fleet uses a new weapon to yank Earth out of its orbit and hurl it into the sun.

The story can be read online here

  • 4
    After World's End has previously been asked about here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/28973/…
    – Buzz
    Aug 25, 2021 at 13:05
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    Definitely the right answer. Thank you! I'd forgotten about the Mirror Of Darkness! I was certainly a Williamson fan, and probably picked this up second-hand. Aug 25, 2021 at 14:17
  • 1939... Not too terribly different from Palpatine's takeover, the Galactic Empire, and the Death Star. Just with a bit of Terminator sprinkled on top. Aug 25, 2021 at 23:06

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