I read the book in the US in the 1970s, I thought it was called "Out There" but can't find it anywhere. It was about a space rocket struggling in some way, had a small crew I think of young people, one was named Ash or Ashley... And either he or one or all of the crew suffered from radiation sickness. I can't remember much more detail but it had a big impact on me as a young teen.

  • None of the SF novels on ISFDB titled "Out There" match your description; isfdb.org/cgi-bin/…
    – Valorum
    Nov 19, 2021 at 21:48
  • "You have to make it go bang". Pretty much the only part of that story that stuck with me, but it has, although I have no idea why.
    – TMN
    Nov 20, 2021 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


This sounds like "Space Hostages" by Nicholas Fisk. It was first published in 1967, which fits with your recollection of reading it in the 70s. A lieutenant takes control of a space ship and uses it to kidnap a group of children. One of them, a bit of a mummy's boy, was called Ashley. In the take off, the lieutenant overloaded the nuclear-powered motors, and as a consequence received a high radiation dose. He eventually dies of radiation sickness, leaving the children to bring the craft home themselves (with radio guidance from Earth).

  • Nice one, how'd you find it? Nov 19, 2021 at 22:50
  • 4
    @DoscoJones In the dusty corners of my memory ;) Nov 19, 2021 at 23:51
  • Wow, this sounds like it could be the one! Thanks!
    – Briarley
    Nov 21, 2021 at 11:24
  • 2
    Glad to help @Briarley ! If it turns out my answer is correct, can you click the check-mark to accept it? That way people will know the question has been answered. Nov 21, 2021 at 11:28

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