Looking for the title of a book. A spaceship malfunction results in an individual being turned inside out with their organs now on the outside of their body. They are still alive, for a moment.

This is a vague starting point, as there are many similar stories of horrific ways to die in space of course. I do know:

  • it was from a school library, so probably juvenile fiction.
  • this was not from a mainstream franchise such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, etc. It is a standalone book.
  • the character was a passenger, or perhaps junior officer; basically a red-shirt. Their purpose was just to die and be everted, without any more meaningful purpose to the story.
  • perhaps militaristic. I want to say it happens on a military ship, but could be completely wrong as I also want (less) to say it happens on a passenger liner. It's a larger ship, not for individuals.
  • I read it in approximately 1983, so publication must have been 1985 at the latest. Likely 1980ish as I believe the book was relatively new.
  • I don't recall the nature of the malfunction, but I believe it was some sort of "warp anomaly" or "hyperspace accident" without remembering if the words warp or hyperspace were actually used. Perhaps FTL accident fits better.
  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! Yow, that sounds rough for juvenile fiction! :) Do you recall what the cover art was?
    – DavidW
    May 3, 2022 at 18:23
  • 2
    Welcome to SF&F! Time travel in real life? You read it in 1983 so it was published in 1985 at the latest? I am guessing this is a typo...you can fix it by clicking on "Edit" under the tags.
    – Basya
    May 3, 2022 at 18:57
  • 1983 was an approximation, so I was leaving a bit of leeway in case my memory was wrong. Stardeath did in fact get published in 1983. Mainstream franchise was meant to exclude mass produced series like those mentioned and reinforce that this was a standalone story.
    – Doug
    May 3, 2022 at 19:04
  • In the Chandler story, an engineer is turned inside out when he is accidentally pushed into the field around the Mannschen drive during an argument in the engineroom - not when the drive malfunctioned.
    – JRE
    May 3, 2022 at 19:46
  • @JRE Thanks for the correction.
    – user14111
    May 3, 2022 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


Could it be E.C. Tubb's Stardeath?

Front cover of Stardeath

Ships occasionally disappeared in hyperspace, regrettable sacrifices to the luxury of faster-than-light travel. But now one of the lost ships has been found, and the wreckage is enough to terrify even the most cold-blooded witness.

The lucky ones on the lost ship are dead. The other have been turned inside-out in gruesome parody of human beings and they are still alive.

The disgraced Captain Kurt Varl is chosen to command a suicide mission to discover the cause of these disasters.

The enemy is unknown and the only way Varl can solve the mystery is to use himself as bait!

Found with a search for science fiction novel hyperspace "turned inside out"

  • 3
    That's the one. I had searched this many times when the urge struck. Apparently "hyperspace" was a critical key word as other variations do not pop it up for me.
    – Doug
    May 3, 2022 at 18:57
  • 4
    It can be weird what terms trigger and which do not.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 3, 2022 at 19:05

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