Reposting a search I have going on Goodreads, in search of more suggestions:

  • Age group: children (upper primary / elementary school - maybe 10-12yos).
  • Genre: SF
  • Date: 1950s to 80s (read it late 80s / no later than 1990).
  • Origin: unknown

Plot details (so far as I can remember):

A young spaceship pilot on some urgent mission flies his craft into a meteor storm / asteroid belt / bunch of space rocks of some kind. The first few bang off the ship harmlessly enough, but one then punctures it, causing air loss. He hurriedly applies a flexible patch, but it is too small and is sucked / blown out into space. He applies a bigger one, with much the same result. He eventually gets one big enough to hold.

I have no idea about anything else that may have happened in this book.

The space setting and simple idea (flying across space on some kind of rescue mission) makes me think this could be quite old (the hopeful era of space of the 1950s / 60s.)

It is also quite possible that this book comes from a series.

Progress so far (contains spoiler of another book):

I thought of this some time ago, but held off on posting it while trying to think of more details. I also thought it might come from an extended series (like Tom Swift,) which would make searching a somewhat massive tsk.

I came across something similar in First on the Moon by Hugh Walters, but it is not quite right. I am fairly confident that the pilot in the book I am looking for was solo, while the protagonist in FotM is accompanied by a Russian rival-turned-friend. More certainly, the solution is not the same (the two companions in FotM use their hands to plug the holes.) It also alludes to a flexible patch that pilots could use, perhaps meaning that this episode appeared in another book in the series. Unfortunately, the series runs to 20 books, so I haven't gotten very far.

I also had a look at Trapped in Space by Jack Williamson, but this doesn't match, either. There's a hole in a spaceship, but it's caused by a laser cannon, while the patch job is done with a spray gun.

1 Answer 1


I think that may be the short story “Rock Pilot” by Harry Harrison, first published in 1965, but it’s many decades since I read it and I don’t have access to a copy to check if the details match.

  • Thanks Mike. I can't get a description of the story, and the two anthologies it appears in are hard to find, so might take a while to check. Commented May 7, 2023 at 11:45

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