I had a sci-fi story collection in the 70s or early 80s. I'd like to identify the whole collection. I remember one story from it in particular.

The story I remember involved the (human) crew of a military or exploration vessel who crash on an unexplored planet. The humans are at war with an alien empire. The crew start exploring the planet and run into dangerous monsters that they recognise as coming from other planets that are nowhere near the one they've crashed on. The monsters include spider-like and mammoth-like creatures. It turns out that the enemy empire has a mining base on this planet and collected the monsters to defend the base. The humans, as I recall, trigger a stampede of the mammoth-like monsters to destroy the enemy base.

The collection had cover and interior illustrations in full colour. I think the cover illustration related to the story above.

EDIT: I think another story in the same collection featured some escaped criminals who crash on what they think is a deserted planet. This crew aren't all human -- there's a bird-like humanoid alien who has trouble breathing the atmosphere and dies. The survivors run into some spherical machine-monsters with tentacles. The planet turns out to be the home of an ancient race who are now disembodied intellects; the spherical machines are their servitors. As I recall, the intellects take over or kill the criminal leader and let the others escape.

  • Hi, welcome to the site. Are you trying to identify the specific collection you read the story in, or just the story itself? Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 7:28
  • Thanks, and good question! Both, if possible. I'll edit to clarify.
    – Uqbarian
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


Someone answered this on another site. In case anyone else happens to be looking for it, the collection is Space Wars: Fact and Fiction (Octopus Books, 1980) and the first story I was thinking of is 'Planet of Terror'. (The collection includes stories, short text pieces on space exploration, and comics about the adventures of Jason January, 'Space Cadet'.)

ISFDB link: https://isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?514055

Internet Archive link: https://archive.org/details/space-wars-facts-and-fictions-1980.-octopus/mode/2up

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