I'm looking for an old novel published in, I think, the late 60s or early 70s. The protagonist is a starship captain.

The novel begins with his trial for the possible destruction of an interstellar colony. The starship he commanded was to visit different colonies to see how they were doing. When he entered the system, another starship was detected leaving. They investigated the colony but found no one. The captain took a shuttle and detected a signal that guided him to a cave where he found a few survivors. However, they had been surgically/genetically modified into grotesque monsters (one eye instead of two, more arms and legs, etc). They begged him to kill them and he did. After the ship returned to Earth, he was placed on trial and forced to reveal this information.

The only other thing I remember is that the trial took place in San Francisco. There was also at least one sequel to the novel.

  • Hi Welcome to Sci-Fi.SE... Could you please help us by changing the title to a more descriptive and 'searchable' one? – Möoz Sep 26 '14 at 0:06
  • 1
    @Mooz - I was just thinking that. – Valorum Sep 26 '14 at 0:13
  • My first thought was Star Trek - Menagerie (mainly the San Francisco connection). Not sure if that was novelised, though: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Nigel Ellis Nov 18 '14 at 16:36
  • I used to own both this book and its sequel. I sold them years ago and can no longer remember the titles or the author. – Dosco Jones Nov 23 '14 at 17:34
  • sounds a bit like Star Trek: Prime Directive but that was published in the 90s. The words you are using definitely sound like a Star Trek novel however. – NKCampbell Dec 16 '15 at 20:23

This question has been bothering me since it was first posted. This morning I had a flash memory of a book cover. Could you be thinking of the books in the "Venturer Twelve" series by Dan Morgan and John Kippax? I can't find any plot synopses anywhere, but perhaps you can find a picture of the cover that will help trigger a memory. Try these links:



  • Here are links to covers of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th books in the series. – user14111 Dec 19 '15 at 3:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.