I'm trying to identify a book from my childhood that I vaguely remember. I remember that it involved racing ships against each other around various planets, where they would land on planets and refuel/repair.

Funny thing is, I can't remember if it was actually good or not; I kind of want to read it again, but I am wondering if it is like the Dark Crystal movie, and better left in my memory (re-watching that years later was a mistake...I remember it being such a good, exciting movie. Oops).

  • What do you mean? Dark Crystal is an awesome film...
    – Valorum
    Apr 25, 2015 at 19:07
  • Heh, sorry. I remember it being so great in my mind, and when I re-watched it about a year ago, I nearly fell asleep multiple times at how boring it felt. I honestly have no idea how I managed to watch it when I was younger, but it definitely didn't hold up in my mind to age. :)
    – Jon
    Apr 25, 2015 at 19:15

1 Answer 1


This sounds like the YA novel Rocket Jockey by Lester Del Rey.

"The story follows the heroic efforts of young man Jerry Blaine in his efforts to win the famous rocket race, the Armstrong Classic. Rocket Jockey is a part of the Winston Science Fiction set, a series of juvenile novels which have become famous for their influence on young science fiction readers and their exceptional cover illustrations by award winning artists."

I read this many years ago with fond memories. Enough that I recently re-read it--with some of the same trepidation you mention about "ruining" it by re-reading as an adult. :-)

While parts of it are certainly dated, in particular the depiction of Venus as a watery world vs. what we believe today, the overall story is more about the coming of age of the young protagonist than the technology itself. I think it, along with many of the other Winston set books I have recently been re-reading, are worth re-discovering.

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