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Back in the 1960s I read a series of science fiction books for children. They dealt with a project about sending spaceships (that looked very much like flying saucers) to the moon. At some stage, two of the spaceships were filled with oxygen and deliberately crashed on the moon, thus giving it an atmosphere that humans could breathe (no kidding!).

The hero of the books was a boy who also got to the moon.

If I remember correctly, two of the spaceships were called "Cephesus" and "Daner" or something like that.

Can anybody tell me the title and/or author of these books?

  • I believe you're referring to the Tom Swift series of books. – user69785 Aug 4 '16 at 23:40
  • No, it's not that. – oz1cz Aug 6 '16 at 14:43
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I was sure I read this book a long, long time ago. If it's the right one, then the author is Paul Berna.

Paul Berna also wrote science fiction novels, the best known being La Porte des étoiles (Threshold of the Stars) and its sequel Le Continent du Ciel (Continent in the Sky).

I remember that Threshold of the Stars (La Porte des étoiles*), 1954, had a space project involving spaceships that may have resembled flying saucers and they did give the Moon a breathable atmosphere. I'm sure I didn't read the sequel nor was I aware of its existence or if I did I had completely forgotten it. That fact worried me because I didn't think Threshold of the Stars was part of a series, but I was wrong.

My impression of Paul Berna was that he was primarily a realist writer for children. But it seems there were some science-fiction books too. Mostly untranslated into English it seems.

It was hard to forget the book because it was so quirky.

  • I think you are right. That sounds very much like the books I'm looking for. I've ordered the books from my local library. I'll let you know if they are the books I read as a child. (Imagine this question being answered after three years on this forum.) – oz1cz Jun 18 '18 at 19:28
  • @oz1cz Three years!? I found your question recently. Paul Berna seems right. The oxygen bombs giving the Moon a breathable felt wrong even when I was a child. Very hard to forget that, and also it was French science-fiction. Thanks for bringing back the memories. I would be glad to find out if these are the books. If they are the books, I will see if I can get my library to find copies too. Interesting to re-read them. I've been having fun reading books from my childhood. Some stand up well, others feel quite odd. – a4android Jun 19 '18 at 8:20
  • Yes, three years. I asked the question in May 2015. :-) Anyway, I got "La Porte des étoiles" and "Continent du Ciel" from the library today, and they are indeed exactly the books I was looking for! So thank you very much for your help. – oz1cz Jun 22 '18 at 13:41
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    @oz1cz Glad to help. You have whetted my appetite to go back and revisit them. I vaguely remember La Porte des étoiles as reasonably good, but it boggled my mind when they gave the Moon an atmosphere. I don't think I read Continent in the Sky or knew of its existence. Something to look forward to. – a4android Jun 23 '18 at 2:02

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