The Catacombs The Merchandise Guide
Novelisations
Novels Guide
Compiled by Martin Willey

ROGUE PLANET by E C Tubb

Rogue Planet Rogue Planet

Original Novel

Orbit: (nbr 9; pp5-143) ISBN 0 8600 7926 0 Aug 1976 ; 50p (Can $1.50)
Arthur Barker: (no nbr; pp5-143) ISBN 0 213 16632 1 Dec 1976 ; £2.95
Pocket: (nbr 9; pp9-160) 0-671-80710-2 Sep 1976 ; $1.50
Powys Revised text First edition had font issues and was withdrawn.
Second edition with improved Tubb bibliography
1st edition November 2019
2nd edition October 2020

Tubb's agent adapted the book into a non-Space: 1999 novella, Destroyer of Worlds. The setting was shifted to the spaceship Ad Astra, led by Command Maddox and Dr Claire Allard. This was published in The E C Tubb Boxset, published by Lume Books, 29 Dec 2016.

The nightmare inducing rogue planet is called the Omphalos (Greek for navel, referring to a stone or artifact at the centre of the world). In 1980 E C Tubb wrote Pawn of the Omphalos, reusing the name and some themes.

Many and strange have been the adventures of Moon Base Alpha and its crew since the atomic waste pits on the dark side of the Moon exploded and sent them careering out of Earth orbit, deep into unexplored space.

Always they have managed to overcome their perils and continue their strange Odyssey. Now, at last they seem to have reached the end of the road, as caught in a weird cone of force emanating from a sentient planet, they find themselves ageing at an incredible rate and powerless to break free.

ROGUE PLANET is ninth in this spell-binding series based on ATV's spectacular SPACE 1999.

"TURN BACK, FOR DEATH AWAITS YOU!"

The chill warning echoes from the depths of the unknown, shattering the icy silence of space. But the bold Alphans must spin faster and faster toward an electrifying confrontation with their unknown enemy.

Ageless against the stars stands Omphalos.

A giant green "brain," this galactic monster spins a web of deadly horrors, trapping Alpha in a ghastly psychic war!

Barker novels flyleaf

A period of respite as the Moon seems to be passing through an empty area of space encourages the inhabitants of Moon base Alpha to relax.

Part of the leisure activities includes a performance of Hamlet. Suddenly, as the ghost makes his first entry, his words are distorted into a grim warning to the Alphans to turn back or else. Many in the audience suffer hallucinations and a patient in the medical block goes beserk.

But there is no turning back. And there is still nothing to see. The medical team produces a drug which will at least partially counteract the hallucinatory powers of this strange force the Moon is being drawn towards, though some Alphans still die gruesomely as they cross the invisible barrier into the rogue planet's orbit. More die, almost instantly aged to the point of senility, as they carry out essential repairs to outside structures of the base, The strange brain-like planet is steadily sucking energy from the Moon, from its own manufactured supplies and from its inhabitants, as it still is from the small planetoid the Alphans can see also trapped in its orbit.

Eagles are sent to investigate the planetoid, only for one of the crews to be trapped in a strange mausoleum, filled with dead aliens. Commander Koenig and his party rescue them, then he heads off for possibly his last mission an orbit round the rogue planet. When he in turn is rescued, he is aged and suffering from the dreaded hallucinations.

It is a matter of time before the Moon is destroyed as the planetoid has been or can summon enough energy to destroy the rogue.

Powys

As the Moon travels through interstellar space, the Alphans receive a portentous warning to go no further, to turn back "for death awaits". They pass through wave after wave of terror-inducing and despair-filled attacks upon their psyches, finally entering the realm of the Omphalos, a pocket universe with no escape... except death.


Copyright Martin Willey