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Monday, October 09, 2017

Space Ace volume 9

There are more classic Fifties space adventures in the latest issue of Space Ace, which packs three tales into its 40 pages. Or, looked at another way, five tales, as the lead story for this issue is a combination, cleverly edited, of three otherwise unremarkable stories that make a far better yarn together than they did on their original appearance in 1957-58.

As editor John Lawrence explains, Ron Turner didn't always have a smooth ride when it came to producing his Space Ace tales for Lone Star Magazine and tight deadlines sometimes meant he was rushed, or the stories were repetitive. With a deft bit of editing and the addition of John Ridgway's gorgeous colour, 'Space Ace and the Fire Ship' is bulked out from its original appearance when, Lawrence explains, it had a good beginning, a good ending but sagged in the middle, into a story that now jets along at FTL speed as Ace and Bill try to resolve a situation that could turn the Earth into a cinder.

A fire creature from Sirius lands in the Arizona desert, the land around him dissolving in the extreme heat. Ace is tasked with obtaining a crystal from the Arcturians that will allow the fire creatures to power their ship away from Earth before a chain reaction causes a fatal planet-wide explosion.

And we're off... on an intergalactic adventure that sees Ace arrive on the planet Formondia, only to find the Arcturians are flooding it for their own aquatic needs. The continents are disappearing and the locals risk suffocation as the hydrogen and oxygen required to create water are being taken from the atmosphere.

To reveal more would spoil the plot. Let's just say that their trip back to Earth isn't without incident.

Two seven-page back-up strips complete the issue. 'Space Ace & the Weed of Death' finds Ace and Bill arriving on a planet where the population has been forced into living in a flying city because of a man-eating (or, in this case, Zigor-eating) plant that has smothered the land below. 'Space Ace & the Plunderers', meanwhile, begins with the evacuation of a planet of the Raxor system which has become riven by earthquakes and sudden volcanic activity – as have three others in the same system. The United Planets Organisation are not convinced that the disturbances are natural and Ace and Bill are sent to investigate. It's not a plot spoiler to say that the UPO is right and soon discover a strange alien craft burrowing into a neighbouring planet.

John has penned a companion piece that traces the early history of Space Ace in the pages of Lone Star Magazine, which will continue next issue.

You can get hold of this latest volume for £8.95 (UK) or £12.50 (Europe) and £14.50 (International) including p&p — and that's pretty much at cost, I can assure you — with payments through Paypal via spaceace.54 AT virginmedia.com or by cheque or postal order to John Lawrence, 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Beds. LU5 4RB

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