James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Contributor

Reviews by Contributor: Jones, Raymond F. (1)

Not the Neil Gaiman Stardust

The Year When Stardust Fell

By Raymond F. Jones  

4 Oct, 2015


If you’re a North American of my age and you read science fiction in any quantity (especially via public libraries), then the odds are pretty good that you encountered at least a few of the Winston Science Fiction juveniles and you would be familiar with this logo.

I had toyed with the idea of reviewing the whole line, but I discovered, to my great annoyance, that there are almost forty books in the line and not one of them was written by a woman. Doing such a series would also do deplorable things to the gender ratio stats for my reviews1.

Instead, I decided to pick one example to give an idea of what the line was like. It was tough to decide between Raymond F. Jones’ 1958 The Year When Stardust Fell and Five Against Venus, Philip Latham’s 1952 epic tale of a thinly disguised Robinson family2 who aim for the Moon but end up on Venus, where they encounter man-bats. I really liked the man-bats, and the notion of a Swiss family Robinson in SPAAACE was … ah … deliciously predictable. I finally decided that the Jones novel was more influential.

The Year When Stardust begins innocently enough.

Read more ➤