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The world at bay Hardcover – 1953

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great science fiction for kids 18 Mar. 2008
By Mark Newbold - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I read this book back in elementary school (many times) and it is still fresh in my memory. A classic outer space invasion of earth with the events centered in London and the surrounding area. The characters are fullbodied, the action well paced and plausible. It was a great mix of "War of the Worlds" elements with juvenile "Tell me Professor" moments of speculation. This is one book for kids that needs reprinted.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Aliens on the Loose! 15 Oct. 2014
By DELee - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The World at Bay is a “young adult” science fiction novel by Paul Capon, a moderately prolific British writer of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. It’s Capon’s only contribution to the Winston Science Fiction Series, which introduced many of today’s older SF fans to the genera when they were in their teens. World at Bay, originally published in 1953, is a fairly typical alien invasion story that bears some resemblance to Footfall, not because it approaches the sophistication of Niven and Pournelle but because the invaders bear a resemblance to familiar creatures – elephants in Footfall, toads in World at Bay – and they are not evil incarnate in the mode of Wells’ Martians. As a species they have a real problem they need to solve, but they don’t engage in mass slaughter of Earthlings. We still can’t let them move in uninvited.

The unwelcome visitors come from a planet circling a nearby dark star that has been discovered by radar astronomy. The discoverer of this world also finds radar targets heading toward Earth and attempts to warn governments of a possible invasion from space. Of course, the warning is ignored until alien ships are following the line of sunrise around the world and leaving silence in their wake. In London the story’s protagonists manage to figure out the invaders’ tactics, and are able to alert the Western Hemisphere to an effective countermeasure. They are captured and are reasonably well-treated until the story reaches its climax on an arctic ice field. It's a fast-paced story and the characters are surprisingly well-developed for such a short novel targeted to the youth market.

There are a few technical and social flaws in World at Bay. The capacity of radar to detect objects at interstellar distances seems unlikely. (Earth-based radar did produce rough maps of the surface of Venus before hardware orbiting that planet gave us the fine surface detail maps we now have, so maybe it could reveal a planet-size body a few light years away.) The story says that before the discovery of the dark star, Sirius was thought to be the closest star. Not true. It’s been known for centuries that the stars of the Alpha Centauri system are closest to Earth. On the social side, the 17-year-old hero is already a cigarette addict. That’s not the best role model for teens in the 1950s, or today for that matter!

If you read this book in the 1950s the new e-book edition is an enjoyable retrogression to your early years as an SF aficionado. Those born after 1960 may find it interesting to see what their parents and grandparents were reading when they were in their teens. It should be a fun read for people of all ages.
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