After discovering and enjoying The Runaway Robot I went in search of something similar to read. Fortunately, I had become friends with our reading teacher. She had inherited a room with many shelves and boxes of books. Two of my friends and I offered to give up a few recess periods a week to organize the books. First we unpacked and alphabetized the books. Then we created a card catalog. It was an interesting experience that made us appreciate librarians.
I knew I wanted to read more books like The Runaway Robot but I did not know what authors to look for. The Winston Science Fiction series came to my rescue. The rocket ship logo was a visible clue that led the way to the science fiction treasure in our reading room.
For those of you not fortunate enough to have experienced the Winston series, here is a short explanation from Wikipedia.
Juvenile science fiction hard covers had been published for some time prior to the beginning of the Winston series, most notably the Tom Swift series published from 1910-1941. However, as the Tom Swift series declined, and the economic pressures of World War II escalated, juvenile offerings became slim.
The Winston Publishing Company had a history of publishing material for youth since the early part of the 20th century, such as the Young People's Library of Entertainment and Amusement and The Forward Series for Boys and Girls. After the publication of Robert A. Heinlein's Rocket Ship Galileo in 1947 revived the juvenile science fiction market, The Winston Publishing Company decided to develop a juvenile science fiction series that would be set apart from the pulp fiction of its time. Known and respected SF authors were hired, and each novel was to include a factual forward explaining the science and technology referenced in the novel. The publisher's announcement of the series in Publishers Weekly clearly outlines the goals of the series:
Five compelling tales designed TO SELL to the expanding science fiction market! Only writers who have won the respect of the science fiction audience have been signed to write these accurate yet absorbing books. Each contains an explanation of new terms and a discussion of its scientific aspects. ... For all ages.For my fifth grade mind, this was like hitting it big in the lottery. This series introduced me to many new authors and expanded my definition of science fiction. I learned to explore the ocean depths through titles like Attack from Atlantis and Sons of the Ocean Deeps. I traveled through the Solar System by reading Battle on Mercury, Five Against Venus, Marooned on Mars, Missing Men of Saturn, The Secret of Saturn's Rings, Trouble on Titan, Rocket to Luna, and others. The titles alone are enough to bring back happy memories of those days.
My favorite from that series was a book called The Star Conquerors. Imagine my surprise when I found the science fiction magazines and saw the name of the author of The Star Conquerors listed as the editor of Analog. And to this day, Ben Bova is still writing good science fiction books. Every time he releases a new book, I smile and remember the days when I first discovered science fiction.
Winston Science Fiction(list courtesy of Wikipedia)
- Earthbound by Milton Lesser, cover by Peter Poulton (1952)
- Find the Feathered Serpent by Evan Hunter, cover by Henry Sharp (1952)
- Five Against Venus by Philip Latham (Robert S. Richardson), cover by Virgil Finlay (1952)
- Islands in the Sky by Arthur C. Clarke, cover by Alex Schomburg (1952)
- Marooned on Mars by Lester Del Rey, cover by Paul Orban (1952)
- Mists of Dawn by Chad Oliver, cover by Alex Schomburg (1952)
- Rocket Jockey by Philip St. John (Lester Del Rey), cover by Alex Schomburg (1952)
- Son of the Stars by Raymond F. Jones, cover by Alex Schomburg (1952)
- Number 1 in the Clonar series
- Sons of the Ocean Deeps by Bryce Walton, cover by Paul Orban (1952)
- Vault of the Ages by Poul Anderson, cover by Paul Orban (1952)
- Attack from Atlantis by Lester Del Rey, cover by Kenneth Fagg (1953)
- Battle on Mercury by Erik Van Lhin (Lester del Rey), cover by Kenneth Fagg (1953)
- Danger: Dinosaurs! by Richard Marsten (Evan Hunter), cover by Alex Schomburg (1953)
- Missing Men of Saturn by Philip Latham, cover by Alex Schomburg (1953)
- The Mysterious Planet by Kenneth Wright (Lester Del Rey), cover by Alex Schomburg (1953)
- Mystery of the Third Mine by Robert W. Lowndes, cover by Kenneth Fagg (1953)
- Planet of Light by Raymond F. Jones, cover by Alex Schomburg (1953)
- Number 2 in the Clonar series
- Rocket to Luna by Richard Marsten (Evan Hunter), cover by Alex Schomburg (1953)
- The Star Seekers by Milton Lesser, cover by Paul Calle' (1953)
- Vandals of the Void by Jack Vance, cover by Alex Schomburg (1953)
- Rockets to Nowhere by Philip St. John (Lester Del Rey), cover by Alex Schomburg (1954)
- The Secret of Saturn's Rings by Donald A. Wollheim, cover by Alex Schomburg (1954)
- The Year After Tomorrow edited by Lester Del Rey, Carl Carmer & Cecile Matschat, cover and illustrated by Mel Hunter (1954)
- Step to the Stars by Lester Del Rey, cover by Alex Schomburg (1954)
- Number 1 in the Jim Stanley series
- Trouble on Titan by Alan E. Nourse, cover by Alex Schomburg (1954)
- The World at Bay by Paul Capon, cover by Alex Schomburg (1954)
- The Ant Men by Eric North, cover by Paul Blaisdell (1955)
- Secret of the Martian Moons by Donald A. Wollheim, cover by Alex Schomburg (1955)
- The Lost Planet by Paul Dallas, cover by Alex Schomburg (1956)
- Mission to the Moon by Lester Del Rey, cover by Alex Schomburg (1956)
- Number 2 in the Jim Stanley series
- Rockets Through Space by Lester Del Rey, cover and illustrated by James Heugh (1957)
- Special Companion Book (nonfiction)
- The Year When Stardust Fell by Raymond F. Jones, cover by James Heugh (1958)
- The Secret of the Ninth Planet by Donald A. Wollheim, cover by James Heugh (1959)
- The Star Conquerors by Ben Bova, cover by Mel Hunter (1959)
- Stadium Beyond the Stars by Milton Lesser, cover by Mel Hunter (1960)
- Moon of Mutiny by Lester Del Rey, cover by Ed Emshwiller (1961)
- Number 3 in the Jim Stanley series
- Spacemen, Go Home by Milton Lesser, cover by Ed Emshwiller (1961)
Tomorrow I finish move on to the Tom Swift Jr. series.