Book Review: Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

A glance back to the future

Chaps of a certain age will remember April 14, 1950 when the first edition of the Eagle blasted off with the galactic adventures of Dan Dare. Now everytime I see the first issue cover reproduced somewhere I glance down to the bottom left corner to the see the Kingfisher zooming away from the headquarters of the Interplanet Space Fleet and I'm back in 1950.

The book is stuffed full of cutaways (I suppose it was a bit unrealistic to expect them all to be in color) of spacecraft from Dan's adventures over past decades. The illustrator Graham Bleathman has done a brilliant job creating these vehicles and a really nice touch is that they not super slick digital images as you would expect from, say, Daniel Simon but sort of up-to-date contemporary versions of those great Eagle centre-spread cutaways. All of them have numbers and captions explaining what everything does, there must be several hundred of these throughout the book.

Apart from the cutaways there are plenty of pages covering what's going on in space: Treen craft; alien identification; hand weapons, Space Fleet equipment; space stations; commercial craft (including one with pin-up nose art) and near the front of the book a couple of spreads with mug shots of the twenty-five leading characters, including Digby's aunt Anastasia.

Overall a lovely bit of nostalgia for those of a certain age.

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual) is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations (Owners' Workshop Manual)

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