Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review And Commentary On The Free Old School Science Fiction Download Missing Men of Saturn (1953.Winston) by Phillip Latham For Your Old School Space Opera Campaign

Missing Men of Saturn 1st Edition Dust Jacket.jpg
 Download it Right Over
 According To Wiki:

The story concerns Dale Sutton's mission to the dreaded planet Saturn from which no one has ever returned.
 First during 1953, by astronomer and author Robert S. Richardson as (Philip Latham) with cover illustration by Alex Schomburg

This tale is one that I ran across back in grammar school back in the early Seventies in our school library. The cover featured a Wernher Von Braun style rocket ship on the planet Saturn by the great Alex Stromberg. It was a great tale to reference for a Star Frontiers campaign I had going back in the late 80's. I came  across the book at a tag sale for .25 cents.
This was another Winston series book that had a pretty strong tale coupled with known scientific facts about the planet Saturn of the time.
 Much of the material is perfect for a retro future campaign. Much of the material could be incorporated into a solar system heavy campaign. Both Star Frontiers and the T$R era Buck Rogers game would be perfect  from this sort of treatment that we find in  'Missing Men From Saturn'.
The plot according to Wiki : 

The story concerns Dale Sutton's mission to the dreaded planet Saturn from which no one has ever returned. Missing Men of Saturn is a part of the Winston Science Fiction set, a series of juvenile novels which have become famous for their influence on young science fiction readers and their exceptional cover illustrations by award winning artists.

This was a tight little novel, perfect for an outer world campaign actually. The author was an interesting writer in his own right. According To Wiki : Robert Shirley Richardson (April 22, 1902 – November 12, 1981)[1] was an American astronomer, born in Kokomo, Indiana. He also published science fiction using the pseudonym Philip Latham.IMDB had more about Mr. Richardson :
 He is known for his work on Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949), The War of the Worlds (1953) and Conquest of Space (1955). He died in November 1981.

 Using The Missing Men of Saturn For Your OSR Campaign 

Missing Men of Saturn 1st Edition Dust Jacket.jpg

There are two possible ways of using the 'Missing Men of Saturn'. The first is to use the novel as a zero level adventure for a game such as X plorers where the crew are on an ill fated mission of exploration and in way, way, over their heads.
The second is as a follow up mission using a much larger crew to determine the fate of the first crew of Dale Sutton's mission. The other possible way of using this tale is take much of the planetary material ad hoc and use it as part of the basis for a campaign. Perhaps a mining or survey mission style adventure on one of Saturn's outer moons for a more modern approach such as we have in the Stars Without Numbers rpg. 
All in all this is a fun little novel to grab and play around with. This novel comes from a much more innocent time period and much of the material while dated can still make a great retro future campaign. 

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