Ordinarily, I do not review novelizations of television or movie scripts. The volume of such things is so huge, the quality is almost always dreadful, and life is short. There are so many other books worth reading and writing about. But there are exceptions to every rule, so here I am reviewing Fred Hoyle and John Elliot's _Andromeda Breakthrough_ (1964), a sequel to their novel _A for Andromeda_ (1962) and -- like the first novel-- a novelization of a television script.
It is, I suppose, a passable enough thriller. But not (as some reviewers claim) of a James Bondian sort. No, this adventure is more in the vein of Alistair MacLean, loaded with stiff-upper-lip soldiers and politicians exchanging wisecracks over smokes and tea laced with a dollop of rum. In other pieces of writing, Hoyle nails the dialogue of scientists and other professionals to create a feeling of authenticity. The authors are less successful here, perhaps because they are writing for television. One example should serve:
"To hell with the icy roads," the Minister muttered pettishly. "What I want is some information about this Thorness business. Defence woke me at five. I didn't worry the P.M. for an hour. He took it badly, very badly. He's arranging a Cabinet for eleven. We must have useful material for him, Fothergill. If not a solution. I suppose we're still in as much of a fog as that bloody place in the highland mists."
Fothergill delicately laid a neatly typed sheet of quarto on the Minister's desk. "Not completely, sir," he murmured, "as you will gather from this precis of the position. It's a preliminary, of course, all that I have been able to compile in the--" he glanced at his wafer-thin wrist watch-- "seventy-five minutes."
"For God's sake," snapped the Minister irritably, "drop that ghastly jargon." (13)
Readers of the previous novel will not be greatly surprised to learn that reports of the death of Andre, that beautiful female android with the masculine name, were greatly exaggerated. Unfortunately, the distant planet of nasties in the Andromeda galaxy is also still active, and it is hatching a new plot to conquer Earth. Readers who are expecting Hoyle to perform at the same level as _The Black Cloud_ (1957), _Ossian's Run_ (1959), or _October the First Is Too Late_ (1966) will be disappointed. But readers who don't mind watching Hoyle doing a bit of slumming just may enjoy this novel.