William F. Temple's Martin Magnus series
First published in the 1950's, this fantastic series gripped me as a teenage boy.
Over the years I've been contacted by many people who remembered the books, and wished they were still in print. One of those people was Willam F. Temple's daughter. Fortunately, she still has the rights to the books! (Temple himself passed away in 1989, and I'm afraid to say I never had the chance to meet him or tell him how much I appreciated his novels.)
The series is based in a gentler era, when the planets of the solar system were a total mystery and aliens could just have likely come from Jupiter or Mercury as Alpha Centauri.
The main character, Martin Magnus, is a sanguine Londoner who loathes pompous officials and ... but why not find out for yourself?
"You're quite sure? There's nothing more you can do?"
"I've tried everything I know. I've had some troublesome double images before, but never one so obstinate as this."
There seemed to be nothing else for anyone to say. The gaze of all four converged slowly on the screen. To the uninformed it showed nothing remarkable-just two bright and roughly circular patches of the same size, close together in the centre of the screen. But the men had been waiting weeks for one of those patches to appear-and when it came it was unaccountably a twin.
Presently the Adjutant ventured cautiously, because he felt the suggestion wouldn't be welcome: "Perhaps we'd better send for Magnus, sir."
The Commandant glared at him. But the glare was an act. Secretly, the Commandant had been waiting for someone to make this suggestion. "Send for Magnus !" - it always cropped up sooner or later, on Earth, Moon, Mars, or in space itself, to the mortification of top officials of all kinds, be they seasoned spaceship captains, council members of the Scientific Bureau, tough undersea men, colonial administrators, or specialists who prided themselves that they were the cock of their particular walk.
It wasn't merely that they hated to admit to helplessness, that a situation had got beyond them. That was likely to happen to anyone. For that reason the Special Investigation Department of the Scientific Bureau existed-to send help when needed, anywhere in the explorable solar system. The S.I.D. men were good-all picked men. They all had at least two science degrees, and were jacks-of-all-trades. Above all they were required to have initiative, resource, courage, and persistence. They were the commandos in the battle humanity was fighting for its mere existence.
Unfortunately for officialdom, Martin Magnus was by far the most able of this band of supermen. When the S.I.D. itself was baffled, the familiar suggestion began to be heard in the panelled committee rooms and the austere laboratories of the tall white building on the west side of Trafalgar Square: "Send for Magnus!"
The complete series consists of:
Martin Magnus Planet Rover (out now on Kindle US and Kindle UK)
Also, Martin Magnus on Venus
AND Martin Magnus on Mars
Working together, we've scanned my original 1950's editions, proofed the text, put together some matching covers and started releasing the series in Kindle editions.
I donated my time and effort to this project, because I really believe these books need to be read and enjoyed. They were originally intended for the teenage market, primarily boys, but they're ripping good reads for adults too.