Space: 1999 reveals unproduced tales of Moonbase Alpha

Maybe There: The Lost Stories from Space: 1999. Image courtesy Anderson Entertainment
Maybe There: The Lost Stories from Space: 1999. Image courtesy Anderson Entertainment /

A new Space: 1999 book reveals unseen original stories from the series.

When Gene Roddenberry created the role of Spock, one actor he considered for the role was Martin Landau. In some parallel universe, then, Landau enjoyed a long and prosperous career as one of science fiction’s most famous characters. In our universe, Landau rejected the role of Spock—”I can’t play wooden,” he told Starlog magazine in 1986—to play Rollin Hand for three seasons on another Desilu series, Mission: Impossible. But Landau eventually still achieved status as a sci-fi icon, playing Commander John Koenig in Space: 1999.

The now-classic British science fiction series was created by Gerry and Syliva Anderson, who also created the beloved “supermarionation” series Thunderbirds as well as the live-action UFO, among others. Space: 1999 has a premise that was “future history” in 1975 when the show debuted, but is now as much a counterfactual as Martin Landau playing Spock. In the show’s timeline, the Moon was blown out of Earth’s orbit on September 13, 1999. The 311 men and women who make up the crew of Moonbase Alpha—the Alphans—become accidental space explorers as the Moon travels the galaxy via black holes and space warps, encountering strange new worlds and civilizations. Space: 1999 fans now commemorate September 13 as “Breakaway Day.”

Space: 1999 ran for only two years. At the time, it was the most expensive show ever produced for British television. Despite its visual sophistication (influenced to no small degree by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001), second-season format changes and falling ratings in the U.S. syndication market cut short the Alphans’ odyssey through the universe. Who knows what they might have discovered had their unexpected trek through the stars gone on?

Speculating on what might have been is what Anderson Entertainment’s forthcoming book, Maybe There—The Lost Stories of Space: 1999 is all about. Now available for pre-order, Maybe There collects and adapts stories originally written but never produced for the classic British science fiction show.

Fans can read versions of Space: 1999 stories that never were

Maybe There includes stories from authors Robert E. Wood and David Hirsch that are sure to fascinate Space: 1999 fans. According to a press release from Anderson Entertainment:

"Fans will uncover the differences between Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s original story“Zero G,” George Bellak’s first draft of “The Void Ahead,” and Christopher Penfold’s uncredited shooting script “Turning Point.” Each of these tales show the evolution of the pilot episode with scenes and characters that never made it to the screen.Space: 1999 aficionados will also get the opportunity to wonder at a tale that was never filmed. In it, the Alpha People, desperate to migrate to a new home, instigate a conflict between two alien races.Also included in the hardback collector’s book are Christopher Penfold’s original storylines for “Guardian of Piri” and “Dragon’s Domain,” an adaption of Keith Miles’ early draft for “All That Glisters,” and a look at how Art Wallace (Dark Shadows) originally envisioned the episode that became “Matter of Life and Death.”"

Star Trek fans have long had a soft spot for stories set in our favorite franchise that never made it to production. Decades later, we’re still dreaming about what Planet of the Titans might have been like, for instance, or giving thanks Gene Roddenberry never got to tell the story he always wanted to tell of the Enterprise crew trying to stop JFK’s assassination.

Adapting unused stories into a new book is a brilliant way to make use of such material. Space: 1999 fans are fortunate they will be able to enjoy Maybe There when it’s published this November. Maybe the powers that be at Paramount will see fit to produce a similar volume of unproduced Star Trek stories someday.

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