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Nourse, Alan E.
book-date: 1959
cvr art:
cvr price:
Ace (D-541)
Edward Valigursky

Ace [D-541; 1st printing] 1962 paperback (McKay hardcover was 1959.) Cover by Ed Valigursky, 158 pages , 35 cent cover price. Condition is Fine+: very tight and square with flat spine; age tanning is very mild and uniform (much better shape than usual for its vintage!) Edges still have crispness, and covers front & back still have the "new book" gloss. Original owner wrote the Ace number (D-541) in pen on the top page-block. No other marks, stamps or writing - a clean copy that looks new. Condition is quite exceptional (especially considering its age) - you are unlikely to ever see a copy as nice.

Scavengers in Space - a novel from 1959 by Alan E. Nourse. He is best known for his juveniles or young adult books - and this is a good example of that sort. A shorter version appeared in Amazing September 1958 as "Gold in the Sky." Here's the flap-copy from the first hardcover, which gives a reasonable summary or set-up:

When Roger Hunter was killed in a mining accident in the Asteroid Belt, he did not leave his twin sons much of a legacy- a few scattered asteroid claims, a broken-down scout ship, a small mining rig, and not much more.

But Tom and Greg Hunter cannot believe that their father's death was really an accident. Born and raised in the 22nd-Century mining colony at Sun Lake City on Mars, the brothers knew their father's skill as a mining engineer; they also knew that he had made dangerous enemies in the powerful Jupiter Equilateral mining combine that scoured the Asteroid Belt for lodes of rich metal. When they learn that their father had made a fabulously valuable discovery in the belt shortly before his death, the twins are determined to settle their own personal differences and go out to the asteroids as a team to search out the real reason behind their father's death.

Their decision, in spite of bribery and threats from the big mining combine, throws them in the teeth of the dangerous enemy - Jupiter Equilateral - who is equally determined to find what Roger Hunter discovered. The search takes the twins - and their enemies - deep into the Asteroid Belt and involves them in the dangers of asteroid mining and piracy before they learn the truth of Roger Hunter's death and the real nature of his bonanza...

Here's what my favorite reviewer had to say when this book was new:
"Alan Nourse has been too busy being an M.D. in the state of Washington to contribute much science fiction lately. Too bad. In this teen-age space-adventure he sets up an astronomical puzzle whose solution can be guessed if you know enough science - and not future science, either.

In the Twenty-second Century, men are mining the asteroids for metals and Jupiter Equilateral, a monster corporation, is trying to squeeze or bludgeon out the independent miners, and to keep United Nations control out of space pending the day when it can get to the stars. Roger Hunter, father of teen-aged Tom and Greg, is murdered by Equilateral strongarm men, just after he has made a fabulous strike somewhere in the asteroid belt. His killers can't find it, and the boys set out with their dad's old partner to see what they can see. Naturally, there is more piracy, and a glorious episode in which they cut up the opposition's space station like so much chopped lettuce, before astronomy brings the answer." [-P. Schuyler Miller, Astounding November 1959]