Cover of 'First Contact?' (UK)
Cover of 'First Contact?' (US)

First Contact?


Publishing details:

UK: Faber, 1971, in print until about 1978, h/b. ISBN 0-571-09757-X.
US: T.Nelson Books, 1973, h/b.

Synopsis:

Mysterious radio signals from Uranus are flooding Earth, making radio communication impossible. Our four friends, together with four other astronauts on a backup ship, are sent to investigate. On arrival they find a strange spaceship and an apparently friendly alien humanoid, Vari. While Chris, Serge and Tony are convinced of the alien's good intentions, Morrey believes they have been brainwashed and determines to destroy Vari - even if the cost is his own life.....

Commentary:

The first of the series to tackle the 'friendly alien-suspicious human' theme which recurred in several of the later novels. Walters' Christian beliefs were also becoming more apparent in his writing, as Whiskers and Sir George discuss the nature of God and so on. Nonetheless, it's still an excellent novel.

Reviews:

"This reviewer is enthusiastic about this science-fiction title. The flight of Uranus Alpha and Beta is quite like a contemporary space flight at first, but the landing on a satellite of Uranus brings a message that is the main theme of the book - a message that will provide matter for thought long after the book is finished. Highly recommended." Best Sellers Magazine

Tripping the
Science-Fantastic
By THEODORE STURGEON
[part of article omitted]

Reading a Hugh Walters novel
fills this old hand with a poignant
nostalgia. Not only Jules Verne, but
the early "Amazing Stories" treated
us, when we were children, with
didactic tales of real scientific fact
overlaid with adventure as their
sugar-coating. Walters's FIRST CON-
TACT?
(Nelson, $5.95) is just such
a tale, its plot dealing with the prim-
itive Us encountering the cultivated
Them, but carrying a heavy cargo
of fact and logical extrapolation as
its raison d'Ítre. No kid who reads
this can possibly come out of it with-
out knowing more than what he went
in with. It may not do as much for
understanding the human condition,
but then that is not what such a
book is for.
The New York Times Book Review,
24th February, 1974
FIRST CONTACT? by Hugh Walters. Thomas Nelson, 1973. 174 p. $5.95. Age level: 10-13

      Radio signals have been received from the vicinity of Uranus and two ships, each with
a crew of four, are sent to investigate. All are hoping for first contact with an alien
intelligence, all despite their prior experience in space admit to some fear of the unknown.
The signal is traced to one of Uranus' moons, and it is there that the two ships land and all
but two of the crew enter the alien vessel to converse with the visitor. Those two remaining
behind do not believe in the alien's benvolence, just the opposite, and decide to take
action. Tragedy is averted by the alien's advanced technology. The conflict between man's
intellectual ability and his animal instincts which make him react with fear and violence to
new situations is strongly demonstrated.
      Mr. Walters is able to put across science and technology in an easily grasped manner;
the flight, landings, control center on Earth are all very realistic. Yet he just as competently
presents questions of the highest philosophical and personal concern in a manner that all can
understand. Aimed at the teenage/young adult reader, the novel teaches while it entertains,
presenting questions of destiny and religion without cant or dogma.      -Gail C. Futoran

Leinz, November 1974

up-arrowBack to the previous book

left-arrowBack to the main index

down-arrowGo on to the next book