Vintage Treasures: Moons of Triopus by John Rankine

Vintage Treasures: Moons of Triopus by John Rankine

Moons of Triopus-small Moons of Triopus-back-small

One of the reasons I like to buy collections is that they frequently come with books I’m not looking for. Like this copy of John Rankine’s 1969 paperback Moons of Triopus, with its trippy Richard Powers cover.

I didn’t need to tell you I wasn’t looking for this book. No one on Earth is looking for this book. If there’s a forgotten novel in the canon of 20th Century science fiction, it’s John Rankine’s Moons of Triopus. No one is looking for John Rankine, either. He never existed. ISFDB tells me “John Rankine” was a pseudonym for David R. Mason, the British writer who wrote a zillion SF novels between 1966 and 2003. Has anyone out there read Moons of Triopus? Anyone other than Rich Horton, I mean.

Well, it doesn’t matter. The book is in my hands, so it’s my responsibility now. If Black Gate has a purpose, it’s to explore strange new worlds and seek out neglected SF and fantasy books. My duty is clear; I have to give it a try. The description on the back talks about newly found planets, constant danger, colonists, ominous answers, and “the fate of the galaxy!” Doesn’t sound too bad. Wish me luck.

Moons of Triopus was published by Paperback Library in November 1969. It is 157 pages, priced at 60 cents. The cover is by Richard Powers. It was out of print for 44 years, until it was released in digital format by Golden Apple in October 2013. I got my copy as part of a lot of 42 books I bought on eBay for $9.50. Turned out to be a good deal.

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Bill Crider

There’s a guy in England who’s probably read this book and could tell you all about it. Big fan of Douglas R. Mason.


I have this one, John, and have had it for years — but never read it. I’ve also got several by the same author under the Douglas Mason name. Back in the ’70s, I was working a factory job and spending most of my disposable income on anything and everything passing as SF and/or Fantasy. I ended up with a lot of crap, but I’ve also gotten some gems that occasionally show up on eBay for a lot more than I paid. When I retire in 5 weeks, I’ve got a massive backload of books to choose from; I’ll be sure to include “Moons of Triopus” in the batch I read over the summer. Didn’t know Mason & Rankine were the same guy; thanks for that info.

I haven’t seen this book before. Love the trippy Powers cover! I have a couple John Rankine novels as part of ACE Doubles. Haven’t read them, though.

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