Golob the Humanoid's vintage book review
of Bill Harry's
HEROES OF THE SPACEWAYS
published 1981 by Omnibus Press
The Machines are all here,
in the most titanic battle of the Spaceways..
HAVE RAYGUN : WILL TRAVEL !
Aliens beware - the spaceheroes are here...
Heroes of the Spaceways was published in 1981, no doubt to capitalise on The Empire Strikes Back's runaway success. The book was compiled by Bill Harry, a luminary of the Liverpudlian Merseybeat music scene best known for his association with one Mr John Lennon, having performed in the pre-Beatles band The Dissenters, giving Mrs Ringo Starr's The Humanoid movie another cosmic Beatles connection. Of course, the film had enjoyed only limited popularity some two years before the book's release, and by then was an already-distant memory in the minds of Metropolis movie-goers, so its rather prominent inclusion in such a quality publication is curious, leading one to speculate if Humanoid was featured solely on the strength of Barbara Bach's participation, and if Mr Harry was in the social circle of the real life Lady Agatha.
For, despite focussing on the more famous sci-fi fables of the period, Golob The Humanoid's adventures are well-covered in Harry's extra-terrestrial tome. Scattered amongst the A to Z in the Spaceheroes glossary are profile entries for each of The Humanoid's main characters, and in a book with only 16 colour pages its interesting to find that two of them feature full page Humanoid pin-ups, the colour version of one of the common promo photographs and a detail of the Italian-release poster, as well as a pair of nice black and white character shots.
Star Wars features abound, as one would expect, and articles on classic British TV sci-fi such as Dr Who and Blake's 7 share column space with vintage classics Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, Forbidden Planet and Lost in Space, and Humanoid's better-known contemporaries The Black Hole and Star Trek: The Motion Picture...
|Unfortunately, the profile entries for The Humanoid characters contain a number of gonzo glitches, typos and errors. For example, Golob's robotic rover is wrongly referred to as Kim ( ! ) , while technological tyrant Graal is curiously credited with 'supernatural powers'. For planetary posterity's sake, however, the following transcript keeps all these interstellar inconsistencies intact...
GOLOB : Friendly, bearded, Stellar Colony Inspector, a giant of a man, who plies between the worlds on a lonely mission accompanied by his robot dog Kim. His ship is lured to the planet Nexon and a missile armed with Kappa turns him into an indestructible Humanoid. The diabolical scientist Kraspin drugs him with gas and implants a control device in his forehead, turning him into a mindless slave, obeying the whims of Graal and himself. Their plan is to create an army of Humanoids, but first they wish to test Golob, and send him to Metropolis to kill the Elder, ruler of the planet. He fails and begins to embark on his secondary mission, to destroy Barbara Gibson. The psychic boy Tom-Tom interevenes and frees Golob from Kraspin's control. Golob then teams up with Nik and Tom-Tom and sets off for Nexon to save Barbara and overthrow Graal and Kraspin. Golob's tremendous powers wreak havoc in the rebel base and he destroys the rocket loaded with Kappa, which crushes Kraspin. Golob once again becomes human, much to the relief of his robot dog kim.
GRAAL : Powerful figure, encased in black armour, who is determined to conquer the planet Metropolis and overthrow its peaceful ruler the Elder. Also known as the Brother of the Night, Graal leads a band of Nurek rebels and is in league with the Lady Agatha and demented scientist Kraspin. When their plans to turn the inhabitants of Metropolis into Humanoids is thwarted, Graal fights Security Officer Nik, but despite using supernatural powers, he is defeated.
|BARBARA GIBSON : Beautiful Earth scientist who was responsible for exposing the evil ways of the ruthless scientist Kraspin. She leaves her post at a scientific complex on receiving a telepathic call from Tom-Tom, a young friend, and thus escapes the massacre that takes place when Nurek rebels attack the base and kill everyone. The main aim of the mission is to steal Metropolis' sole supply of Kappa, a rare mineral with which Kraspin intends to create an army of Humanoids for the evil Graal. Furious that Barbara has escaped, Kraspin sends the Humanoid to destroy her, but Tom-Tom once again intervenes. Barbara is eventually captured and taken to the planet Noxon, where Kraspin intends to kill her in a machine used to create life serum for Lady Agatha. Nik, Golob, Tom-Tom and his warriors arrive on Noxon to rescue her and engage in a climatic battle against evil.
NIK : Head of Security for Metropolis. The Great Brother assigns him to thwart Graal's plan to conquer the planet and prevent Kraspin using his diabolical discoveries against them. In the attack on the rebel base on Noxon, Nik faces the evil Graal. During the battle, he realises that Graal has supernatural powers and his opponent has hands that turn into pure force as deadly as a laser beam. Nik, however, is victorious and Graal disintegrates, leaving an empty suit of armour as the only evidence of his passing.
LADY AGATHA : A ravishing but cruel beauty, Lady Agatha has allied herself with the revel leader Graal and the mad scientist Kraspin, who are bent on conquest of the planet Metropolis, formerly called Earth. Agatha has rescued the disgraced scientist because of his discovery of a youth serum, which maintains her body and keeps her ageless. The serum is extracted from the bodies of young girls through a diabolical torture machine built by Kraspin, and Barbara Gibson is to be the source of the next batch of liquid. However, Barbara is rescued by Golob, and Lady Agatha, without the life-giving fluid, turns into a hideous old hag and disintegrates.
KRASPIN : Diabolical scientific genius who is exposed for what he is by Barbara Gibson and is subsequently sentenced to be interred in the House of Lethargy. Rescued by Lady Agatha and taken to her planet Noxon, he produces a youth serum which will keep her everlastingly young. Also on the planet is Graal, Brother of the Night, leader of the Nurek rebels who, together with Lady Agatha, intends to conquer Metropolis. Kraspin informs them that he could create an army of indestructible Humanoids if he had the element Kappa, so Graal sends his men to steal the supply kept on Metropolis. Kraspin instructs them to kill Barbara Gibson but they fail and Kraspin becomes obsessed with seeking vengeance against her. To test the Kappa, he first aims a missile at Inspector Golob's vessel, turning the giant of a man into a mindless Humanoid. Later, Kraspin loads an entire rocket full of Kappa, intending to explode it on Metropolis and turn the population into Humanoids. When Barbara is captured, he locks her in his serum machine, intending to produce further desperately needed supplies for Lady Agatha. Golob comes to the rescue and in the ensuing battle Kraspin is crushed beneath the rocket load of Kappa.
TOM-TOM : Young boy from ancient Tibet, guest of Barbara Gibson, who possesses incredible psychic powers. When Golob is a mindless Humanoid seeking to kill Barbara, Tom-Tom frees him from Kraspin's hold. The boy is protected by two white-clad mysterious warriors who fire laser bolts from bows. They join him in the final onslaught against Graal and his minions. Tom-Tom and his warriors say goodbye to Golob and sail off on a strange ship.
KIM : Robot dog, the friend and travelling companion of Golob on his lonely tours of inspection across space. When their spaceship crashes into a lake on the planet Noxon, a rocket attack showers Golob with some of the element Kappa and turns him into a monstrous Humanoid, which frightens Kim, who hides from his master. Golob is later transformed from a mindless creature into a warrior on the side of justice by Tom-Tom and, following a battle against Graal and his minions, becomes his own self again and is reunited with Kim.
|To summise, Heroes of the Spaceways is a nice find for the Humanoid completist ( ?!? ) / vintage sci-fi lovers bookshelf. The A to Z format does fragment each film's coverage somewhat...Golob's write-up, for example, is sandwiched between Flash Gordons GOCKO monster, and Star Trek's THE GORN, and I would have far preferred each movie / tv show to have it's own seperate section. That said, it provides a nice introductory overview to the genre and is well-illustrated... and it's a buzz to this spaghetti sci-fi reviewer, to find such priceless schlock as The Humanoid so well-covered in a mainstream high street publication ( ! )
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