Monday, December 26, 2011

Murray Leinster's "Checkpoint Lambda" aka "Stopover in Space" (novel): Young hero foils a major robbery attempt

Cover of the novel Checkpoint Lambda by Murray Leinster
This is one of the more mundane stories of the author. Fast moving action, yes, but irritating repetitions, & at least one major event is resolved by convenient last-minute arrangement of circumstances.

Title is the name of a space station in orbit around a star called Canis Lambda. The station is located at the intersection of major space lanes of a star-faring humanity, & serves both as a lighthouse & a way station. This is where most of action happens.

Story summary.

The Golconda Ship, with its fabulous but unspecified treasures, is expected to dock with Checkpoint Lambda. So a gang of robbers have taken control of the Checkpoint ahead of arrival - killing all crew & transit passengers at station.

That's when Scott, a newly minted Space Patrol officer, arrives to take charge of the station. Of course, 2 dozen robbers already in control of station don't stand a chance against a Space Patrol officer.

A substantial part of the story is devoted to surviving a disaster - cores of 4 comets will soon impact the station, & few available maneuver options are frustrated by robbers' chief who doesn't believe there is a danger here.

Fact sheet.

First published: Amazing Stories, June & August 1966.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of Murray Leinster.