Flashback Fridays: “Lost in time, and lost in space and meaning . . .”

When I normally create my flashback friday posts, I like to provide my readers with  an nice little chunk of information about the book and the author for background.  But there are a number of books, sad to say, that fail to have this kind of information available.    I’m attempting to feature a handful of titles here, that might tickle some memories.  They are obscure out of print objects that few readers appear to remember.  They are also a pointed reminder that while the Internet is vast and data-soaked, it is far from a complete information source.

Do you remember:

The Looking Glass Factor  by Judith M. Goldberger (Dutton, 1979)

There’s no information about the author, and no other published works by her.  Finding this cover image took some doing!  I read this book back in the 1980s and it has stuck with me over the years.  It’s set in a far flung future where human kind and sentient talking cats work side by side on futuristic science breakthroughs.    Our main character is a girl who is helping some cats with their research of a process called “merging” that allows them to pass through a solid object.  However, when our character achieves merging, she finds that the process is rapidly becoming addicting.  Interesting and engaging with talking cats.  I’ve no idea why the author stopped with one title, but I’m rather sad she did.

Mystery Dolls from the Planet Urd by Joan Lowery Nixon (Olympic Marketing Corp, 1981)

And sometimes there are books that probably few want to remember.  Most of you probably recognize the author.  She’s well known for her young adult thrillers and middle grade Orphan Train adventures.  But waaay back when she also tried her hand at something very different.  A young reader science fiction series set in a galaxy far, far away.  I seem to be only able to track down two actual books in the Kleep, Space Detective series, though I keep feeling like there’s a third I’m missing. The Mysterious Queen of Magic (1981) is the other book I’ve found in the series.  Though no cover image so far.

From what I can recall Kleep is a teen girl with purple? pink? hair whose father has disappeared on a mission to Earth.  She lives in some Galactic empire on a planet which strangely has no dolls.  The Mystery Dolls from the Planet Urd has a sly character convince Kleep to accept a gift of “dolls” from his world Urd. (From what I can remember, someone has brought Kleep an Earth doll and she is unimpressed).  The “dolls” of the story turn out to actually be shrunken people whose mission is sabotage or something similar.  The series, frankly, was not all that good.  It’s no surprise the author has let the books drift into obscurity.  But I figure someone else out there has to have read them . . .

Timothy and the Two Witches by Margaret Story (Dell Publishing, 1974)

I remember encountering this story with this particular cover and taking it to read in a clover field while my brothers played Little League baseball.  In this case, the author is not quite as obscure  as the first book, but I think all of her works for children are out of print.  This particular title fascinated me.  The idea of a boy going to live with someone magical and having amazing magical adventures at their home caught my imagination.  I wrote a piece the next year about a similar character.  This book, despite the fact that I remember fairly little of the war between the dark and light witches, still lurks in my memory.  I don’t recall if it was meant to be the first in a series, but can’t seem to find any corresponding series titles.

So there you have it, a selection of three books that are getting more than a little foggy and dusty as time passes.  If you have any information I can add to these or if you remember these books , please comment away!


About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on August 9, 2013, in Flashback Fridays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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