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Moore, Patrick

Entry updated 11 March 2024. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of UK astronomer, scientific journalist, composer and author Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore (1923-2012), son of Gertrude L Moore, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1945. He was best known over more than half a century for his work as a popular television personality; he presented the BBC television series The Sky at Night from its April 1957 launch until his death, missing only one episode (July 2004) through illness. Moore wrote over 100 nonfiction books, mainly on astronomy. Of sf interest are his numerous Children's SF adventures, mostly written at or near the beginning of his career, starting with the short Grenfell and Wright series comprising Master of the Moon: An Enthralling Science-Fiction Story (1952) and The Island of Fear (1954). The Gregory Quest series comprises Quest of the Spaceways (1955) and World of Mists (1956); the Maurice Gray series comprises Mission to Mars (1955), The Domes of Mars (1956), The Voices of Mars (1957), Peril on Mars (1958) and Raiders of Mars (1959); and the Robin North books are Captives of the Moon (1960), Wanderer in Space (1961), Crater of Fear (1962), Invader from Space (1963) and Caverns of the Moon (1964). His few singletons include The Frozen Planet (1954), Destination Luna (1955), Wheel in Space (1956) and Planet of Fire (1969). All these are jovial, though stereotyped – marrying, in their teenage protagonists, virtues like decency, honour and courage with scientific curiosity – and were popular in their day. Years later Moore embarked on another series, the Scott Saunders books: Spy in Space (1977), Planet of Fear (1977), The Moon Raiders (1978), Killer Comet (1978) and The Terror Star (1979).

Moore also wrote a brief general study of sf, Science and Fiction (1957), one of the earliest books of its kind; portions are sensible enough, but whole areas of sf are quite ignored and the critical judgements are simplistic. A more useful book, of relevance to the Pseudoscience elements in sf, is the gently sardonic Can You Speak Venusian? A Guide to the Independent Thinkers (1972; rev 1976); Countdown! or How Nigh Is the End? (1983) deals similarly and entertainingly with the innumerable historical predictions of an imminent End of the World. How Britain Won the Space Race (1972 chap) with Desmond Leslie is a spoof "nonfiction" account of a nineteenth-century UK space programme, embellished with contemporary engravings and couched more in terms of whimsy than of Alternate History. A recording of Moore's musical compositions is The Ever Ready Band Plays Music by Patrick Moore (1979). Later nonfiction tended essentially to update earlier work, though Bang – The Complete History of the Universe (2006) with Chris Lintot and Brian May is remarkably refreshed in tone. Moore was knighted in 2001 and presided over the 700th instalment of The Sky at Night in March 2011. [PN/JC/DRL]

see also: Colonization of Other Worlds; Mars; Moon; Proto SF; Terraforming.

Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore

born Pinner, Middlesex: 4 March 1923

died Selsey, West Sussex: 9 December 2012



Grenfell and Wright

Maurice Gray/Mars

  • Mission to Mars (London: Burke, 1955) [Maurice Gray/Mars: hb/Patricia Cullen]
    • Voyage to Mars (East Sussex, Belgrave Classics, 2003) [rev vt of the above: Maurice Gray/Mars: pb/Tony Wilmot]
  • The Domes of Mars (London: Burke, 1956) [Maurice Gray/Mars: hb/Patricia Cullen]
  • The Voices of Mars (London: Burke, 1957) [Maurice Gray/Mars: hb/Patricia Cullen]
  • Peril on Mars (London: Burke, 1958) [Maurice Gray/Mars: hb/Patricia Cullen]
  • Raiders of Mars (London: Burke, 1959) [Maurice Gray/Mars: hb/Patricia Cullen]

Gregory Quest

Robin North

Scott Saunders

individual titles

nonfiction (highly selected)


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