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THE TOMORROW PEOPLE novel-THE VISITOR
This first TPnovel can be placed after THE VANISHING EARTH but in truth it might be before it. It contains Kenny and Carol. Price’s novels always seem to add new information to the TP world---even supplying missing information. Sometimes though, the continuity with the series is confusing at best. Still in this novel, Chapter One, we meet Stephen’s Sap friend Malcolm Neilson, a doctor’s son and Stephen’s father. A strange UFO is spotted. Chapter 2 gives background info, Carol has broken out playing rounders in a park. She had heard the thoughts of all those around, Saps included. She was taken to a private nursing home. John, who broke out first, three months before Carol, sent her comforting telepathic messages. Kenny was 11 and was too young to break out and suffered some shock. According to Chapter 2, John had been 14 and Carol was 13 when they broke out. Kenny was a West African cockney from the East End. We also learn Stephen’s dad was a physicist employed in medical research in a London hospital (in another novel he was a chemist) and was originally from Scotland. The Tp are off to Scotland now—where the UFO landed: Kilgardie, Scotland. We also discover Carol lived in Hampstead with her parents and two younger sisters. Her dad, a TV documentary producer, longed to do a show about the TP. Carol’s mom was a journalist, unable to do a TP story. John lived in North London where his father was a police sergeant. Later novels state that John’s father is dead. Kenny’s father died when he was small. Kenny lived with his mother, a trainee nurse. He also lived with his sister.
In chapter 3, the McCaig’s feed the touring TP who try to contact the aliens in the UFO which landed in a lake. McCaigs notice how quiet the TP are (actually they were using their minds to try to contact the any life). We learn that Carol and John did not fully realize the truth of breaking out at first. Later, more powers developed and they visited other planets throughout the universe. One was Sophia, the galactic arm of Perseus, where an immortal philosopher race invited the TP just after Kenny broke out. The Sophists explained what their new level of evolution meant. Nature, fearful that mankind would destroy itself, sped up the process. Then, they built TIM to a design which the Sophists had given to them. Actually, Sophistra is mentioned in SLAVES OF JEDIKIAH and THE VANISHING EARTH.
Unfortunately, they need communicators to talk to TIM in the novel. This is totally wrong when compared to the TV show. The four TP share a dream of being pulled out of water by military men. An alien was taken to a Ministry of Defence Research Establishment near Loch Derrig. Somehow all four are captured upon trying to rescue the alien boy. A mysterious Colonel M (Masters?) questions the three boys and Carol. A sergeant lets on that they think the TP are from space. Ginge and Lefty rescue the TP, bringing them new equipment. The space child, when communicating telepathically, had accidentally knocked them out the first time. Now they rescue him. His name is Arlon, a dark alien boy who was treated badly. It is now they discover Colonel M was mildly telepathic himself and picking up their conversations with Arlon. They try to jaunt with Arlon but lose him in the vortex, then he appears in the Lab. Arlon cannot be jaunted far if at all, he is lost from his father Saav’s spaceship. Arlon leaves them unconscious and he is upset about being lost. Ginge tells the TP that Arlon knocked out babies and toddlers all over Manchester, Leeds, and Northern France---all of these are other Tomorrow People before they break out!
Col. M gets Arlon again while his ship is dredged up from the lake. M was aware that Arlon could not jaunt. He wants them to build a spacecraft if he is to release Arlon. Saav and the Critons call through the ship’s radio and Saav is now on his way. Kenny answered him. Saav ells the four telepathically that if the do not give Arlon back, he will destroy the Saps. The Tp appeal to Arlon’s father not to do this and he gives them a mere 12 hours to rescue Arlon. TIM finds Arlon at Tolford Grange Security military base. The TP jaunt in, stun a nurse and two military men and find Arlon playing with a toy car. Kenny if they have cars on Criton. The men stop a lift the TP are on with Arlon so John and Kenny jaunt out and jaunt in behind the men. The pair stunt he men and activate the lift. They all escape in a helicopter. M stops a captain from shooting them down, claiming, “They have not shed a drop of blood. I have been ordered not to shed theirs and that order I shall obey.”
M thinks the TP must be aliens, too. M waits for them at the lake when the next ship arrives to get Arlon and his smaller ship. Arlon was lost when he fooled with the controls on the life ship. M asks them for knowledge to which John replies, “Someday you will be ready for such knowledge but not yet.” Ginge and Lefty arrive by bike and bid Arlon farewell with Lefty giving Arlon his Hell’s Angel badge to remember them by. Saav’s ship with Arlon, the life pod, and the TP blasts off. The TP bid goodbye also and jaunt off the ship. They had to keep the disguise of being aliens to Colonel M. M was disappointed by their leaving.
REVIEW: Not a bad tale with some nice touches. One idea was that newborns were going to be Tomorrow People and they were all affected by the Arlon’s loud telepathic ravings. That too—his loud signaling—was a nice touch. Another was when the TP had to drag Arlon through hyper space. Having Ginge and Lefty was a pleasant surprise as was most of the interesting background on the Tp and their lives. A few, already mentioned, in discrepancies with the TV show exist. There are a few in each a novel which is odd since I think Roger Price wrote them all. These in no way detract from the tales and are only slightly annoying. The most annoying is in the novel THREE IN THREE where Jedikiah was a blob in his true form.
There are also some predictable, stretched out escapes, captures, rescues, etc common to the TP and almost all sci fi and adventure in general, especially TV shows of all genres. The story is too long and could have been better if it lost a number of chapters. Saav’s threat and Col M were used to good measure, the only two characters who have personalities other than the well drawn McBains (or McCaigs). Again, a must have for TP fans and fair reading for sci fi fans.