I have long accepted that Capella’s Golden Eyes by Christopher Evans was the novel that started it all off for me, and I have consulted with other buffs over the years, and it appears that I am not alone and that it is all in the opening.

I won’t spoil it for you, but the first paragraph of this novel has ensnared many a young teenage boy. I must have been 14 years old when I read them in a bookshop in Inverness, and bought the book a few minutes later.

After that I was hooked on sci-fi, hooked on books, and probably hooked on writing and publishing too. What a fate!

There is more to Capella’s Golden Eyes than just an opening however. A somewhat distant and alienated feel is maintained by the fact that the story is set in a colony planet, which operates under the guidance of a race called the M’Threnni, and as the two youngsters that are the heroes of the book become tangled in the politics of the planet, discussion and action turns to what the government should do about the M’Threnni.

I mentioned adolescence at the start of this post, and it’s one of the truly great themes of this book – the newfound independence, and the decisions and discoveries about life, education and the world around us. The resolution isn’t nearly so good as the action of the book, and its real triumph as a work of fiction is the world-building achieved by the author. I’ve read it a few times now, and although I am, aware Capella’s Golden Eyes isn’t a masterpiece, it still transports me to a neatly realised world of adventure – just the place I would have liked to have spent my days, aged 14.