This sf suspense film, released in 1994, stars Jack Wagner, Craig Wasson, and Sigrid Thornton. The film is a fairly standard plot, based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, but lives up to the suspense element of its description. A (non-spoiling) synopsis of the storyline is as follows. A cargo ship containing a captain who managed to do something nasty (never specified) to another ship he captained, a raw cadet, a pet dog, and some other crew (as well as some cargo) is hit by an asteroid and loses almost all of its air supply. After the captain bails out (in the lone life raft before telling anyone else) the crew realises that not all of them can make it home.

The film is not too exciting at the start, but after 20 of its 85 minutes settles down into some semblance of suspense. Some EVA, a bit of guerilla warfare, and an ending that will put you off coffee for a few days but which takes suspense to new heights combine to make up for the film's disappointing start. Overall the film makes a good night in.

Also a so-called "juvenile" SF novel by Jack Williamson, published in 1968. The story tells of a rescue mission to the star Topaz. Astronaut Ben Stone and his crew are lost, and a rescue team featuring his young brother Jeff Stone is assembled. Jeff takes command when the pilot is injured. He must solve the mystery of the missing mission and the alien "rock hoppers" in Topaz's asteroid belt.

This was one of the first SF books I read "all by myself" and a childhood favourite. I'm fortunate to have a copy rescued from the library's discard sale. Like most of Williamson's work it has borne up decently over the years and is still a good, if quick, read today. Still in print as a Scholastic paperback ... recommended!

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