Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Robert Tralins The Cosmozoids

The Cosmozoids is a 1966 science fiction pulp paperback written by Robert Tralins and published by Belmont Books.

Sandor Robert Tralins (1926-2010) was an American writer of over 250 pulp fiction and science fiction books, published under a number of pseudonyms.

Major James W. Keith is an American astronaut and a national hero but he’s now been forced take an extended leave. The Space Agency is worried about him. He’s been a bit strange since his last trip into space. He’s been having strange dreams and he claims to be able to predict the future. What worries them is that it appears that he can really can predict the future. If they knew he could read minds as well they’d be even more worried.

The Agency wants noted parapsychologist Dr Burr to figure out exactly what is going on with Major Keith, and if possible to find out why.

Remember that this was 1966. Extrasensory perception and similar paranormal topics were all the rage. And the study of paranormal phenomena was still considered to be marginally scientifically respectable. The C.I.A. believed in this sort of stuff. In 1966 The Cosmozoids was very topical and would not have seemed anywhere near as far-fetched as it seems today.

Major Keith and his fiancée Dottie have been settled into a rooming house not far from Dr Burr’s clinic. His fiancée has already figured out that Keith’s claims are not crazy. She has reason to know that he can predict the future.

Keith notices a few odd things going on and people around him behave strangely, as if in a trance. Even Dottie starts to seem a bit odd.

Slowly Keith figures out that he’s dealing with something not of this Earth, and that his paranormal powers are not of this Earth either. He’s dealing with cosmopaths, and (even more terrifyingly) cosmozoids. He is forced to coöperate with the cosmopaths. They need his creativity. They need him to show them how to promote hair growth treatments, but the treatments are not what appear to be. Their real plan is much more horrifying.

He really has no choice at all. Dottie’s life depends on his coöperation. If only he could find a weakness in the cosmozoids. He does find such a weakness, quite by accident, but the odds are still stacks against him.

There’s some silliness here, some delightfully goofy technobabble, plenty of action and some paranoia. This is not exactly serious science fiction.

It’s one of those alien invasion stories in which the aliens are amongst us and nobody knows they’re here. An idea that’s been done many times but it works if it’s done right. It’s done reasonably well here.

The early part of the book has a nicely spooky vibe to it, as Keith tries to work out exactly what is happening to his mind.

Tralins has a very pulpy style, but this is hardly a book with aspirations towards literature. What matters is keeping the story fast and exciting and Tralins does that.

Major Keith is a standard square-jawed hero which is fine in what is after all pulp fiction.

Tralins also wrote the Miss From S.I.S. sexy spy thrillers. I’ve reviewed the second book in that series, The Chic Chick Spy (which is a lot of fun).

The Cosmozoids is long out of print but used copies are not outrageously expensive.

The Cosmozoids isn’t great but it’s harmless fun. Worth a look if you can find a copy.

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