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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

UFO: Small World UFO
"Small World"
Countdown #71-77, June 24, 1972 - August 5, 1972
Writer: Unknown
Art: John Burns


Straker becomes miniaturized in a process developed by a SHADO scientist.


Read the Technodelic story summary at the Internet Archive




This is a 7-part 21-page story serialized in Countdown #71-77, June 24, 1972 - August 5, 1972.


For some reason, the first two pages of each 3-page chapter of this story are in color, with the third page in black-and-white.


This story is quite far out, even for Countdown's often overreaching sci-fi in comparison to that of the TV series, involving a drug that can miniaturize a human being to half-inch in height and a realistic-looking robot that can pass for an alien and is operated by a miniaturized person in a control room in the robot's head! I like to think this story is actually just another psychedelic dream after one of Foster's drug trips! (See my comments in the study of "Ordeal".)




On page 1 of the story, the craft usually referred to as a lunar module in the UFO episodes is here called a moonferry.


C'mon...the drug invented by Dr. Brant in this story that miniaturizes large-scale living organisms is pretty ridiculous! And based on research into lunar geology?!


Unwilling to order one of his SHADO personnel to take Dr. Brant's miniaturization drug, Straker volunteers to take it himself...and he doesn't even ask first if the effect is reversible!


Dr. Brant states that they (who, SHADO?) have had the ability to miniaturize inert material for some time. His new breakthrough allows miniaturization of living organisms.


Dr. Brant claims that, without the miniaturized spacesuit Straker wears, the noise of normal-sized people speaking, or even moving, would shatter his senses. If that's the case, why wasn't the miniaturized mouse on page 2 similarly effected?


In the miniaturization, the subject, such as Straker, loses most of its mass. Where did all that mass go? It seems to be a violation of the laws of physics, in that energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely transformed from one form of energy to another. (Straker also somehow regains all his former mass when he reverts back to normal size.)


Returning to Earth with the concealed, miniaturized Commander Straker, Dr. Brant is depicted piloting the moonferry himself! Sure, it's possible the good doctor also has piloting experience, but we've seen in episodes of the TV series that the "moonferry" (lunar module) has two professional pilots in the cockpit and a separate, comfortable passenger seating area.


Previous stories have implied there is one or more spare Interceptors at Moonbase. Page 3 of this story suggests there is at least an entire flight of them (in the case of Moonbase Interceptors, that would seem to be three), when the commander of the Interceptor flight sent to battle the incoming UFOs reports back to Moonbase a "whole pack of UFOs" and requests the launch of another flight of Interceptors.


Page 4 of the story reveals that Straker has been reduced to half-inch size by the miniaturization drug.


The SHADO ship that comes to rescue Dr. Brant as he drifts through space appears to be a modified lunar module.

rescue ship


On page 5, Straker uses the exclamation, "Great space!" It seems an unlikely phrase for a person of the 1980s, even an astronaut faced with a pair of UFOs!


Also on page 5, we see that the UFOs have the ability to fire tether lines that will attach to a metallic object (in this case, the moonferry) to tow it through space.


Dr. Brant brought the drug that will restore Straker to normal size with him on the moonferry. After his recovery from the UFO attack on page 6, Brant tells Foster about the miniaturized Straker's presence on the moonferry and states the restorative drug was in his spacesuit. So, Dr. Brant did not have any other samples of the restorative in his own lab??


This story reveals the aliens having a large space station far beyond Earth's moon from which to launch missions to Earth. This actually makes much more sense than the previously presented scenarios implying that the aliens were constantly piloting their craft from their own homeworld in another solar system.


The aliens on the space station have what seems to be a never-before-seen translator device between their language and English which they use to interrogate Straker.


Foster is also miniaturized to a half-inch on page 12 of the story. But, on panel 4, he looks about twice that height against Dr. Brant's finger...unless Brant has awfully small hands!


The insect with which the aliens threaten Straker looks very similar to a centipede, but may be an alien variety; I am not aware of an Earth centipede species that has lobster-like claws on the front, nor such large, centrally-placed eyes.


After Straker and Foster abandon the robot and seek out the alien space station's power source, page 18 of the story describes them as walking "many miles" before finding it. The narration must actually mean "the equivalent of many miles" at their half-inch stature.


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