Martin J Smith is a huge fan of the cult sci-fi show Space Things and is justly proud of his collection of memorabilia. He has Space Things mugs, Space Things action figures, Space Things comics and even a life-size model of Astro Cat, the super-intelligent feline science officer from the show. But the jewels of his collection are his mint-condition first edition tie-in novelizations. He has every one ever published, each sealed in plastic to protect it from the elements and untouched by human hand. He has certainly never read any of them, as to do so would run the risk of marking the pages or damaging the spines.
So it came as a bit of a shock to him when a friend inadvertently unwrapped one of his prize volumes and found that the pages were all blank. "I was horrified," Martin told us. "I immediately opened two of the other books - not an easy thing for me to do - and I found that they were exactly the same."
Nobody actually reads these books
We got in touch with the publishers and asked for a comment. Their spokesman told us that the company had consciously taken the decision to leave the pages blank when they first launched the range. "Fans collect these books because they love the show," their representative said. "They need to own everything connected with it. Nobody actually reads these books - of course they don't. I mean, we're talking about grown adults collecting badly written novelizations of a kid's TV programme that they can watch any time they like. What kind of nutjob would dream of ever cracking one of these babies open? Naturally we don't go to the trouble of actually printing them."
Martin is not satisfied with this explanation and plans to take his complaint to 'the European Court of Human Rights, or something.' However, at the moment his is still reeling from the discovery he made when he opened up his officially-licensed scale model Space Things Star Cruiser and found out that it was just a box full of scrunched up newspapers.