I recently saw some Six Million Dollar Man novel covers over on the always excellent Space 1970 blog and remembered that I too had a few hanging around somewhere. A quick rummage around the attic later led to me re-reading the books I’d not looked at in a couple of decades. A quick review of these TV show novelisations will now be forthcoming.
#15: The Anteater Affair
When a number of high profile assassinations around the globe are analysed it’s quickly realised that anteaters played a part in all of the deaths in some way. Steve Austin is tasked with the job of protecting the president of an emerging African nation on his visit to the United States as it is suspected that he will be the next target; this turns out not to be the case and the connection between anteaters and assassinations is purely coincidental. Overall, a disappointing adventure for the Six Million Dollar Man but I did learn a lot about anteaters and the administrative duties that take place in zoos.
#23: Six Million And Two
After Steve Austin suffers an allergic reaction to hayfever tablets he becomes obsessed with hippies and joins a commune. The allergic reaction is short-lived, however, and soon Steve’s right-wing tendencies come back in full force leading to a series of arguments with peaceful people about how they all should get real jobs. When the Six Million Dollar Man returns to his normal life he discovers that radioactive bees caused havoc in New York but everything’s okay now. The book concludes with Steve angry that he missed the bee adventure and further blaming of hippies. The free love orgy from pages 49 to 116 was a little contrived but the book had some good points to make about beatniks.
#27: A Step Too Far
When Steve Austin falls down the steps outside his new apartment he takes a sabbatical from work to pursue a private investigation into how widespread the stair-falling phenomenon is. A thrilling exposé into how to research old newspapers using your local library ensues. Probably the best of the Six Million Dollar Man novelisations and the most true to the TV episode on which it’s based.
#28: 360 Degrees Of Death
Steve Austin is invited to give safety talks in schools to students who are increasingly becoming interested with the new sport of skateboarding. Steve takes the opportunity to design a whole range of Six Million Dollar Man knee pads, elbow pads, and helmets but the kids reject his merchandise because of the butterfly designs on them and Steve’s fledgeling business runs into financial difficulties. Things become worse for Steve when the school boards tell him he can no longer peddle his wares during his presentations as it violates education policies. Steve is forced to liquidate his stock and his credit rating is affected negatively. The TV episode featured an appearance by a young Tony Hawk but the book replaces that scene with a detailed analysis of Steve’s business plan and where he went wrong.
#37: Schoolgirls In Bondage
A racy title for what turns out to be a racist book. After a date with a single mum at a sushi bar ends with Steve Austin feeling a little stomach discomfort the Six Million Dollar Man decides to poison American attitudes to Japanese culture by forming a hate group in his local community. What follows is 320+ pages of bile directed at Asians and the climax of the book sees a neighbour of Steve Austin taking his own life after being hounded by the bionic man. The TV episode on which this book was based never aired.