Star Riders
written with Luigi Cozzi
Novel 1986


Logic professor Jim Willmott meets the eccentric Mardray who has a strange ring. This ring is the crystal of the Riders. Mardray tells him the whole story: the newborn heir of a great far-away empire was hidden on a distant plant when his family is killed by conspirators. Morgana, the only survivor of the coup d'état, holds a crystal that, in the hands of the legitimate emperor, can summon the mysterious energy of the Star Riders. So, she must find the heir who was believed dead. Like every love story, the girl finds the heir, Torbin, on the lost planet of Aquaterre and, with the crystal, they defeat the perfidious Baron Waak.

  • [This entry was written by the Italian SF scholar Riccardo Gramantieri. I've taken the liberty of adding some additional information provided by Daniele Bitossi.]

  • The original outline was written in 1977 by Luigi Cozzi, a director of a few science fiction films who was at one time the literary agent of van Vogt in Italy. It was meant as a sequel to Cozzi's financially successful film Starcrash, aka Empire of the Stars, which was a mix between Barbarella and Star Wars. He approached van Vogt with the idea of collaborating on a film script based on the outline. It was agreed that van Vogt's name would appear in the film's titles and would also novelize the script. But the film was never made. Meanwhile van Vogt accepted to expand the screenplay, but at a very slow pace (he was already ill). Star Riders was his last novel, and it was never published in America.

  • As with other van Vogt novels, the prologue takes place in a contemporary setting while the adventure takes place on a distant planet. Van Vogt's contribution to the story is, probably, the inclusion of the jungian (with some Dianetics) concepts of ancestral memory. But the plot was already written by Cozzi and the final story is very similar to Star Wars. (The success of Star Wars was in many director's minds and it inspired many copy-cats.)

  • The Italian novel was published in 1986 under the title I cavalieri delle stelle in an omnibus with the classic The Book of Ptath. In the book Luigi Cozzi is credited as Lewis Coates [Cozzi's Anglicised pen-name]. The publisher was Garden Editoriale in Milan, Italy, #3 under their imprint Solaris Fantascienza. The omnibus came to a total of 320 pages, with Star Riders taking up 157 pages.

Foreign Editions
Language Title & Year Translator

I cavalieri delle stelle     (1986)

Luigi Cozzi
I cavalieri delle stelle
1986 Garden Editoriale
format: ? code: ? 320 pages L. 6000

cover art by
David Hardy

First edition

This omnibus volume also contains The Book of Ptath (Il libro di Ptath). As far as I know, Star Riders was never published separately, only as part of this omnibus.

Cover image: other Data: Gramantieri