Forgotten Rocket was written by John Rankine in 1974, at the height of his creative output. At this time, he was asked to write two original novels for the Space 1999 series - having already written several successful adaptations. The first of these original novels was Android Planet. Forgotten Rocket, which had not yet been put up for publication, had all the right ingredients and excitement to make a great Space 1999 novel, so was instead adapted to become Phoenix of Megaron.
While there are obvious similarities, both books stand up equally well in their own right and it is a fascinating insight into an author's creative mind to compare the two.
Forgotten Rocket is a slightly longer novel (ten chapters - PofM has nine) and is based around the Wirral/Welsh area where the author lived. The main action takes place in a post apocalyptic, future Wirral Peninsular with its two estuaries, although 'Wirral' is never mentioned as a location. The city of Caster was derived from Chester (Caster is an old name for the walled defense), with Anglesey used as the nearby location of the governing Metis. With this ground-plan in mind, it is easy to work out the flow of the action in the surrounding landscape and see how this also translates into the locations of Phoenix of Megaron. 'Megaron' is in fact taken from the surname of one of the characters in Rocket - Kali Megaron. 'Phoenix' is taken from the code-word used when the subs are given their trial run.
The first chapter of Rocket is obviously different from that of Phoenix as both sets of characters have to establish themselves. From then on, the plot lines take similar paths but each has its own characteristics. Both are based around an underground deviant group who have escaped from, or are challenging, the drug maintained society. It is up to Clint Pearson, Kali Megaron, Rhoda Lingwood and Wayne Presbon in Rocket, and John Koenig, Helena Russell, Rhoda and Alan Carter in Phoenix, to effect a change.
A comparison between the two texts can be seen in the following example:
The Forgotten Rocket text is from Chapter 3 page 47 of the original typescript.
The Phoenix of Megaron text is from Chapter 4 page 70 of the paperback.