Lost in Space Wiki
Lost in Space Wiki

Lost in Space: Return to Yesterday is a young readers novel based on the Netflix series Lost in Space. It was written by Kevin Emerson and published on November 19, 2019.[1]

In addition to print and eBook formats, the title has also been issued as an audiobook, on both CDs[2] and Amazon's Audible format.[3]

Publisher's summary[]

My name is Will Robinson and I'm in danger.

Thirty years in the future, Earth has become increasingly more uninhabitable, and a group of colonists-including Will, his two teenage sisters, and their parents-travels across the galaxy to establish a new home. But when the ship is attacked, the Robinsons are stranded on an alien planet where they must contend with disastrous technical issues, a hostile environment, and dangerous personalities to get off world and reach their colony.

One day, while exploring a remote complex of caves with his Robot, Will discovers a strange portal that allows him to travel back to Earth-to a time before the Robinsons left on their mission. Realizing the portal could be a way for the colonists to escape the planet and finally make their way to their new home, Will and his sisters decide to investigate it. The siblings' actions have grave consequences and trigger a series of events that not only changes their reality, but also threatens the group's very existence. With the beings who created the portal in pursuit, Will must find a way to right the wrongs of the past and save his family's future.


The events of this story take place between "Transmission" and "Eulogy," after The Robot's presence on the planet has been revealed to the colonists of the 24th Mission, but before Will sends him walking off a cliff.


While out exploring the unknown planet with the Robot, Will Robinson discovers a mysterious cave. Though the Robot warns him of danger, he flees into the cave to escape pursuing mothasaur creatures. Inside the cave, he teaches the Robot how to play the game of tic-tac-toe. Though the Robot doesn't understand at first, he is a quick study and the two of them are soon repeatedly tying due to the game's limited nature. He continues to explore and discovers a strange portal which shows him a moment from his past - himself playing in his old room on Earth. He wonders if this strange portal might be a gateway to the past and a way for everyone on the planet to save themselves from the danger that they are in.

He returns to the Jupiter 2 to get his sisters, Penny and Judy. They are skeptical, thinking that maybe he hit his head, and also discover that he has been burned by radiation. Nevertheless, they agree to accompany him and the Robot to the cave. There, they are surprised to discover that what he was telling them was true. He reaches out his hand and again activates the portal and with their agreement decides to test it by stepping through the portal, into the past. In the past, he marvels at his old room and overhearing conversations between members of his family and even himself. He returns after a short time, but not before taking one of his old action figures, a hero named Captain Quasar. When he returns to the planet, nothing seems to have changed.

His sister Penny decides that she wants to try it as well. She uses the portal to conjure a different moment in time - when she was in recitals for a play of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and she had the role of Hermia. To Will and Judy's shock, she leaves the area of the stage and simply walks off. The two grow more agitated as she is gone for a half an hour before coming back through the portal. Upon returning, she is loaded down with candy that she shoplifted from a nearby store. The group eagerly feasts on the candy, as they have been living largely on the mostly tasteless rations that the colonists of the 24th Mission brought from space. As they feast, Will experiences a strange wave of light-headedness. When he comes to, he no longer has the candy, and only Judy is there with him.

Things have changed, and suddenly he has two sets of memories. One of them is of things as how they were before, but another is of how they are now. Penny was arrested for shoplifting and booted from her spot in the 24th Mission. She denied the shoplifting and although their mother Maureen fought to restore her position, by the time she was successful, another colonist had taken Penny's spot and Penny was told that she could launch on another mission in two years. Their father John remained behind with her. Their Jupiter 2 crashed into a lake on the planet and they've been living with the Watanabe family on the Jupiter 11. As Will struggles to reconcile the two conflicting pasts, Judy remembers none of it because she never interacted with the portal. Furthermore, the Robot is no longer there because in this timeline, Maureen made Will send him away because of the colonists being scared of him, John not being there to stick up for him.

Will and Judy return to the Jupiter 11, intent on showing Maureen the portal. There, Will talks with Hiroki Watanabe, who as a scientist understands Will's explanation of the alternate timeline and admits to having been feeling a sense of déjà vu. Meanwhile, Maureen reveals the secret that the planet is doomed and Victor Dhar decides to launch himself and his family into space to reach the Resolute, only for their Jupiter to explode. Will decides to return to the portal and try to correct matters by stopping his sister before she an steal the candy. Along the way, he manages to re-connect with the Robot, who proves vital in fending off aliens who try to stop him from entering the portal. He travels back to the morning of the auditions, recalling his own activities at the time when he was excited about his science project, a drone to recycle trash called Trash Bot. He ends up being spotted by one of his teachers, the music teacher Ms. Janila, and gets into a tight situation when he is asked to log himself into the school's computer system as being late to school. Fortunately, his computer chip is incompatible with the school's system due to it being the one issued to members of the Resolute crew, so he is able to pass it off as a malfunction. He then finds Judy, explains the situation, and stops her before she can steal the candy.

The two try to return to the portal, but before they can do so are intercepted by the same aliens that Will encountered before - tall hooded figures with bright red glowing goggles. They create their own eerie green dark glowing doorway and shove Will and Judy through it. When they come to, they find themselves together in a room with the Robot. There, the aliens explain that the portal is their creation. They tell the group that generations ago they faced disaster on their planet and used the energy of their star to build a network across the galaxy, one that Will and Penny made unauthorized use of. They use the planet for waste disposal, hence the radiation that Will encountered, which they explain are expended antimatter cells that they send to the planet to be incinerated. It being a doomed planet, they never expected there to be anyone living there. They call Will and Penny insignificant due to their emotions being tied too closely to their decisions and give them two choices - either be disposed of, or remain with them in a sort of alien zoo. Will and Penny beg them to just let them return to the planet and they will leave the portal alone. The aliens, however, say that they cannot allow this because in their experience it is too great a temptation. Will, however, tells them "Let us go, or else." They tell him this is a pointless threat, but he turns to the Robot, thinking at him to "Be.. bad." With this, the Robot takes on his monstrous attacking form and comes at the aliens. They order him to undo the programming, but he says simply that his feelings are more significant than they thought. He calms down the Robot so they can all escape and they make for the portal.

Back on the planet, Will finds himself alone with the Robot. He finds the tic-tac-toe game and realizes that the Robot used his power to bring them back to a moment before they even interacted with the portal. Despite this, he still has the Captain Quasar action figure with him and wonders if this is the reason he couldn't find the figure when he was packing up: his future self took him. The Robot uses rocks to block the cave entrance so that the aliens won't come back after them, though Will thinks that this wouldn't stop them if they really wanted to. They are discovered by the rest of the Robinson family, who had come to rescue them. Only Will and Penny have any memory of the alternate timelines. Will tells her that as long as they're all together, they have their best chance and they race playfully back to their camp.


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