Exactly fifty years ago today (okay, yesterday, since I didn’t get the post up before midnight), on September 8, 1961, Unternehmen Stardust, the first issue of the German science fiction “Romanheft” Perry Rhodan appeared, in which US-astronaut Perry Rhodan with the help of some extraterrestrial friends saved the Earth from the brink of a nuclear war, destroyed all nuclear weapons and single-handedly ended the Cold War. But that was only the beginning, for future issues saw Perry take to the stars, become immortal, establish the Terran Empire and continuing to determine galactic history for centuries to come. Perry Rhodan, the magazine, is still going strong after fifty years as well.
What is more, Mike Brotherton points out that Star Trek also premiered on September 8, albeit in 1966, and is therefore celebrating its 45th anniversary today. I find it a wonderful coincidence that both Star Trek and Perry Rhodan were born on the very same day, albeit five years apart, particularly as both reflect the hopes and anxieties of the 1960s so very well. Besides, Kirk, Spock, Bones and Perry would probably get along just wonderfully.
I celebrated by watching an episode of Star Trek today and buying the latest issue of Perry Rhodan yesterday. Now if we could only link Doctor Who, Dune, Dangerous Visions, 2001 – A Space Odyssey and Raumpatrouille Orion to this date as well, then we’d have all the greats of 1960s science fiction to celebrate on a single day.
Today also marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the old Elbtunnel (as distinguished from the new Elbtunnel, a highway tunnel built in 1975) in Hamburg. The tunnel was an engineering marvel, when built. Nowadays, it remains a piece of beautiful steampunky architecture.
Don’t believe me? Check out the photos I took during a visit to Hamburg last year behind the cut.