Blogging has been light here in the past few weeks, because the unseasonably hot weather has been sapping my energy. I have a couple of posts planned and there will be a new release announcement soon as well.
But for now, you can read my blogging elsewhere, because today I have a guest post up at the Hugo nominated fanzine Galactic Journey. For those who don’t know the site yet, Galactic Journey offers reviews and discussion of science fiction magazines, novels and films, but with a twist. For Galactic Journey is set exactly fifty-five years ago, which meant I had to time travel back to 1963 in order to write this post.
So hop over the Galactic Journey to see me talking about the state of West German science fiction back in 1963, when the “Heftroman” ruled supreme and Austrian scientist and SF writer Herbert W. Frranke (the only person mentioned in the article who’s still alive) was still an exiciting new voice.
In the first part of this three part article, I take a look at the West German science fiction scene in general and the Utopia and Terra lines of science fiction “Heftromane” in particular. The next installment is devoted to Perry Rhodan and his imitators, while the third installment takes a look at what’s going on on the other side of the iron curtain in East Germany. I’ll also be writing something about movies in the future, since the early 1960s were the glory days of the Edgar Wallace and Dr. Mabuse movies.
Regular readers will know that “Heftromane”, the 64-page German dime novels that can still be found at many supermarkets, news stands or gas stations, are something of an interest of mine. I have written a couple of articles about “Heftromane” in the past – which will be collected someday – but so far I haven’t tackled Perry Rhodan, simply because there is so much of it. Fifty-seven years, almost three thousand issues, plus several spin-off series, a plot that spans millennia and a cast of thousands. As Perry Rhodan debuted in September 1961, I only had to look at twenty months worth of “Heftroman”, but even those twenty months covered enough plot to make up their own installment. I read the hardcover collections of the early Perry Rhodan stories years ago, but I had forgotten how fast the plot moved in those early days. Perry needed only approximately ten issues to make contact with advanced aliens, end the cold war, bring about world peace and establish his own world state.
Finally, for your amusement, here is a 1969 report in the German TV program Monitor about Perry Rhodan, which not just totally misses the point (“Perry Rhodan is the galactic Hitler” – I guess that’s why he brought about world peace), but also offers a glimpse into the Perry Rhodan writers’ room, an interview with co-creator K.H. Scheer and two very stoned young fans: