Saturday, May 14, 2016

Perry Rhodan

This might come as a shock for most: But the worlds largest Sci-Fi series is....German.

This Space Opera is called after its main protagonist (Perry Rhodan) and  has been churned out weekly since 1961, with almost 3000 installments to date.

Not a bad feat, even though the books....rather booklets....only have 68-70 pages

All serious sci-fi buffs refuse to ever have read it, but they would not print that stuff in unprecedented large numbers if not someone would read it....including me. (Yeah, I speak German)

It is a guilty pleasure, the army of writers working on this series did not miss out on any cliche or popular topic in the sci fi genre and sometimes the plots are toe curling...especially when you read the early editions:

A room full of Germans with military background (one nicked "Handgranaten-Herbert") in the early 60ies,  writing science fiction can be a scary thing....

Military background?

At least that could be extrapolated from the "strict"  commando tone in the earlier novels, with the protagonists escalating conflict after conflict, while pilfering any higher technology to support their jolly colonization raid. 

And to top it off: They have not been afraid to include ANY pseudo-science theory regarding aliens, ancient civilizations, "higher" beings etc etc which have been immensely popular in Germany in the 60-80ies thanks to Erich von Däniken

The story starts in 1971 with the first manned moon landing by US Space Force Major Perry Rhodan and his crew.

The stumble over a 500 m large, stranded space ship from the planet "Arkon" with a bunch of decadent aliens on board. What can I say? They use the technology and know-how from that space ship and the two survivors (after the Americans blew the star ship up in a second moon mission)  to "uplift" the entire human race.

From here it goes uphill: They build a "Solar Empire", gain immortality (very early in the series when the publishing house found out the series was a goldmine) granted by a "higher being"........

Yes, it is that bad.

But also weirdly addictive. I have been consuming ("reading" has nothing to do with it)  a LOT of PR novels and stopped doing so when I grew out of it. 

Until the series got rebooted with the plot taking of in the early 2030. It is called "Perry Rhodan NEO" and is running parallel to the old series. I kind of enjoy the stale taste of the 60ies gone and am (secretly) enjoying the stories as audio books.

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