Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Report #34 - Perry Rhodan - Enterprise Stardust

Perry Rhodan, Book 1
K. H. Scheer & Clark Darlton

This is an interesting story in the world of publishing.  Begun in 1961 this German science fiction series has been in constant publication, written by a team of authors, for nearly 50 years!  To stagger the mind a bit more; it's published weekly!  The series is sold in instalments and many story arcs (or cycles as they are know in this series)  can range from 25 to 100 issues before the tale is told.

The universe of Perry Rhodan is revisionist; substituting Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon with Perry Rhodan and his team.  Written a bit like the Doc Savage stories of the 30's Rhodan is the brains behind everything while his team members represent the best in his field.

In 1969 Ace Books began publishing English translations of the series in mass market paperbacks.  If you haunt used book stores, like I do, you'll see loads of these books still floating around.  The difficulty is in finding the early issues in publication order.  Ace published 118 books in the series before ending the project due to lack of sales.

I was able to find PDF editions of the books on-line and converted the first five books to EPUB and loaded them onto my new Kobo Vox.

This first story sets the stage in the series; Rhodan and his team crash land on the moon because some energy beam interfered with their remote controlled landing sequence.  Once safely on the surface Rhodan discovers another crash-landed ship.  This one is most definitely alien in origin.  They make first contact and discover they are in a position to help the aliens in exchange for advanced technology and Rhodan's desire to unite all the people of Earth, which would allow humans the opportunity to join a galaxy-spanning society filled with alien races united under one old (and failing) government.

You can see all the popular science fiction movies taking parts of this series and using them in their own stories.  First Contact, Galactic Empires, Humans discovering they are not alone - all of it is here.

Even more fun is the cheesy 60's and 70's attitudes that prevail and how 50 years of scientific progress renders these stories charmingly dated.

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