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Antiquariat Michael Kühn

FAIRS

16.–18. November 2020

Boston International Antiquarian Bookfair, Boston

March 4th-6th 2021

ABAA California Virtual Book Fair
starting at 9am (PST) at abaa.org/vbf

23.–26. 9. 2021

Salon International du Livre rare & de l’Objet d’art,
Paris, Grand Palais Éphémère
Stand H10

menue
close
calendar
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Antiquariat Michael Kühn

FAIRS

16.–18. November 2020

Boston International Antiquarian Bookfair, Boston

March 4th-6th 2021

ABAA California Virtual Book Fair
starting at 9am (PST) at abaa.org/vbf

23.–26. 9. 2021

Salon International du Livre rare & de l’Objet d’art,
Paris, Grand Palais Éphémère
Stand H10

 
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Stories behind books
 
 

 
 

Early Science Fiction

1. January 2021

On September 17, 1966, about half of the Germans saw the future. That evening, the first episode of „Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion“ made its television debut.  At that time I belonged to the other half. My parents didn’t have a television set yet, – it wasn’t purchased until the summer of 1969 for the first manned flight to the moon.
Around 50 percent of television viewers watched the seven episodes of „Space Patrol Orion“ in the fall of 1966, although they had actually been warned against it – by a press that didn’t understand the phenomenon of „science fiction“. The Berlin newspaper „B.Z.“ attested that the series was „pseudo-scientific nonsense“ and that it gave birth to an „utopia without spirit“. The information service „Church and Television“ complained that the dialogues in particular were „too complicated for the audience“. And as late as 1975, nine years after the first broadcast, the Munich newspaper „tz“ still complained on the occasion of a rerun: „No nonsense is obviously big enough not to be repeated.“ Even the left-wing political magazine SPIEGEL did not really know what to do with the „future series“ in September 1966. The author kept to the facts: The production costs of this most elaborate German TV series to date – seven one-hour episodes at a total price of 3.4 million marks – would be shared by the ARD stations in Cologne, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Baden-Baden with French television, the report said, and noted: „With this series the stations were seeking to catch up with the Anglo-American TV manufacturers, who have been feeding their home theaters with fictional shocks for years.“
A few years after its first broadcast, the series was accused of having fascist features. Some believe that this was due to the author Rolf Honold’s script and its militaristic pomp. The German actor, theater director and writer Rolf Honold (1919-1979) became best known as the creator and author of this television series. In 1959 Honold moved to Berlin and worked for Artur Brauner’s CCC film, among others, where he began to conceive science fiction television series that were often not realized. During the war he was apparently deployed as an officer of the Wehrmacht in the Warsaw Uprising of 1943.
In the GDR it was forbidden to watch Western TV – and a lot of the people in the GDR had no chance to see the West German blockbuster. This comic strip here brought the TV Series to a printed medium and made its content available to GDR people- maybe the East German author and comic artist tried to sell it to a producer or made it for private viewing to some friends in his area. The GDR film production DEFA made themself nearly no Science Fiction Films (maybe 4 altogether), calling them utopian films not science fiction. This was due in part to the lack of resources to make such a film, which was elaborate in terms of equipment, but also to the unwillingness to produce genre films. In terms of content, the films focused very much on a socialist future community, and were therefore the dialogues were sometimes difficult to bear.
Incidentally, the American „Enterprise“ made its maiden voyage on U.S. color television on September 8, 1966, nine days before the „Orion“, and still flies today. Perhaps the Orion, a black and white series was indeed simply lacking the color not only to show the future, but to have one. 

Comic Strip
Raumpatrouille. Die Abenteuer des schnellen Raumkreuzers Orion. Nach der Fernsehserie von Rolf Honold und W. G. Larsen. Manuscript comic strip made by G. Schreppel, Jena after the TV series broad-casted by the West German WDR in 1966. (GDR, after 1968) Episode 1 to 5 and 7 (missing installment six). Color pen and ink hand-drawings. In privately made folder.
Unique and unpublished comic strip after the TV soap: Raumpatrouille. Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raum-schiffes Orion (Space Patrol. The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion; engl.), also known as Raumpatrouille Orion. It was the first german science fiction television series in seven episodes  which were broadcast beginning 17 September 1966. At the same time in the U.S.A. the first episode of Star Trek / Enterprise was broadcasted. Being a huge success in Germany with several reruns audience ratings went up to 56%. Over the years, the series acquired a distinct cult status in Germany. In the series, nations no longer exist and earth is united. Flying saucers, such as space-ship Orion, are flown by humans, whilst the aliens fly fighter jet-like aircraft. The titular ship of the series title, „Spaceship Orion“ is portrayed as being a fast space cruiser, the newest starship in mankind’s fleet and the fastest spacecraft ever created by humans. The show tells the story of Commander Cliff Allister McLane, an Earth starship captain and his loyal crew. He is Orion’s commander in the developing war against an alien race called the Frogs. He is notoriously defiant towards his superiors. Episodes: I. On their first mission after being reprimanded and transferred to space patrol service, the crew of the Orion investigate an outpost gone silent and promptly discover a new extraterrestrial threat. II. When the Frogs send a rogue planet on a collision course to Earth, only the Orion may be able to stop it. III. The crew of the Orion investigates a mining outpost not responding to calls and discovers a problem with the robotic workforce. IV. A human commander tries to defect to the Frogs, later saying he doesn’t remember the incident. When the Orion is ordered to the sector where it took place, similar things happen to the Orion crew and loyalties are put to the test. V. Variations in the sun’s energy output threaten the Earth’s climate. The Orion crew investigates and discovers a long forgotten colony of humanity which may be responsible. VI. The Orion takes aboard a writer looking for inspiration for his next novel, which doesn’t make things easier when the crew encounter a colony of outcasts with dangerous ambitions. VII. Unusual behavior by high-ranking intelligence officials makes Commander McLane suspect a conspiracy. No one listens to his warnings until it is too late: the invasion by the Frogs is already underway.
This manuscript comic was made in the GDR by a certain G. Schreppel. The broadcasting of the TV series could not be seen in the GDR and it was also forbidden to see West German television. Somebody made this comic after the actual broadcasting (he had seen) to distribute the content of the TV series to a few people in his circle.

 

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