Science Fiction Studies

#18 = Volume 6, Part 2 = July 1979




Franz Rottensteiner

Some German Writings on Science Fiction

Since I last reported here on German books about SF (see SFS No. 4: 1974), they have swollen to a veritable flood. Leaving aside those that I have edited or contributed to,1 I might begin by mentioning two translations, which may be more accessible to some readers in German than in the original languages. The first is Julij Kagarlizki's Was ist Phantastik? (What is SF?, [East] Berlin: Das Neue Berlin, 1977. 339p. 12 Mark), the only book on SF to appear in the German Democratic Republic so far. This popularizing and unsystematic history-cum-philosophy of SF (reviewed in SFS No. 6: 1975) by a well-known Russian scholar is far less dogmatic than some of the studies by West German Marxists referred to later; in fact, Kagarlizki finds even some words in defense of Heinlein. The other is volume one of Stanislaw Lem's Phantastik und Futurologie (SF and Futurology, Frankfurt: Insel Verlag, 1977. 478p. DM 34), as part of Lem's German-language Collected Works; it is a difficult and complex attempt at a theory of SF and a sometimes vitriolic attack on SF as it is (a translation of Lem's chapter on the time-travel story appeared in SFS No. 3). Volume two, which is even more massive, is to follow in 1979.

Dieter Hasselblatt's Grune Männchen vom Mars: Science Fiction fur Leser und Macher  (Little Green Men From Mars: SF for Readers and Writers, Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1977. 234p. DM 26) is a popular introduction to SF by the man responsible for the production of many SF radio-plays, first in Cologne, and now with Bayerische Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) in Munich. He has also often written on SF in the German press, lectured on it, edited a series of juvenile SF for Thienemann Verlag, and himself begun writing it. His book is an anecdotal, wide-ranging, richly documented, but not very well organized survey of SF, with particular stress on market conditions, packaging, advertising, and spin-offs of the written product. Considering SF as a market commodity, he summarizes and criticizes a small number of SF stories and writers, following no discernible plan: Orwell's 1984, e.g., is lumped together with politico-technological potboilers of a German "hard SF" writer between the World Wars like Hans Dominik on the thin pretext that they are both somehow "prophetic." The book also contains much advice, mostly sound, to novices on how to construct an effective story. What the book has to say about theory is to be found in a few short chapters on the difference between SF, utopia, and futurology. Though they distinguish between symbolic and literal models of future situations, these chapters are more epigrammatic than analytic. Lem is often quoted, but whereas Lem is deeply worried about the state of and trends in SF, Hasselblatt is (like Leslie Fiedler) quite satisfied with the kind of fiction that the masses "really want to read." He does not establish any standards, and frequently attacks modern literature as well as the supposedly arrogant defenders of "high literature" -- views that are somewhat surprising for someone whose doctoral thesis was on Franz Kafka. For Hasselblatt, SF is just another product in the market place. He quotes a good deal from other books and newspaper articles on SF, including much material that is difficult to find, and for this his entertaining and popularly written book is valuable; but its aims are unfocussed, and its critical value strictly limited.

Die deformierte Zukunft: Untersuchungen zur Science Fiction, edited by Reimer Jehmlich and Hartmut Lück (The Deformed Future: Studies in SF. 208p. DM 22), comprises six essays by the editors and two SF fans. Jehmlich is a teacher (now writing a full-length study of SF), while Lück is an extremely leftist Communist critic. The introduction to SF by Reimer Jehmlich, "Es war einmal im Jahre 17,000," tries to give a capsule history of the genre, describe its characteristics, define it, and show what differentiates it from other genres; it also lists the weaknesses of SF, and gives suggestions for its improvement. All this is perhaps too much for a short essay, many of whose facts are wrong or at least misleading (e.g., his discussion of the economic situation of SF writers does not specify to which time his statements may have applied).

More modest but more informative is Gerd Hallenberger's survey of SF "Amateurzeitschriften" or fanzines. He discusses a number of select fanzines and academic journals on SF: Foundation, Extrapolation, Quarber Merkur, the German Science Fiction Times, The Riverside Quarterly, SF Commentary, and Speculation.

Jehmlich's second, and better, essay is a discussion of SF treatments of war and armed conflicts, "Das andere ist Handarbeit: Martialische Science Fiction." Dealing with the notion advanced by some German Marxist critics that SF is indoctrination, a conscious attempt to cement the ideology of capitalism (and some more sinister isms), he points out that SF situations and characters are far too unreal to allow an easy identification that would lead to political action. Nonetheless, the simplifications and black-white polarizations of SF do falsify reality and tempt the reader to accept simplistic solutions; furthermore, SF uncritically presents violence as a legitimate means for the solution of real conflicts. Therein lies its danger, not in any conscious or overt political indoctrination. This strikes me as a balanced assessment of the effect of fiction.

In "Vom galaktischen Geist und seinen Propheten: Theologische Elemente in der Science Fiction" Harmut Lück discusses the role of religion in writers like Asimov, Clarke, Blish, Walter M. Miller, Jr., and a few others; as a materialist he deplores such remnants of metaphysics, believing that it is their destiny to die out, and that it is necessary to change those situations of Earth that make metaphysical justifications necessary.

Hans Joachim Alpers' essay "Weltuntergangsvisionen in der Science Fiction" is a disappointment. Alpers discusses several end-of-the-world and post-atomic stories by Wyndham, Christopher, Ballard, and others, and interprets the cataclysms described--which unite mankind against a common threat--as an escape from facing the real nature of conflicts in our society, i.e. the struggle between social classes. In such an approach, there is to my mind no place for literary values, and logically Alpers find that there is really nothing to choose between the various cataclysmic stories, however good or bad they may be.

Lück's second essay, "Der 'Grosse Ring' der Galaxis: Tendenzen der wissenschaftlich- fantastischen Literatur in der Sowjetunion," is a short survey of Soviet SF. He sees it as something radically different from the Western variety -- as socially more conscious and more responsible. He discusses in some detail Bogdanov's Red Star (1907), Alexei Tolstoi's Aelita, and Efremov. The latter's Andromeda is presented as approaching the ideal of Soviet SF, and The Hour of the Bull as a political tract -- crude political propaganda -- that takes the Soviet side in the Sino-Soviet conflict. Zamiatim, of course, is discussed only as a counter- revolutionary.

Lück is also the author of a full study of Soviet SF, Fantastik, Science Fiction, Utopie: Das Realismusproblem in der utopisch-fantastischen Literatur (Fantasy, SF, Utopia: The Problem of Realism, D-6300 Giessen, Box 2328: Focus Verlag, 1977. 355p. DM 24, 80), a revised version of his doctoral dissertation, "Utopie und Prognose" (Bremen Univ., 1975). Focus Verlag is one of several small Marxist publishers in West Germany, and the work a long exposition of Lück's extremely dogmatic views on SF. For him, SF from socialist countries is something utterly different from both utopias and Western SF. It is a politically committed literature which is socially based on the development towards socialism and deals with social and technological problems of the future. "Scientific" in his sense means based on "scientific socialism" and materialism. He uses the fathers of Marxism to arrive at his very narrow and personal definition of what is true realism in literature. The trouble with such views, which revolve around subtle points of dogma culled from obsolete writings, is that violent quarrels about them ensue even (and especially) between Marxist critics. Thus Lück polemicizes not just against non-Marxist critics but also against all other Marxists who have written on SF. It should also be noted that this dogmatism seems to be a particular trait of the apostolic West German leftists, who give themselves airs of being the sole possessors of the real truth in political and literary matters. The best critics from actual Communist countries write much more subtly and less Teutonically: the Soviet critics' references to Marxism often appear as a necessary exercise, while from some critics in other Warsaw Pact countries you would not guess that Marx or Lenin ever existed.

The upshot in Lück is a highly artificial ideal construct of what SF should be, but in reality never was -- not even in its Communist versions. For Lück, the main purpose of SF is criticism of the existing social order and the prognosis of an alternative future order, both based on a "scientific" socialism which is materialist and not positivist or phenomenological (Lem, e.g., is branded by Lück as positivistic and theological). This highly idiosyncratic theoretical part is followed by a brief polemic with "bourgeois" and Soviet SF criticism. Then he proceeds to the discussion of the texts themselves: Bellamy, Morris, a German Marxist utopia of the 1930's (Utopolis by Werner Illing), and some Western SF Asimov and Walter M. Miller, Jr., amongst others--in which he notes theories of Social Darwinism, symbols of god, and apocalypses. Part three, the actual discussion of Soviet SF, fails to show that its social commitment is indeed as central as Lück claims. Also, l would say that the actual state of SF and SF publishing in the Warsaw Pact countries has little in common with his lofty ideas.

In addition to Lück's, two more West German doctoral theses on Soviet SF have been published. The better of the two is Bernd Rullkötter's Die Wissenschaftliche Phantastik der Sowjetunion: Eine vergleichende Untersuchung der spekulativen literatur in Ost und West, European University Papers, Series XVIII, Comparative Literature, vol. 5 (Bern: Herbert Lang, and Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1974. 303p. SFr. 45, 60). His well-researched study, rich in material, gives a comparative history and overview of Soviet SF, noting that SF is more highly regarded in the USSR than in the West and more socially oriented, but not necessarily better: it is primarily a "better behaved sister" of Western SF. Both use the same clichés -- such as robots, time travel, contact with aliens -- although with some significant differences. The real consequences of time travel paradoxes, e.g., are rarely considered -- and a story, say, in which the October Revolution did not take place or one in which communism lost out to capitalism could not get published -- in the Soviet Union. Therefore the authors escape from the narrow limits of what is possible as social critique into superficial paradoxes, satires of the class enemy or harmless jokes. Most valuable in this book are perhaps the segments that discuss the well-known anti-utopias and the influence of Dostoevsky's "Grand Inquisitor" on SF. Typical for the mass of Soviet SF is the positive, integrated, non-alienated hero; there are no indecisive and doubting Dostoevskian individuals or nineteeth-century "superfluous people" in Soviet literature. But such heroes reappear to some extent in Soviet SF by means of confronting convinced communists with feudal and bourgeois states on other planets, where they necessarily feel out of place. The problems with Soviet authorities begin when the heroes -- as in some novels of the Strugatskys, notably in The Snail on the Slope -- feel alienated in a communist society too.

The other book on Russian SF is Hans Földeak's Neuere Tendenzen der sowjetischen Science Fiction, Slavistische Beiträge No. 88 (Munich: Otto Sagner, 1975. 208p. DM 21), a solid, though not brilliant thesis. Its first part is again a not terribly original discussion of the "structure of SF," oriented to a large extent towards Suvin (sometimes polemically, especially as regards Suvin's views on "estrangement") and his extrapolative and analogical models of SF. Földeak distinguishes between "realistic-speculative" (extrapolative and autonomous) models and "signaling" models of SF (models with transposition in space, with playful estrangement, and encoded models). The main part of his book presents analyses, more detailed than in either Rullkötter or Lück, of selected works of Soviet SF, which are discussed under headings supposedly typical for a kind of Soviet SF. Thus the section "Positive Didactism" discusses under "space travel" the Strugatsky's Land of the Purple Clouds, under "social modeling" Efremov's Andromeda, and under "moral-philosophical didactism" the Strugatskys' Far Rainbow; while "Negative Didacticism" comprises "ideological didacticism" (Efremov's The Hour of the Bull), "socio-political criticism" (the Strugatskys' Final Circle of Paradise), "philosophical fantasy" (Gennadiy Gor), "playful satire" (the Strugatskys' Monday Begins on Saturday and the humorous writings of llya Varshavsky), and finally SF as the expression of an existentialist experience (the Strugatskys' Snail on the Slope). A third part of Földeak's book gives another capsule history of the genre in the Soviet Union, sometimes under captions that reflect Soviet literary politics--either tactics employed by reviewers to defend the genre, or fetters prepared by officials: "Scientific Dreams in Literary Form," "Literature About the Bright Future," "SF as an Ideological Weapon."

Another group of German works deals specifically with Anglo-American SF. The most detailed of them is perhaps Martin Schäfer's Science Fiction als Ideologiekritik?: Utopische Spuren in der amerikanischen SF-Literatur 1940-1955, American Studies, vol. 48 (SF as Ideological Critique? Utopian Traces in US SF, Stuttgart: Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1977. 329p. DM 39. 50). This study traces the survival of the utopian impulse in current SF. It tidily begins with general chapters on the problems and the history of utopian and similar fiction. The Gothic romances, in which a revolutionary-enlightening strand is apparent, are particularly stressed, and the anti-utopias briefly discussed. This is followed by a short and generally accurate description of the US publication forms and market conditions in 1940-55. The main thrust is an investigation of SF views on technology especially apparent in the texts of Heinlein, De Camp, Kuttner, and other Astounding writers. Schäfer diagnoses a preference for technological efficiency, the smooth functioning of social mechanism (typically expressed in Heinlein's story "The Roads Must Roll"), and a libertarian individualism, combined with a deep distrust of the dumb masses. Power belongs rightfully to a technologically competent elite, and liberty is stressed as a necessary prerequisite for the success of the competent. The test for the competence of the technological elite is that, given a free play of forces, it emerges as the guardian of efficiency. Writers like Leiber, Kuttner, and Sturgeon are seen as forming a certain opposition to the common Astounding philosophy; at some times--in particular, immediately after the war and the atomic bomb--a sort of theory of the convergence of social systems was being advanced, in the sense that ruthless efforts to meet the danger posed by a warlike enemy would destroy liberty just as surely. Later, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy provided a forum for these more critical and ironical writers, but the greatest public success was the nostalgic sentimentality of a Ray Bradbury. Schäfer also discusses some rather tame SF polemics against McCarthy that sometimes offered an escape into space as salvation. The highest praise is lavished on Philip K. Dick, even in whose earliest work Schäfer finds a genuine political consciousness and an individual way of discussing critical concerns. But he also ascribes certain utopian tendencies--although largely submerged, and hardly articulated -- even to mass market SF. They appear on four different levels: in unconscious or half-conscious dreams and childish fantasies; in certain literary techniques and utopian cliches (such as the notion of a perfectible future world); in the narrative pattern of the disrupted world order that is to be restored; and in conscious (albeit mostly technocratic) utopianism, social criticism, and (far too seldom) the construction of future societies. Schäfer's analyses are far more detailed than is usual in German writings on SF, but they too focus on the ideological content of SF, and the actual presentation is often involved and hard to follow.

In sheer size, the hugest work on SF so far in German is Science Fiction Literatur in den USA: Vorstudien fur eine materialistische Paraliteraturwissenschaft (Giessen: Focus Verlag, 1978. 519p. DM 32) by Horst Schröder, a German author and translator living in Scandinavia, and in contact with Swedish fandom. Like Hasselblatt. he considers SF from the point of view of popular fiction, "paraliterature" as he neutrally calls it; like Lück, he is a Marxist, though not so doctrinaire. He is especially concerned with market conditions and commercial forms of SF; he has talked with authors, and presents data on circulation (which do not seem very reliable to me), magazines, books, publishers, readers, authors, the packaging and marketing of SF. In the third and longest part of his book he studies the "Ideology of SF" in chapters whose headings are self-explanatory: "Occult Lightning From the Sky," "Scientific Rhetorics," "Mythological Capitalism," "False Realities," and "Sexual Politics" are some among them. In "False Realities," for instance, he discusses racial struggles, anti-communism in SF, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam war. Sub-chapters explicate individual authors or typical or relevant works. Cordwainer Smith is discussed as "comforting terror," Poul Anderson's Tau Zero as "Darwinist proof by testing," Philip K. Dick as a "petty-bourgeois." Nevertheless, Schröder's book presents a wealth of data, and his value judgements, undoubtedly informed by his politics, are too often justified.

A thesis both more neutral and more specialized is Dieter Wessels's Welt im Chaos: Straktur und Funktion des Welthatastrophenmotirs in der neueren Science Fiction, Studien zur Anglistik (World in Chaos: The Catastrophe Motif in Modern SF, Frankfurt: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, 1974. 332p. DM 32), a survey of cataclysmic stories in modern SF. Wessel divides his subject into typological sections, such as natural catastrophes, threats posed by aliens and monsters, science and technology, war, population explosion, atomic war. He considers factors such as cultural pessimism, escapism, and provocation, as well as horror effects. Structurally, he distinguishes between the catastrophe as a historical event, catastrophe as a process, and tales of the end of time; he considers time and space as structural elements, as well as the plausibility of catastrophes. Catastrophic stories may function as a warning against science and technology, as a description of the behavior of human beings in catastrophes and also as social criticism and the expression of eschatological longing. In many tales the desire for a simpler world, to be rebuilt out of the ruins of our world, becomes apparent: the catastrophe is a purging of mankind. Foremost among the books discussed are those by John Wyndham, Disch's The Genocides, and some books by J.G. Ballard (which are vastly different from the usual catastrophic SF story). Wessels's book strikes me as a run-of-the-mill thesis on SF; it supplies a convenient summary of a prominent SF theme, but not much more, and could have included many more samples.

In Germany, "high" literature has come under attack as an elitist pastime for a few well-to-do people, so that attention is beginning to be paid to what is actually read by the masses and to the ideological content of their reading matter. What was earlier dismissed as trash and tripe has now been given more neutral terms such as popular fiction, paraliterature, mass literature; within it, much attention has focused on the most successful SF series ever, Perry Rhodan. Its publisher boasts now of a world circulation of 500 million copies, a record that will be hard to beat. There are translations in France, Brazil, The Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, the USA, and England. In Germany, the 4th reprint of this dime-novel series is reputedly outselling the current numbers (now well over 800), a new Perry Rhodan magazine is a huge success, and a recent edition of several Perry Rhodan adventures, rewritten in book form, sold 70,000 copies, despite a price tag of more that $10. There are also many highly profitable spin-offs of the series, Perry Rhodan has been extensively commented on in the German press and on TV, mostly in inimical form (these attacks have also boosted its circulation), and there are now also some books on it. The first of them is Perry Rhodan: Untersuchung einer Science Fiction-Heftromanserie (Giessen: Anabas Verlag, 1976. 152p. DM 14.80) by Beate and Jürgen Ellerbrock and Frank Thiesse, a volume produced with an eye for the teacher of German literature who sometimes stoops to consider paraliterary genres. The aim of this very leftist book is to contribute to the formation of a critical consciousness, i.e. one aware of the "class struggle." It concentrates mostly on a description of the publications and their spin-offs, with examples of the texts and long content summaries of four typical Perry Rhodan novels, on the audience of the series, etc. The publishers of Perry Rhodan plug it as liberal and fostering tolerance: in its universe, they say, all races and peoples are equal, and war is only the last resort after all peaceful and diplomatic means for the solving of conflicts have been exhausted; there are no military conquests. Between these publicly proclaimed aims and what is actually described in the series there is a deep divide, so that the critics are finding in it the basic motifs of the fascist ideology, such as the emphasis on togetherness (including nationalism), property, certain anticapitalist slogans directed against the large monopolies, a philosophy of the scapegoat explaining all the evils of this world, and finally a militarism that prepares the masses to accept war. So far, so good; the evidence for this in Perry Rhodan cannot be questioned. But the authors also add some heavily ideological comment (in the jargon of the German left) on the situation in West Germany.

A second study of the Perry Rhodan series is much more thoroughgoing and generally superior, but has the annoying habit of pretending to be a study of SF as a whole. This is Klaus-Peter Klein's Zukunftzwischen Trauma und Mythos: Science-fiction: Zur Wirkungsästhetik, Sozialpsychologie und Didaktik eines literarischen Massenphänomens, Literaturwissenschaft-Gesellschaftswissenschaft. Materialien und Untersuchungen zur Literatursoziologie, No. 19 (The Future Between Trauma and Myth, Stuttgart: Ernst Klett 1976. 248p. DM 19.80). Although the author begins, in the academic tradition, with a discussion of previous German writings on SF, his book deals in effect only with Perry Rhodan, and what few quotations from other dime novels it contains are just thrown in for an alibi (such as a "fascist" quote from Poul Anderson). He concedes that other SF is not quite so sterile in sexual matters as is Rhodan, but that is all. This is extremely misleading, for the symptoms of fascism that he naturally enough discovers in Perry Rhodan would be hard to confirm from a statistical sample of better SF. Once it is set aside, Klein's is a quite useful analysis of the Perry Rhodan universe, under the aspects of ideology, technology, science, work, the professions, erotics and sexuality, religion and mythology, war and conflicts, politics, economics, and so on. Klein finds that the series masquerades behind a claim to human intelligence which has no basis in the actuality of the texts themselves, since the authors employ an inept, pseudo-sophisticated vocabulary, pretending to a knowledge that they do not have. Klein diagnoses in the series militarism, adherence to the Führer principle, imperialism, colonialism, racism, biologism, escapism, and a regression into myth. The book concentrates on the ideological analysis, which is generally more useful than the short chapters on narrative structures, metaphors, and composition of the novels. One cannot help feeling, however, that a study of such length of a series that is morally and in other ways so objectionable is quite a waste of time.

The only single-author studies available in German are devoted to Paul Scheerbart (1863-1915), an outsider in German literature. Scheerbart was not an SF writer in the strict or "hard" sense, but he was also unlike other fantasy writers. In his books, written in a quite simple, almost childlike style, he created mostly cosmic and oriental worlds, indulging in excesses of forms and colors. He favored overflowing cosmic wonders, constantly metamorphosing. In his literary cosmos stars, comets, and planets are sentient beings, and everything is divorced from any terrestrial -- physical or social -- gravity and stands in total opposition to Earth and its misery. A recent full-length study of his work is Christian Ruosch's Die phantastisch-surreale Welt im Werke Paul Scheerbart  (European University Papers, Series 1, German language and literature, vol. 42 (Bern: Herber Lang, 1970. 136p. SFr. 19.80). Ruosch expounds especially the similarities between Scheerbart and earlier artists of the grotesque and the surreal, such as Brueghel, da Vinci's apocalyptic paintings, Dürer, Rafael, Michelangelo, Arcimboldi, and the contemporary Viennese painter Ernst Fuchs, but also mystic, cosmic, and gnostic authors like Athanasius Kircher and Cyrano (one of the writers admired by Scheerbart); he also notes certain similarities with Jung's archetypes. Ruosch discusses in detail Scheerbart's new aesthetics, arrived at by putting together old and familiar elements, his literature of "otherness," his continually changing and metamorphosing world of cosmic beauty, his playing with language, and the paradises envisioned: a lost paradise, the Oriental paradise, an artificial, and a future paradise. This is a work that covers much ground, quotes extensively from Scheerbart's work, and manages to give a comprehensive picture of the unique literary universe of this strange writer.

The second and even larger book on Paul Scheerbart in the same series, Hubertus von Gemmingen's Paul Scheerbarts astrale Literatur, Series I, German language and literature, vol. 173 (Bern: Herbert Lang, and Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1976. 253p. 36 SFr), is an analysis of Lesabéndio (1913). Often called Scheerbart's best novel, this text develops a conflict between the more technologically and the more artistically minded factions among the inhabitants of the fairy-tale world on the asteroid Pallas. Lesabéndio is a leader bent on building a high tower and achieving communication with the greater cosmos beyond his world through a contact with the "head system" of his asteroid, hidden by a luminous cloud. Von Gemmingen provides a scrupulous and detailed description of the novel, seeing the movement between above and below as the decisive device of the novel. He also investigates the book's relationship with other utopias and fantasies. His work, however, seems to me more industrious than insightful.

Finally, one should mention that the best German periodical is still Science Fiction Times, a semi-professional magazine appearing about four times a year from Bremerhaven, published by the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Spekulative Thematik" (6 issues may be ordered for DM 22 from H.J. Alpers, Weissenburger Str. 6, D-2850 Bremerhaven, West Germany). The magazine has improved much in recent years. Each issue features a number of longish, usually thoughtful and critical, essays and many shorter reviews, as well as current bibliography and news on the SF and fantasy scene in West Germany and abroad. Some numbers have been devoted to special subjects or themes - such as comics or films, on which Science Fiction Times is particularly strong.2


1. Nonetheless, the SFS editors feel that Dr. Rottensteiner's modesty should not deprive our readers of essential information. The other critical anthologies are:

-- Weigand, Jörg. Die triviale Phantasie: Beiträge zur Verwertbarkeit von Science Fiction. Bonn-Bad Godesberg: Asgard-Verlag Dr. Werner Hippe KG. 1976. I 60pp. DM 20. Essays by Wolfgang Jeschke, Hans Joachim Alpers, Franz Rottensteiner, Jörg Weigand, Herbert W. Franke, Dieter Hasselblatt, Jürgen vom Scheidt, Rudolf Stefen (4 of them translated in SFS Nos. 13 and 14).

--Weigand, Jörg, ed. Vorbildliches Morgen: Experten stellen ausgewählte Science Fiction-Stories vor. Bonn-Bad Godesberg: Asgard Verlag, 1978. 132pp. DM 17.80. Hans Joachim Alpers, Eike Barmeyer, Walter Ernsting, Jörg Weigand, Jürgen vom Scheid, Franz Rottensteiner, Thomas Le Blanc, Heinrich Vormweg and Herbert W. Franke select and comment on stories by Ballard, Bradbury, Clarke, Franke, Klaus Lea, Lem, Pohl, Tenn, and Zelazny.

--Rottensteiner, Franz, ed. Polaris 3. Frankfurt: Insel Verlag, 1974 266pp, DM 7. An anthology of Russian SF, containing essays by Rafail Nudelman and Darko Suvin.

--Rottensteiner, Franz, ed. Polaris 3. Frankfurt: Insel Verlag, 1975 239pp, DM 7. Includes essays by Uwe Japp, Hans Joachim Piechotta, A. Lebedev, and Ion Hobana.

--Rottensteiner, Franz, ed. Polaris 4. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1978 188pp, DM 6. Devoted to French SF, includes essays by Ion Hobana, J.-P. Vernier, Jorg Kirchbaum & Rein A. Zondergeld, and Jörg Weigand (the Vernier essay taken from SFS No. 6). - DS

2. Franz Rottensteiner publishes the irregularly appearing periodical Quarber Merkur (usually 4 issues of large dittoed format yearly, ca. 55,000 words per issue; available from the publisher Alpers at his above address at DM 3 per issue). It has to be mentioned here as undoubtedly the most important journal of SF and fantasy criticism on the European continent. Its particular strength is that it covers SF from all over Europe and America. It contains criticism translated from English and Eastern-European languages; it has pioneered the recognition of Scheerbart, Lem, the Strugatsky Brothers, etc. It is strongly recommended to anyone wishing to be in contact with European SF criticism. -- DS

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