Montag, 15. Oktober 2018

Pulp :: Raumpiraten des Neptun!


Homeward-bound with his vital secret of Sun control, Captain Dexter Ames of the Space-Ship Discoverer runs into pirate trouble!


YES, there were three specks in the stratosphere, far off to the right. The quartzite lenses did not lie. Captain Dexter Ames of the Earth-ship Discoverer drew hack from the squat telescope with worry furrowing his forehead.
Three space ships! Where did they come from? Were they friends or enemies of the exploring craft hurrying home wilh fateful news? He pressed a button to summon his second in command, and in a moment Doctor Phillips was at his side.
„What is it, Captain?”
Ames focused the telescope and gestured. „Take a look.“
The little scientist squinted through the space-revealing tube and exclaimed in alarm. „What are they?“
„They’re not Earth-ships,” said Ames grimly.
„Perhaps they’re Inter-Planet patrol craft,“ suggested the doctor hopefully.
Ames shook his head. „They don’t cruise in threes.“
The little doctor glanced worriedly about him, as though seeking the cause of their trouble. His eyes fell on the great figure sprawled upon a bench in the wing of the control cabin. Ames, too, glanced that way, his eyes running over the ten-foot giant. and suddenly his eyes gleamed.
„I’ve got an idea, Doc!“ He gestured to the helmet, made of metallic coils, on the doctor’s head. „Let’s show the Prince the ships in the scope, and you test his thought-reaction!“
The doctor rubbed his hands. Quickly he led their amiable guest-hostage, the Prince of Alpha Astra, to the glass. The big fellow stared while the doctor fiddled with the tubes of his though-transference helmet. When the giant straightened there was a glitter of hostility in his eyes that made Ames’ pulse beat faster.
The doctor’s eyes were halfclosed, his lips parted as he strained to catch the drift of the giant’s thoughts. Then, „Ames! Ames!“ he cried excitedly. „I’ve got it! The Prince identifies – apparently with some doubt in his mind – those ships as pirates from Neptune!“
„Pirates!” whistled Ames. „We’ve had no word of pirates in these parts!“
The doctor pushed the helmet of his wrinkled brow. „You think they’ll attack us?“
Ames shook his head. „Don’t know. But they certainly will if they’ve any idea how much they could win by blasting us to dust.“ He turned to the speaking tube and his voice roared with clear command „Attention! Battle stations!“

THROUGH the listening tube came the sounds of quick movements, a swishing of soft-soled shoes on metal decks in the far recesses of the ship. Then came the responses. „Guns ready, sir!“ That was Chief Gunner Hatch’s clipped quick voice. „Engine-room standing by, sir,“ Chief Engineer Morgan drawled down in the bowels of the motor-room. Behind the captain a door popped open and the communications man poked his head out. „The board’s dead, sir, but we’re trying.”
The captain nodded. „Watch it carefully. Try to tune in on the Neptune band, and report instantly if the three ships off the starboard bow try to speak to us.“
„Three ships, sir!“ The communications man’s eyes popped wide. „Yes, sir!“ He vanished.
Ames watched the gunners in the shoulders of the control cabin at their job of ranging the big proton guns on the tiny targets ahead, calculating speed, debating projectile types. At the scope the little doctor fidgeted. „They’re bigger, Captain. You’d better take a look.“
Ames took one look and nodded to Doctor Phillips. „We’re in for it. Those are the Neptune pirates.“
The doctor paled. But he nodded matter-of-factly. „Perhaps we have the speed of them.“
Ames compressed his lips. „I doubt it. The Discoverer was built for a long cruise, not for fighting. However –“
He paced the bridge. The next few minutes might spell their safety or doom. Everything depended he fought his ship. Could he give the pirates the slip, or, failing that, trounce them in battle? It was three to one and those Neptune craft looked like war craft.
They came up fast, flying at a tangent that would put them on his starboard quarter. But no – they were crawling up, showing a speed that made the Discoverer look like a cripple. Ames barked into the speaking tube. „Morgan! Are you getting all the speed you can?“
Back came the answer, „The last gasp, Chief!“
The lean space-devils loomed larger. Ames could make out the ports where the muzzles of proton guns gleamed. Suddenly the leading ship fired.
Ames slammed the elevators hard down, and the Discoverer dived. As the great space ship slipped out of her course a dull boom sounded through her length, and she shivered. Ahead, a bright glow appeared. A shot across the bows – a warning to heave to!
Gunner Hatch’s voice sounded eager and quick. „We have the range, sir!“
„Not yet,” warned Ames. „Don’t fire. When you do, take that leading ship first.“

HE FLUNG the Discoverer of her course, seeking to elude the pirate trio. But the move gained only a few seconds. When he scanned the rearward air again, the third pirate ship had crept up on one side. „Hatch!“ he shouted. „Take that one – to port!“
„Aye, sir!“ And the port sternchaser spoke with a stunning concussion. Staggering, the pirate ship fell off, and Ames heard the gunners cheer. But in the next instant a crashing blow struck the Discoverer, hurling Ames to the deck, where he lay senseless.
He knew nothing of the motors’ futile thrumming as the Discoverer, her rudders jammed by the hit, swung into a giddy circle. Or of how the two unhurt pirate ships, matching the Discoverer’s speed, came alongside. He roused to see, dimly, the port and starboard bulkheads crashing in under the fire of the pirates’ protons, and a swarm of lean-faced hot-eyed Neptune men pouring through the breaches.
Four of them rushed into the control room, herding little Doctor Phillips before them. The leader surveyed the spacious control room.
„We can use her,“ he jeered in slurred Earth-language. „for cargo. And as for you–“ he jabbcd Ames with a ray pistol, „–you and your people will slave in our laboratories.” He gestured to the guards, and Ames and Phillips were jostled aft, into the half-empty cargo hold. The bulkhead slammed, and quiet fell in the big chamber.
Ames rubbed his throbbing head, and looked about him. The whole crew was gathered here, despair on their faces. In one corner sat the giant Prince, broodingly fingering a great gash on his forehead; evidently he had been stunned belore he was captured.
The ship rolled, and Ames knew that the course had been changed. The realization stirred him to frantic thought. „Once we’re on Neptune, we won’t have a chance,“ he told himself. „No, if we ever make the break, it must be now.“
But below him was a metal deck. Walls and ceiling were just as impregnable, and as for the door – he shook his head.
Then he sighted the giant again. Those broad shoulders –
Ames jumped to his feet. „Men!“ he cried. „Let’s try a break! If we can force that door, it’ll be split-second work to capture the prize crew. Are you ready?“
Morgan gave Ames an odd look, glancing sidewise at the ponderous door. But Hatch was on his feet. Ames tapped the giant on the shoulder. „It’s up to you. Prince.”
The giant of the First Star shook his head at the unfamiliar words. But his eyes gleamed when Ames rammed his shoulder at the door and then stood back. In a flash the ten-footer was on his feet. His first thrust made the stout door tremble, while he caromed off it as if he had been a cork on water. But his second try cracked a hinge, and the crew gave a suppressed yell. On the third plunge the giant Prince laid the door flat.
And over his sprawled body the Discoverer’s crew raced. In two minutes the ship was safe from stem to stern, with the prize crew of surly Neptune men in irons.
„Well, Doc!“ cried Ames. „Earth’s alliance with Alpha Astra is working already. Hey, Prince?“
The ten-foot Prince of the First Star grinned understandingly.

Erstveröffentlichung in "Planet Comics" #6, Juni 1940, Verlag Fiction House (defunkt)

Donnerstag, 11. Oktober 2018

Das Grauen in meiner Schublade

Wie lange ist es her? Wie lange müssen wir noch so leiden? Wie lange werden diese Männer mit den silbergrauen Bärten uns noch mit Geschichten aus Zeiten quälen, als es noch nicht mal ein vernünftiges Smartphone gab und man seinen Twitteraccount noch in Holz schnitzen musste? Das Grauen... das Grauen... das Grauen in Schublade X. Ich selbst, ich mich, ich selbst quäle den letzten Buchstaben, die letzte noch so dürftige Zeile, die zu finden ist.

Warum tue ich mir das nur immer wieder an?

Das Grauen: Früher einmal, liebe Kinder, gab es soetwas wie eine Maschine, mit der man schreiben konnte. Man nannte dies eine "Schreibmaschine", und meistens kam sie aus den Olympiawerken in Roffhausen, bei Wilhelmshaven. (Siehe Ghost Town Photography in diesem Blog, die Welt ist klein.) Mit dieser so genannten "Schreibmaschine" konnte man über eine Art Keyboard veranlassen, dass kleine Metallbuchstaben ein farbgetränktes Band gegen eine auf einer Art Walze aufgespanntes DinA4-Blatt Papier drückten und somit einen Abdruck dieses Buchstabens hinterliessen. Voll kompliziert, und voll altmodisch. Allerdings konnte die Datei (das Blatt) nicht einfach so verschwinden, wie z.B. die vier Entwürfe jeden Blogartikels, den die Fnords fressen, bevor er endlich von den Googletechnikern freigegeben und hochgeladen wird.

Und das ist das Problem: Wie soll man all diese toten Bäume entsorgen? darf man das überhaupt noch? Ist das nicht zeimlich pietätlos, dieses Opfer nicht wertzuschätzen, das für die fahrigen Fantasien vieler Sommernachmittage aufgebracht wurde? Wieviel Ries liegen hier wohl begraben... im Grauen meiner Schublade? (Ries ist ein tatsächlich existierendes Wort und beschreibt eine Menge von momentan 500 Blatt Papier). Schublade X, der entfernteste Ort in meinem Schreibtisch oder meinem Gehirn... Schon kriecht es hervor, flattert mit den traurigen Seiten wie ein todeswunder Vogel... etwas, das mir einmal unheimlich wichtig war und das sich einfach nicht töten lassen will...

Der Traumweltzyklus! Nicht so elegant wie die Traumwelten von Dunsany, und auch nicht so unheimlich wie die von Lovecraft, aber wenigstens Traumwelt! Im Schweiße meines Angesichtes auf einer Schreibmaschine von Olympia produziert... ich werde diese unheimlichen Geister der Schublade X in Zukunft nur noch "olympische Schriften" nennen, das klingt noch unheimlicher... eine reguläre Manuskriptseite (Norm) war damals 30 Zeilen mit bis zu 60 Zeichen (= 1.800)... was für eine Verschwendung, der junge Mann, der ich damals war, bekam soviele Zeichen drauf, wie draufpassten. Als man mir solche bizarren Konzepte wie "Absätze" und "Lesbarkeit" nahebrachte, 60 Zeilen mit 60 Zeichen (= 3.600). Davor auch mehr. Ohne Absätze.

Der Traumweltzyklus! 100 Seiten mit bis zu 3.600 Zeichen, also im Maximum 360.000 Zeichen. Hardcore! Es sind zwar nicht soviele, enttäuschenderweise, verdammte Absätze, aber dennoch... jeder normale Mensch würde davon ausgehen, dass da irgendetwas brauchbares dabei wäre, oder? Ein Relikt der goldenen Zeit zur Erbauen dieser düsteren Tage... Ich verrate euch ein Geheimnis, und darin liegt das Grauen, das schnell und heimlich wieder in die Tiefen der Schublade X verbannt werden soll:

Ein normaler Mensch würde davon ausgehen...
...aber wer jemals hat behauptet, dass Schriftsteller normal sind?

Montag, 8. Oktober 2018

Pulp :: Echsenmenschen des Ersten Sternes! [2]


Ravaged by quakes and floods, Earth send Captain Dexter Ames through outer space to discover the mysterious secret of Sun-control.


CAPTAIN DEXTER AMES, guiding the spaceship Discoverer out of gloomy canyon walls for a survey of the mystery planet Alpha Astra, wheeled eagerly when Doctor Phillips, his second in command, sputtered in amazement as he stared groundward through the powerful, squat telescope in the wing of the control cabin.
„Well, Doc?“
„There! Down there – among the Lizard-Men!“ stuttered the little scientist, staring.
„What!“ exclaimed Ames. „More of the scaly devils? Like the ones we fought off in the canyon?“
„Yes, yes,“ snapped the doctor. „But that’s not all!“ He fidgeted at the scope. „There he is! A giant, Captain, a giant!“
„A what?“
The bald little doctor danced a jig about the scope. „See for yourself! An amazing fellow! He might be an Earth-man like us, but for his size.“
„Sure the light hasn’t fooled you?“ asked Ames, stepping to the scope as Chief Gunner Hatch took over the controls.
„No! The Lizard-Men are all around him, rearing up to their six feet. You can judge his height hy them!“
It was so, Ames saw. Down on the level plain a horde of the scaly green Lizard-Men swarmed about a great plattform. And chained to the middle of the platform was the doctor’s giant.
Ames’ eyes sparkled. „A giant!“ he cried. „There’s other life, then, on the oldest star of them all! A giant! Perhaps it’s his people who know the secret of Sun-control – his people who just now are touching off quakes and floods on Earth!“
„If we can rescue him,“ the doctor began. „and take him aboard–“
„We’ll rescue him, all right,“ snapped Ames. „Our ray-guns can take care of those Lizard-Men. We proved that in the canyon.“

Samstag, 6. Oktober 2018

Fanboy :: Der kriechende Tod!

Ja, glubschäugiger Pirat vom Mars, es wird Dich erwischen, und deine gerechte Strafe dich ereilen! Er-ei-len...

Unter den vergessenen Meistern des Goldenen Zeitalters ist wohl keiner, der dem Grotesken, dem Hässlichen und Schrecklichen so nahestand wie Basil Wolverton. Und dies mit einem Lächeln. Ein entspannter Herr, der zeitgleich und mit dem gleichen unverwechselbaren Stil ("Spaghetti & Meatballs") die unheimlichsten Horrorstories der 50er illustrierte und in MAD und anderen Magazinen dieser Sorte Bild- und Wortwitz einer einmaligen, anders grotesken Weise veröffentlichte.

Zehn Kisten Pils in der Ranzbude


Warum Berlin viele Einwohner, aber kaum Bürger hat Eine gute Zusammenfassung für Probleme, die nicht nur in der Hauptstadt inzwischen vor der Tür stehen. Früher hatte man mir die ganze Sache mal anders erklärt, in den Zeiten von "beBerlin", mit mangelnder Indentifizierung oder dass man seine Stadt schlicht und einfach als kalt und herzlos empfindet. Die dysfunktionale Stadt betrifft uns alle, oder wo funktionieren die Dinge noch so, wie es sinnvoll wäre. Oder sinnstiftend? – Quelle: © 2018

Stirbt der Rock'n'Roll auf dem Kiez? "Verrückt und schlaflos musste man schon immer sein, um einen Club zu eröffnen. Aber es reicht nicht mehr, wie seinerzeit eine Anlage und zehn Kisten Pils in eine Ranzbude zu stellen und es Pudel Club oder Heinz Karmers zu nennen." Wie schade. Schon wieder einmal. - Quelle: © 2018

Donnerstag, 4. Oktober 2018

Nachtmusick :: Irgendwo nahe, und doch fern

Als der zuständige preußische Minister den Namen sah, den die ehemals friesischen Anwohner sich für das ehrgeizige Projekt wünschten, das ehedem Zollern am Meer heißen sollte, zückte er in Unkenntnis des alten Sprachgebrauches seinen Gänsekiel und verbesserte das "v" von Wilhelmshaven in ein orthografisch korektes, hochdeutsches "f". Auch heute noch kommt manch Uneingeweihter daher und denkt, die Friesen könnten nicht schreiben. Das mag in vielen Fällen auch so sein, wird aber auch den nächsten zugereisten Klugscheißer nicht vor ihrem Zorn bewahren.
Zu dieser launigen Legende aus meiner Jugend ein angemessener Soundtreck (& weil es witzig ist.)

Montag, 1. Oktober 2018

Pulp :: Echsenmenschen des Ersten Sternes! [1]


Piloted by Capt. Dexter Ames, 21,000 A.D. outward-space Columbus, the rocket-ship lands on the mystery-planet of Astra, only to be overwhelmed by the rodent-faced Lizard Men.


CAPTAIN DEXTER AMES caught his breath. The swirling vapors, miles in depth, had blown clear, and through the magnifying transparent shield of the space ship’s control room he could see the feared mystery planet straight ahead. He turned exultantly to the white-haired man beside him.
„There she is, Doctor! Just where the Observatory plotted her!”
Doctor Phillips smiled wistfully. „And you think we can succeed in finding the secret of Alpha Astra’s control over the Sun?“
Ames clapped a hand affectionately on the older man’s shoulder. „I hope so, for all our sakes.“ There was meaning in his voice, and unconsciously his gaze shifted to the slim figure of the girl who stood a few paces away; staring at the strange newly-discovered Alpha Astra, First of the Stars.
„There may be great danger ahead – dangers that we of Earth have never known,“ Dr. Phillips reminded the captain.
„We’ll have to take our chances,“ said Ames soberly.
The doctor turned to join Ames in an avid survey of the great star, whose form grew in size – even though the space ship was coasting through the heavens. Now that they were getting close, young Captain Ames wished that Cara Phillips, the doctor’s daughter, was back on Earth, for the landing on Alpha Astra bade fair to be a memorable one.
He sounded the alert. „Stations!“ he called through the control tube. „Prepare to land!“
As he adjusted his ray pistol the girl moved to his side. „Good luck, Captain“
„And to you, Cara,“ Ames rejoined. „Stay with the ship.“
She nodded, her eyes troubled. Then Ames turned and took the controls himself for the landing. He shot the rocket ship into a narrow but straight canyon and set her down with hardly a jar.