Title: "Die Flotte der Springer"
Author: Mahr, Kurt
First Published: Germany: Moewig, 1962-03-23
Length: 65 pages
Keywords: albireo,beta,gravitybomb,k9,orlgans,rb013,springer,tifflor
Review by: Don Kuenz

A Perry Rhodan Spin Tale on the Double

Intro

"By the Lord of All Stars, it's an Arkonide ship!"

When earth's first lunar rocket discovered alien Arkonide technology on the moon it opened up a whole new vista for humanity. Under the aegis of the Third Power, humans made great strides towards the stars during the past ten earth years. Many threats, from both inside the solar system, as well as outside, were overcome as mankind's reach grew.

Prior to mutant hypno-master Monterny's demise in the solar system's asteroid belt, he desperately sent a desperate. undirected SOS to the stars at-large. It alerted alien Springer eavesdroppers to the exact location of upstart Terraneans, who unwittingly interloped on the Springers' ancient galactic trade monopoly in the Vega System and elsewhere. Some Springers used the intercepted coordinates to stealthily commandeer a few Third Power ships and gather intelligence about Earth. In return, Perry Julian Tifflor out to trans-Pluto as a decoy, in order to smoke out the alien appropriators and their spy network on Earth.

Convinced of Tifflor's value, greedy Springer Captain Orlgans of the Orla XI hijacks the Third Power's K-9 ultralight cruiser with Tifflor aboard. The aliens never expected the likes of a Rhodan's Stardust II to intervene.

Titles, teasers, covers, characters, & blurbs

Besides the story itself, this is a tale of two publishers: Moewig and Ace. German publisher Moewig released its first Perry Rhodan pulp magazine on March 26, 1961. Having sold more than two billion copies as of 2019, it is the most successful science fiction ever written. Eight years after Moewig’s debut, American publisher Ace Books published its first English translation in 1969. Ace Books ceased publication in 1979, even though the translations remained profitable at the time.

Wendayne and Forrest J Ackerman respectively acted as translator and editor for Ace. Although at first Forrest mostly copied Moewig’s cover and content verbatim, along the way he made the Ace translations his own with unique covers, additional content, and out of order story telling. The left column below contains original content while the right holds Ackerman’s derivative work.

Die Flotte der Springer The Fleet of the Springers


Seit 8000 Jahren besitzen sie das galaktische Handelsmonopol – weil sie jeden Konkurrenten vernichten ... For 8000 years they have had the galactic trading monopoly – because they destroy every competitor ...




Die Hauptpersonen des Romans: THE ACTION & ADVENTURE HAPPENS WITH
Perry Rhodan – Der Chef der Dritten Macht.
Julian Tifflor – Er reist in geheimer Mission – so geheim, dass er selbst nichts davon weiß.
Humpry Hifield, Klaus Eberhardt, Mildred Orsons und Felicita Kergonen – Durch ihre Flucht kurz vor ihrer Befreiung geraten sie vom Regen in die Traufe.
Orlgans und Ornafer – Zwei Springer, deren Schiff als erstes die Erde entdeckte.
RB - 013 – Ein Roboter der Dritten Macht.
Perry Rhodan–Peacelord of All the Planets
Julian Tifflor–Cadet of the Space Academy of Terrania
Humpry Hifield, Klaus Eberhardt, Felicita Kergonen & Mildred Orsons–Other Space Cadets
Orlgans–Alien Springer Captain of the Orla XI
Ornafer–Springer sparring partner of Orlgans
Ferla & Honnap–Springer guards
Harlgas–Commander of a group of Springer ships
RB-013–Arkonide robot
Paradicsom–Springer with ran equilavent to lieutenant
Mernok–Springer of sergeant's rank
Majs. Deringhouse & Nyssen–Officers of Rhodan's Space Force
McClears–One of Perry's men
Reginald Bell–With bellicose grin, he's usually close to Perry
Khrest–Ancient Arkonide scientist


Die Dritte Macht – diese glückliche Vereinigung von arkonidischer Supertechnik und menschlichem Tatendrang – besteht, nach irdischer Zeit gemessen, bereits zehn Jahre.

Vieles ist in diesen zehn Jahren geschehen: die Mondlandung der STARDUST I, die Abwehr von Invasionsversuchen aus dem All, die Enträtselung der uralten Geheimnisse der Venus, der Kampf mit den Topsidern und die Entdeckung des Planeten der Unsterblichkeit – um nur einige dramatische Höhepunkte aus der jungen Geschichte der von Perry Rhodan geleiteten Dritten Macht zu erwähnen.

Auch der Overhead, jener mit unglaublich starken hypnotisch-suggestiven Kräften ausgestattete Mutant, konnte schließlich zur Strecke gebracht werden.

Doch sein unheilvolles Wirken war letzten Endes die Ursache dafür, dass die „Galaktischen Händler“, auch „Springer“ genannt, auf die Erde aufmerksam gemacht wurden.

Die Springer schickten Spione zur Erde, worauf Perry Rhodan Weltraumkadett Julian Tifflor als „kosmischen Lockvogel“ zur Gegenspionage ausschickte.

Nun aber, als der Herr der Dritten Macht Julian Tifflor aus einer höchst misslichen Lage befreien will, stößt er auf DIE FLOTTE DER SPRINGER ...

320 LIGHT-YEARS FROM EARTH

"By the Lord of All Stars, it's an Arkonide ship!

The Springer can't believe his alien eyes–a spaceship of Arkon construction, out here, over 300 light-years from the Solar System, in the orange and blue double star system of Beta-Albireo.

But Perry Rhodan has pursued the kidnappers of the K-7 to their secret location in deep space and now, hopelessly outnumbered, faces the battle of his life: his few ships against 30 alien spacecraft.

Rhodan and Khrest menaced by gravity time-bombs!

Cadet Tifflor and two female companions in danger on an unknown polar planet.

It all happens–fast and furiously–when the Peacelord and his men of the New Power are threantened by–

THE FLEET

OF THE SPRINGERS

Synopsis

Time's running out for Cadet Julian Tifflor. Springer Captain Orlgans' patience wears thin, after repeated interrogations of the cosmic decoy fail to reveal anything of value. Orlgans believes Rhodan's subterfuge and remains unaware of Tifflor's genuine ignorance.

Tifflor and four outher cadets make plans to use a small, three man, destroyer rocket to escape. It's a tight squeeze, but they pull it. Their escape becomes a Pyrrhic victory after Rhodan's Stardust II shows up a short while later to drive the Springers away. But, it's too late for Tifflor and the others, because they're short of fuel and must crash land on a nearby icy planet.

Meanwhile Rhodan seeks to better understand his foe with a closer look at Springer shipwrecks and debris left behind after the Stardust II routed them in battle. Both Rhodan and protégé Tifflor come to regret their seperate, yet intertwined, decisions.

Review

As expected, Johnny Bruck’s cover, shown above on the left, depicts actual story elements. The scene depicts the crash of one of K-9's destroyers on the planet Snowman. RB - 103 carries blonde Felicita and raven haired Mildred from the crash site while Humpry Hifield and Klaus Eberhardt walk in front.

Gray Morrow, as usual, brings his own unique vision to Ace’s cover, shown above on the right. Presumably it shows Springer Commander Harlgas in the foreground and planet Snowman in the background. Your guess is as good as mine in regards to the objects in space betwixt the two.

gravity bomb

Perry Rhodan and an unknown soldier under the influence of a gravity time-bomb.

This story introduces the concept of a Gravitationszeitbombe, or a gravity time-bomb, in other words. It's an insidious weapon able to either pin down enemies until Springer reinforcements arrive or slowly torture enemies to death. Perry Rhodan uses some elementary physics to free himself from his plight as depicted in the accompanying figure. The narrative offers a fun, easy to imagine, mind experiment for people who enjoy a pinch of physics with their fiction.

Springers hide their feelings behind a mask of loud laughter. It makes for a particularly obnoxious, loud, hail-thee-fellow-well-met elucution. Words fail me, so here's an excerpt from the Silber Band audio books interpretation for you to listen to:

My first read made me cringe for a couple of reasons. The story characterized Felicita as a girly girl. She cries. The other thing was a perceived plethora of MilSF space battles. My second read was more enjoyable. Felicita and the battles didn't grate as much the second time through. Both irritants faded into the background to become minor elements.

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