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Franke, Herbert W

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1927-    ) Austrian-born author and scientist who, after receiving a doctorate in Vienna in 1950, moved to Munich, where he taught cybernetic aesthetics at the University of Munich; he has also written as by Sergius Both. After publishing considerable nonfiction in the 1950s, mostly on either speleology or computer graphics, he also began publishing sf, at first speculative short stories like those assembled in Der grüne Komet: Utopische-technische Kurzgeschichten ["The Green Comet: Utopian-Technological Stories"] (coll 1960) – at least five stories from which have appeared in English – Fahrt zum Licht: Utopische Kurzgeschichten ["Journey to Light: Utopian Stories"] (coll 1964), Einsteins Erben ["Einstein's Heirs"] (coll 1972) and Zarathustra kehrt zurück: Science-fiction Erzählungen ["Zarathustra Returns: Science Fiction Stories"] (coll 1977).

Franke has also published several novels beginning with Das Gedankennetz (1961; trans Christine Priest as The Mind Net 1974). Der Orchideenkäfig (1961; trans Christine Priest as The Orchid Cage 1973), which complexly depicts, in Franke's typically speculative, somewhat dry manner, the profound transformative effects of a mysterious planet on its human explorers. Zone Null (1970; trans Chris Herriman 1974) sets up between a future Free World and an apparently defeated and deserted Zone Null a metaphysical questioning of the true aims of society and of the intermingled values of both opposed sides. Ypsilon Minus (1976; trans Robert Bein 1977) is set in a City under totalitarian control through Computer surveillance; deviants are punished severely. In Transpluto (1982), which is typical of his later work, a mysterious planet hornswoggles a team of Earthmen, keeping them from leaving the solar system; novels published in the twenty-first century, like Cyber City Sud ["Cyber City South"] (2005), tend to focus on the relative Near Future, treating that terrain as a political and environmental badlands in which tales of adventure can still – barely – be emplaced. Franke is one of the first contemporary German sf writers whose work ranks with that in English and other European languages. [JC]

see also: Austria; Germany.

Herbert Werner Franke

born Vienna, Austria: 14 May 1927


  • Das Gedankennetz (Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Goldmann, 1961) [pb/Eyke Volkmer]
    • The Mind Net (New York: DAW Books, 1974) [trans by Christine Priest of the above: pb/Kelly Freas]
  • Der Orchideenkäfig (Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Goldmann, 1961) [pb/Eyke Volkmer]
  • Die Glasfalle ["The Glass Trap"] (Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Goldmann, 1962) [pb/Eyke Volkmer]
  • Die Stahlwüste ["The Steel Desert"] (Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Goldmann, 1962) [pb/Eyke Volkmer]
  • Planet der Verlorenen ["Planet of the Lost"] (Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Goldmann, 1963) as by Sergius Both [pb/Eyke Volkmer]
  • Der Elfenbeinturm ["The Ivory Tower"] (Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Goldmann, 1965) [pb/Eyke Volkmer]
  • Zone Null (Munich, Germany: Kindler und Lichtenberg, 1970) [pb/W Baum]
    • Zone Null (New York: Seabury Press, 1974) [trans by Chris Herriman of the above: hb/Ivan Paslavsky]
  • Ypsilon Minus (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp, 1976) [pb/]
    • Ypsilon Minus (Barcelona, Spain: Editorial Bruguera, 1977) [trans by Robert Bein of the above: pb/Eddie Jones]
  • Sirius Transit (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp, 1979) [pb/Ute Osterwalder and Hans Ulrich Osterwalder]
  • Schüle fur Übermenschen ["School for Supermen"] (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp, 1980) [pb/Thomas Franke]
  • Transpluto (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp, 1982) [pb/Michael Weisser]
  • Die Kälte des Weltraums ["The Coldness of Space"] (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp, 1982) [pb/Tom Breuer]
  • Tod eines Unsterblichen ["Death of an Immortal"] (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp, 1982) [pb/Thomas Franke]
  • Endzeit ["End of Time"] (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp, 1985) [pb/H R Giger]
  • Hiobs Stern ["Job's Star"] (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp, 1988) [pb/Tom Breuer]
  • Zentrum der Milchstrasse ["The Centre of the Milky Way"] (Berlin: Surhkamp, 1990) [pb/Tom Breuer]
  • Sphinx_2 (Berlin: DTV Deutscher Taschenbuch, 2004) [pb/Nick Daly]
  • Cyber City Sud ["Cyber City South"] (Munich, Germany: DTV Deutscher Taschenbuch, 2005) [pb/J F Podevin]
  • Auf der Spur des Engels ["On the Trail of an Angel"] (Munich, Germany: DTV Deutscher Taschenbuch, 2007) [pb/Marvy!]
  • Flucht zum Mars ["Escape to Mars"] (Munich, Germany: DTV Deutscher Taschenbuch, 2007) [pb/Darren Winter]


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