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Valier, Max

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1895-1930) Austrian engineer and author, in active service during World War One. He is of early interest for Weltende ["World's End"] (1922 chap; exp vt Weltuntergang ["Doomsday"] 1923), a nonfiction survey of various ways in which the End of the World might occur. He is mainly known as a pioneer in rocket research in association with Hermann Oberth, under whose influence he published Der Vorstoß in den Weltenraum ["Advance into Space"] (1925), an important early nonfiction advocacy of the use of Rockets in Space Flight. During 1927, he published many articles in Die Rakete, an influential though short-lived rocketry journal. Also of sf interest are two fictions: Spiridion Illuxt: Phantastische Erzählung ["Spiridion Illuxt: A Tale of the Fantastic"] (1919), in which the eponymous Mad Scientist comes close to causing the End of the World out of frustrated love; and Auf kühner Fahrt zum Mars: Eine kosmische Phantasie (July-December 1927 Die Rakete as "Die Fahrt ins All. Eine kosmische Phantasie": 1927 chap; trans Francis Currier as "A Daring Trip to Mars", July 1931 Wonder Stories), which traces with considerable engineering detail a stress-fraught voyage to the Moon and then to Mars, which planet the travellers are able only to orbit owing to fuel problems.

Valier's name has long been associated with the nature of his death: he was blown up when an alcohol-fuelled rocket exploded in his Berlin laboratory. E F Bleiler describes him as "apparently the first man to die in space research." [JC]

see also: Germany.

Max Valier

born Bozen, Tyrol, Austro-Hungary [now Italy]: 9 February 1895

died Berlin: 17 May 1930


nonfiction (highly selected)

  • Weltende ["World's End"] (Munich, Germany: Verlag Natur und Kultur, 1922) [nonfiction: chap: pb/]
    • Weltuntergang ["Doomsday"] (Munich, Germany: Verlag Natur und Kultur, 1923) [nonfiction: exp vt of the above: pb/]
  • Der Vorstoß in den Weltenraum ("Advance into Space") (Munich, Germany: Oldenburg, 1925) [nonfiction: hb/]


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