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This is the summary from issues #1 to #499.
Since this is of great interest to old fans and new, it is presented on the following pages
FROM THE THIRD POWER TO GRUELFIN
On the far side of the Moon, the STARDUST crew discovered an extraterrestrial scientific research vessel that had made an emergency landing. Rhodan made contact with the aliens, who closely resembled human beings and called themselves Arkonides. He returned to the Earth with their superior technology, but decided not to land as planned in the United States. Instead, he touched down in the Gobi Desert in central Asia. Rhodan didn't want to hand the unimaginable power of Arkonide technology over to a single country or people.
Despite great difficulties, in the following weeks he was able to prevent World War III, which had been threatening, and bring the Earth's political blocs closer together. Rhodan proclaimed the establishment of the New Power, which he envisioned as a neutral force that owed its allegiance to all of humanity. He declared that from now on he would consider himself to be a Terran (from the Latin Terra, meaning Earth), and thus a citizen of the planet Terra.
He soon had a constantly growing number of allies, among them a group of parapsychologically gifted people called mutants, who became an important factor in his plans because of their astonishing abilities (telepathy, teleportation, telekinesis, etc.). The Mutant Corps was born.
Rhodan was able to unite humanity and establish a world government. The first extraterrestrial invasion from space came early in 1972 with the attack of the Mind Snatchers (M.S.), wasp-like creatures who could take over and control other bodies. The attack was fought off.
Three years later, events shifted to the Vega System, 27 lightyears away. Rhodan helped the local Ferronians, who were being menaced by the lizard-like Topsiders. In so doing, he stumbled across the apparently very old Galactic Riddle.
In the course of further exploration, the Terran landed on the planet Vagabond. There, the mousebeaver Pucky stowed away on his spaceship. A furry creature a meter high with a prominent incisor tooth and gifted with the psi-abilities of telepathy, teleportation, and telekinesis, Pucky became one of the most beloved characters in the PR-Universe.
The following adventures led to the discovery of an artificially created world shaped like a disc, named Wanderer. There, the Terran met the Superintelligence called IT, a mysterious being of pure mind millions of years old, who had selected Rhodan and a few of his chosen companions for relative immortality. By means of a cell renewal process, normal aging was halted for precisely 62 years. Then another cell renewal was required, or else a rapid aging process would set in that would soon lead to senility and death.
IT gave the human race a period of 20,000 years in which to prove its abilities. Accordingly, Perry Rhodan returned to the Earth in order to devote all his energies to leading Terra further in the direction of becoming a galactic power that had to be taken seriously. From the data banks in the Arkonide research ship that had landed on the Moon and from what the two Arkonides Crest (Khrest in the American edition) and Thora (later Perry Rhodan's first wife) told him, it was known that the Milky Way Galaxy was inhabited by numerous races and interest groups. Mankind was still too weak to move among them openly, however.
In the years that followed, Perry Rhodan and his fellow warriors battled the Springers, a race of merchants descended from the Arkonides who wanted to turn the Earth into one of their colonial planets. Together with Crest and Thora, Rhodan made a voyage to Arkon, the homeworld of the Arkonides and the heart of the Great Imperium in Globular Cluster M13. There, an enormous computer called the Robot Regent ruled the empire. Over the centuries, the Arkonides had degenerated and grown weak, and were no longer able to rule over their mighty interstellar empire themselves.
In 1984, Rhodan had to simulate the destruction of the Earth in order to get rid of the ever more intrusive Springers once and for all, and give humanity the time it needed to develop into a Galactic power. Believing it to be Earth, the Springers attacked the third planet of the giant star Betelgeuse and destroyed it.
The first 49 novels of the Perry Rhodan series briefly summarized here originally appeared in the years 1961/62 and are known today as "The Third Power" Cycle in Germany. (In the American editions, the name of Rhodan's political entity was changed to "The New Power.") Of course, no one was calling groups of episodes in a common storyline "cycles" at the start of the series, since the publisher had originally projected only 30 issues (later a maximum of 50 due to the unexpected success). The now current structure of cycles, or the unfolding of a specific, carefully planned plotline within a predetermined timeframe (mostly 50 to 100 issues), appeared later.
With this in mind, it's worth noting that the date of the first landing on the Moon, undertaken by Perry Rhodan on June 19, 1971, is now well in the past from our viewpoint. In 1961, when the first PR novel appeared, that day lay in the distant future, of course. In the real world, Neil Armstrong was just two years ahead of Perry Rhodan, stepping onto the lunar surface on July 21, 1969.
The fact that the first 49 issues of the PR series are set in the past -- as seen from today -- doesn't hurt their nostalgic appeal. On the contrary. The editors deliberately resisted changing the dating of the series when the first episodes were reprinted (in all, those early episodes have now been reprinted five times).
The second cycle began with issue #50 in the year 2040 of the series. The old Third Power had now become the Solar Imperium. Mankind had not only conquered its own solar system and settled on all the suitable planets and moons, but now had a respectable and above all very powerful spacefleet.
A new character then appeared who enjoyed great popularity with the readers from the beginning: the Arkonide Atlan. That popularity even led in February, 1969 to his own magazine novel series, which was published until January, 1988, when it was finally terminated at issue #850. Atlan had a cell activator (given to him by IT), an egg-shaped device worn on a chain around his neck, which had the same effect as the above-mentioned cell-renewal, and so made him potentially immortal.
Some 10,000 years before, during a space battle against the Druufs (alien beings from a continuum in which time passed much more slowly than in the Normal Universe), Atlan was marooned on Earth. Without any possibility of being able to return to his home world, he spent most of the time that followed in suspended animation in a deepsea dome on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. When the conflict that erupted between him and Perry Rhodan was settled, the two men became close friends.
After the victory over the Druufs, who had tried again to invade the Normal Universe, the Robot Regent on Arkon was about to reveal Earth's still secret location. Rhodan and his Terrans were able to place the Robot Regent under Atlan's control. As Imperator Gonozal VIII, Atlan took over the Great Imperium.
Thora, Rhodan's wife, died. From the Druufs, the Terrans acquired the plans for constructing the Linear Drive, a technology far in advance of the Transition Drive used up to that time. The year 2045 saw the death of Crest, the great Arkonide scientist to whom Perry Rhodan and all of mankind owed so much.
The following 50 issues (PR #100 to #149) took the reader to the years 2102 to 2114. The research cruiser Fantasy, the first Terran starship equipped with a now-improved Linear Drive lifted off. During its flight, the system of the blue sun Akon was discovered by accident. The Akons, a proud race with a nearly perfect matter-transmitter technology, were the forefathers of the Arkonides. They tried several times over the following years to obliterate Perry Rhodan and the human race, but failed.
With the Antis, direct descendants of the Akons, another power came into play. Antis could defend themselves against the psi-powers of mutants and make their own para-mental attacks. Their attempt to seize power over the Galaxy using the fiendish drug Liquitiv was frustrated. In the year 2106, the Arkonide Robot Regent was destroyed. The Great Imperium no longer existed.
Six years later, the Posbis (positronic-biological robots) appeared. With their gigantic fragment-spaceships, a terrible weapon -- the Transform Cannon, and their unquenchable hatred for all organic life, they used machines equipped with biological cell plasma to bring the Galaxy to the brink of disaster. The Terrans finally discovered the Hundred-Sun World, the home of the Posbis. They not only succeeded in freeing the robots and making them valuable allies of the still weak human race, but also acquiring the secret of the Transform Cannon.
PR issue #150 began in the year 2326. Under Atlan's leadership, the United Stars Organization (USO) had been established as a sort of intervention squad of carefully trained specialists, which was closely allied with the Solar Imperium.
The Superintelligence IT left the Galaxy, fleeing a danger that was unknown at first. Before leaving, however, IT hid 25 cell activators in different places around the Galaxy. An unprecedented hunt for immortality began, but most of the activators were found by Perry Rhodan and the USO.
A new and deadly menace appeared in the form of the Hornterrors and the Terrorworms. In their feeding frenzy, the virtually invulnerable creatures turned entire planets into forever uninhabitable deserts of barren rock. A single egg producing indefinitely multiplying Hornterrors was enough to doom a world to destruction.
During the course of their adventures, Perry Rhodan and the Terrans encountered the Blues, who had established a powerful empire on the Eastside of the Galaxy. The Blues used a substance secreted by Hornterrors, Molkex, as armor for their spaceships. Only when the Terrans developed a weapon effective against that substance could the Blues be defeated and a peace treaty signed.
The Masters of the Island (PR #200 - #299) was the first cycle to run a hundred episodes. It's considered one of the undisputed high points of the PR story by fans of the series even today, more than 30 years after its first appearance. In the year 2400, while on board the new flagship of the Solar Fleet, the Khrest II, Perry Rhodan discovered a gigantic matter transmitter in the form of six stars arranged in a circle in the center of the Galaxy. The transmitter then sent him to the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.4 million lightyears away.
The Terran learned that the Earth had already been inhabited 50,000 years before by the Lemurians, who were called the First Humanity. A terrible war with the Haluters (four-armed giants three meters tall, who could consciously give their bodies the strength of molecularly compressed steel) forced them to flee the Milky Way Galaxy for Andromeda, however. Millenia later, the survivors who remained on Earth became the Second Humanity, the Terrans.
During their flight to Andromeda, seven Lemurians came into possession of cell activators and rose to become rulers of the new galaxy. As Factor VII through Factor I, they built up over the course of millennia a political system based on raw power and highlighted by inhumanity and brutality. Perry Rhodan and his allies gradually unraveled the mysteries of the Masters, who defended themselves by all possible means. With the death of Factor I, the surpassingly beautiful Mirona Thetin, peace was finally brought to Andromeda.
The Masters of the Island cycle gave the series a wealth of characters, some of whom have lived on into the current cycle, in particular the Haluter Icho Tolot. Also unforgotten are the adventures of the Cheyenne Indian, Don Redhorse, the odyssey of the Khrest through the hollow planet Horror, and the legendary romance between Mirona Thetin and Atlan the Arkonide. Over the years that followed, frequent reference was made to the events of the Masters of the Island cycle, and so there are a large number of paperback novels and short stories today that tie up loose ends of this undisputed classic or add new elaborations to the cycle.
The next cycle (M87) also lasted a hundred issues, and took place thirty years after the victory over the Masters. The Free Trader Roi Danton stepped onto the galactic stage -- and was revealed to be Rhodan's son (the mother was Mory Rhodan-Abro, a Plophosian), Michael, who wanted to escape his father's overpowering shadow and stand on his own two feet.
A gigantic robot space station dubbed "Old Man" was found somewhere in the Galaxy. Perry Rhodan later learned that the dome-shaped colossus some 100 kilometers in diameter stemmed from the time of the struggle against the Masters of the Island, and was the product of some courageous Terrans' rescue plan -- though it reached its destination about thirty years too late.
The next enemy appeared in the form of the Haluter-like Second Conditioned. These beings in their living spaceships, the Dolans, called themselves the Time Police and charged the Terrans with so-called "time crimes" (which were actually committed by the Masters of the Island). The Terrans' punishment was to be destruction. The aliens gained control of Old Man.
In the ensuing space battle, a mysterious weapon used by the Second-Conditioned hurled the Terran flagship Khrest IV into the gigantic galaxy M87. There, Rhodan met the Constructors of the Center, the rulers of M87, and solved the riddle of the Haluters' origin and the complex connections with the Time Police.
When Perry Rhodan and his companions returned to the Milky Way with the help of the Constructors of the Center, the Dolans' great offensive against the Earth was beginning. After massive losses, humanity stood on the brink of destruction. Only by emergency activation of Old Man, which then deployed an up to now unknown weapon, could the catastrophe be averted.
The Cappin cycle also lasted 100 issues, beginning in the year 3430. Almost 1000 years had passed, and the situation in the Galaxy had fundamentally changed. Powerful stellar empires had grown out of various Terran colonies, and some now stood opposed to the motherworld. In order to avoid a terrible civil war, Perry Rhodan had the entire solar system displaced five minutes into the future in a colossal technological tour de force, so escaping an enemy that would find only empty space where the solar system should be.
But now new problems were cropping up. A death satellite that had been orbiting the Sun unnoticed for thousands of years was somehow activated and threatened to turn the Sun nova. Perry Rhodan learned that about 200,000 years before, some members of the Cappin race carried out forbidden genetic experiments on the Earth. So they wouldn't be discovered, they set up a death satellite, which would be activated by the approach of beings of a certain cultural and technological level of development, and erase all traces of their work. Humanity had apparently reached that level of development.
With a time machine, the Null Time Deformer, Rhodan and his team of specialists travelled into the past in order to prevent the construction of the satellite. There, they found a valuable ally in a Cappin named Ovaron, who wanted to bring the criminal genetic researchers among his people to justice. The death satellite could finally be destroyed.
Ovaron accompanied Perry Rhodan into the present, and the Terran took him to his home galaxy, Gruelfin, on board the Marco Polo. In Gruelfin, however, Rhodan encountered a confused situation.
The Takerians, an offshoot of the Cappins, had taken over and established an oppressive and brutal political system. Together, Perry Rhodan and Ovaron restored conditions to normal and fought off the Takerians' invasion of the Milky Way.