I am looking for a book which I read as a teenager once, and now can not find anymore. I don't recall the title. I would be very grateful for ideas on how I might find it somehow.

A brief description: it was, as I recall, between one and two inches thick and had a normal size (slightly larger than A5). It was bound in a solid, red cover. It could be that it was supposed to have a dust jacket, but my copy did not have one. It was printed in Gothic script and felt old.

Content, as much as I remember:

The protagonist visits a scientist friend in his observatory. The scientist talks about his amazing discovery, namely a type of asteroid or planet (referred to in the book almost exclusively as a "star"), on a collision course with earth. Somehow, they then quickly build a rocket with which they fly there. On the planet live caveman-like natives with whom they establish contact. It turns out later that there exists another tribe, who wages war against them. Using the ideas of space travelers, the enemies are defeated and flee. I think the book ends with their return to earth, which is not yet destroyed by a collision, but I'm not sure at all.

In language and content, the book is in my estimation geared to young male readers. The content has on the whole book-length strong militaristic, and racial overtones, because of which I would imagine the book at the latest a product of the Nazis; not much older either. It may be that the title is something like "The strange star."


3 Answers 3


The description fits Ein Stern fiel vom Himmel (A Star fell from Heaven) by Hans Dominik a little. However, the short description differs slightly from your retelling:

Professor Eggerth's stratosphere pilots give an alarm. They watch as a giant meteor crashes to earth and goes down in the south polar ice desert. They investigate the strange celestial body and decide: treasures from space should benefit all of mankind.

It is telling that the works of the author are, among other things, characterized by racial issues. Wikipedia about this:

In his early novels, he also addressed a "clash of civilizations" in which Europeans compete against other races – including Bolshevik Soviet Russia, "the yellow peril" China, the Arabs and black Africans – for the dominant position in the world. In his novel Die Spur des Dschingis-Khan (The Trail of Genghis Khan) from 1922/23, the main character calls for a "repatriation" of black citizens of the United States to the African continent.

Peculiar to this racism, however, is that this is not a case of "superiority" of the "white race", but it is presented as a kind of responsibility that the "white race" has to "rule the world, and that in the future another race (black, yellow) would come that will take the burden of responsibility from their shoulders." Rudyard Kipling's poem The White Man's Burden (published 1899) expresses a similar idea.

Perhaps it is another work by the same author. Or perhaps, one of the following authors:

Also, the section History of Science Fiction - Early Works at the German Wikipedia could be useful for further research.

Another short addition: there was a youth book series titled Das Neue Universum (The New Universe).

From 1880 onwards, a volume was published annually, with topics in the areas of knowledge, exploration, adventure, entertainment. In the years 1943, and 1945 to 1947, no volumes were published. In 1958, the 75th anniversary edition was published. In 2002, after 122 years, the final volume was published, numbered 119.

The red color of the book cover is in line with the description from your memory:

Red book cover of volume 89 of _Das Neue Universum_

Perhaps the story was published in one of the volumes of the series. Here is a visual overview of all books. Some have a table of contents as well.

  • Great answer, unfortunately the story I'm looking for does not seem to be here. "Duell mit einem Stern" even appeared in "Das neue Universum", but in 1952 -- when the cover was no longer red and they didn't use blackletter script anymore. ... It's very strange, I could have sworn the title was "Der fremde Stern" or at least had "fremde* Stern" in it. Mar 3, 2022 at 15:24

This is really a long shot, since I did not read the book myself. Could it be Anton Maria Kolnberger's Auf unbekanntem Stern (On an Unknown Star) from 1948?

The only German synopsis longer than two lines I found is this: review of a new edition in German magazine Science Fiction Times 1985, page 23:

Der erste Flug zum Mars: Das Raumschiff wird von einem Kometen gestreift und stürzt auf einem fremden Planeten ab, der an die Urzeit der Erde erinnert. Der einzige Überlebende, Peter Bergen, stößt nach einer spannend geschilderten Odyssee auf ein Volk von Echsenmenschen. Er wird zum Häuptling eines Dorfes erkoren, stiftet Frieden unter verfeindeten Dörfern und wartet geduldig auf ein Rettungsraumschiff. Doch als es eintrifft, hat Bergen sich mittels einer geheimnisvollen Metamorphose in einen Echsenmenschen verwandelt. Er beschließt, nicht mehr zur Erde zurückzukehren und den Planeten für irdische Raumfahrer zu sperren, damit sich die Echsenmenschen ungestört entwickeln können.

My translation:

The first flight to Mars: The spaceship is grazed by a comet and crashes on an alien planet that reminds of Earth's primeval times. After an excitingly written odyssey the lone survivor, Peter Bergen, meets a people of lizard men. He is named Chief of a village, makes peace between enemy villages, and waits patiently for a rescue spaceship. But when it finally arrives through a mysterious metamorphis Bergen has become one of the lizardmen. He decides not to return to Earth and to lock off the planet for terrestrial spacemen so the lizardmen can quietly evolve.

  • Wow, this is the best match yet! I will try to get a hold of it! Thanks! Oct 26, 2022 at 11:56

Other than the impending meteor impact, this also sounds a lot like CS Lewis' "Out of The Silent Planet."

  • 2
    It seems the impending "star" (as they called it) collision is a major point. Jan 21, 2014 at 15:20

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