Friday, March 21, 2014

How Dell Books Paid Me $15,000 for the Star Man Edition that Never Was

The following is taken from an early exchange in the author and editor's correspondence about the Star Man saga. When Master Publications lost its license to publish an American edition of the internationally bestselling German sensation, the interstellar adventures of Perry Rhodan. in 1971, it asked Stuart J. Byrne, a Rhodan translator and veteran pulp magazine author, to write something equally cosmic. Drawing on elements of a serial he had written in the 1950s, Byrne created the grand space opera known as the Star Man saga. But after publishng the first eleven books in the series, Master Publications went out of business. Read below as the author recounts the next twist of the equally cosmic saga of Star Man's torturous road to publication.

"One day Forrie [Forrest J Ackerman], who was my agent, called me up and said I was rich. Dell Books had just sent him an advance royalty check of $15,000 for the first five Star Man stories. After taxes and agency fee, I was looking at $12,000.

"[But] a jinx eventually killed the publishing opportunity with Dell Books, regarding Star Man. I was able to keep the money, but they did not publish Star Man. The reason for it was that Forrie had included a clause in the contract requiring Dell to publish within two years or return all rights to me. And Dell, being a ponderous operation, failed to meet the date. Close, but—!"

Below is the proposal Stuart J. Byrne wrote for the Star Man books, when Ackerman decided to approach several science fiction paperback houses about republishing them for a wider audience than Master Publications had reached. These are the words that sold Star Man to Dell Books.


Originating from story material preceding Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Deepspace 9, and Babylon 5, the Star Man saga reaches beyond them in terms of unlimited concept, scope, and characterization — the kind of old time vicarious reading adventure that entraps you.

In the far future, the trinary star system of Alpha Centauri is Man's new frontier and threshold to the galaxy. But the tri-planet dictatorship of Sol (Earth, Mars, Venus) triggers an interstellar revolution. The Star Man, Steve Germaine, becomes the catalyst: the Alpha uprisings, the mutinous star trip to Sol, capturing a prize of war, raiding the cosmium vaults of Martanium on Mars, riding a comet to Luna (our moon) and blasting the Empire Fleet, raising a second front on Venus (while enslaved), finding the lost mutant labs of the 23rd century "Magicians" (mutants), using their science to create a cosmium-powered inversion-drive star ship, then becoming lost in a negative universe and discovering the awesome Nebula Worlds, only to fall into a time trap, etc.

What of the cosmic secret of the Quasar Crystals, of the Era Unspoken, the Star Warden guidance of the Lords of the Nebula? Meet "Si" the human cyborg . . . Alphie, the batrachian mascot creature with a child mind and super I.Q. . . and great Karmax, the "Minotaur" wizard-creator of the Temonoids (one step beyond androids) with his destiny-warping super-cosmic quest. Who are the sacred ZRAAL, the oldest star race? WE are! Earth is merely a time-lost pocket colony of the ancient Zraal; 

Germaine is the mutant key to our new stellar emergence, aided by superhumans whose task is to prepare ALL worlds for the coming threat of the Kosmikons. (This is a Unisol word for Cosmi-Khans, Dark Force hordes from Beyond.) Hence the Star Wardens' secret communications via the Quasar Crystals, to those who are "ready" to understand.

On the personal side, Star Man's perennial enemy is Vincent Cardwell, nefarious empire builder.. The mysterious woman between them is the beautiful mutant, Anne Cardwell, who bears a mutant son. Actually there are twins, one of whom is a negative personality, kidnaped by Cardwell and groomed for becoming Sol's first emperor. The indestructible Emperor becomes a nemesis to both Cardwell AND Germaine. Through a stolen Quasar Crystal, he contacts alien agencies of the dreaded Kosmikons.

The Star Man series is never-ending in its wide-ranging expansions and thought-variant scope. Alien 
worlds and civilizations, negative and alternate-time universes, cosmic purposes, cosmic threats . . .

Now on Sale - only $2.99 for Two Complete Star Man Novels

All six omnibuses are available for Kindle and .epub reading devices, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes.

They will be published as paperbacks in the autumn of 2014.

From FuturesPast Editions

Stuart J. Byrne's Complete 12 Novel Star Man Saga Available Again

New ebook edition includes never-before-published 12th Star Man novel!

Who and What is Star Man?

The saga of the Star Man began in 1978 when the late Stuart J. Byrne, a multilingual engineer and science fiction pulp magazine author who had written for Amazing, Imagination, and Other Worlds, was hired to help translate and polish some of the later Ace reprints of the fabled Perry Rodan books. When Ace books was sold to a new publishing company, the new editors were not sympathetic to the Perry Rhodan books and dropped the series.

The literary agent then representing the Rhodan series in the U. S., Forrest J Ackerman, had long been a fan and supporter of the books and tried to establish a company of his own to continue bringing them out in the U. S., and Stuart J. Byrne was hired to translate them. Unfortunately, the cost of publication and the somewhat amateurish look of the Master Publications Perry Rhodan books resulted in declining sales. As a result, the German rights holders decided to cancel the American license.

When that happened Ackerman asked Byrne, who had written many intergalactic adventures for U.S. pulp magazines in the 1950s, to create his own endlessly unfolding cosmic adventure – one that would appeal to the same type  of reader.

The result was a 12-volume science fictional space opera unlike any other.

Unfortunately, only the first 11 were published by Master Publications – and then it went out of business. The 12th volume remained unpublished until Feb. 2014, when the concluding Star Man novel, "The Second Empire", was issued by Futures Past Editions in The Sixth Star Man Omnibus.
As Published by Futures Past Editions, Byrne's Entire Star Man Saga Includes:

The First Star Man Omnibus: #1 Supermen of Alpha & #2 Time Window  
The Second Star Man Omnibus: #3 Interstellar Mutineers & #4 The Cosmium Raiders
The Third Star Man Omnibus #5 The World Changer & #6 The Slaves of Venus
The Fourth Star Man Omnibus: #7 Lost in the Milky Way & #8 Time Trap
The Fifth Star Man Omnibus: #9 The Centaurians & #10 The Emperor
The Sixth Star Man Omnibus: #11 The Return of Star Man & #12 The Second Empire

What is the Star Man Saga About?

In the far future, Earth, Mars, and Venus are ruled by the iron hand of dictatorship, as is humanity's first extrasolar colony on Alpha Centauri. An accident sends modern-day astronaut Steven Germaine to the future and to the colony, where the inhabitants revive him. Unknown to him, Germaine has
survived his trip through time due to unique abilities only he possesses, and soon he becomes the centerpiece in a struggle between the colonists, the dictatorship, and hierarchies of aliens whose existence no one even suspects. When he is forced to land on an unexplored world of Alpha Centauri, Germaine's unique abilities help him overcome the effects of its heavy gravity—and, with the help of an advanced civilization hiding there, they also help him to become a "cross-over": one of the Supermen of Alpha. But suspicion and counter-plots make him a catalyst in an interstellar revolution, leading to wide-ranging cosmic adventures that build his legend as the Star Man.

The cosmic exploits of Steve Germaine in this series include: capturing a Cosmium-powered interstellar warship; leading the Alpha revolution; riding a comet to Luna; raiding the Cosmium vaults on Mars; finding the lost laboratories of the 23rd century "Magicians" (read: mutants); creating a Cosmium-powered inversion drive; being lost in a negative universe; discovering the awesome Nebula Worlds; falling victim to a time trap, and more.

The interstellar saga of Star Man is filled with memorable characters, such as Star Man's deadly nemesis Vincent Cardwell, empire builder, and his mysterious mutant daughter, Anne Cardwell; Steve Germaine's staunch future companion, Danny Duncan, a simple farm boy who becomes the
leader of a revolution; "Si" the human cyborg; Alphie, the batrachian savant with a child mind and super I.Q.; great Karmax, the Minotaur-like wizard-creator of the Temonoids; the sacred Zraal, the oldest star race; the Kosmikons, Dark Force hordes from Beyond—and many more.

The Star Man series is epic in scope and a prime example of mind-bending, thought-variant science fiction. Alien worlds and civilizations, negative and alternate-time universes, cosmic purposes, cosmic threats . . . The Star Man novels are classic space opera by one of the original masters of the genre.

Now on Sale - only $2.99 for Two Complete Star Man Novels

All six omnibuses are available for Kindle and .epub reading devices, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes.

They will be published as paperbacks in the autumn of 2014.

From FuturesPast Editions