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

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