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Holten, Fritz - The Aeromobile (1912)

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A science fiction techno-thriller featuring spies, antigravity blimps, a Japanese eagle-drone spy and illustrations from the Gernsback era.

Johannes Kaltenboeck, born on 29 June 1853 in Bozen and died on 25 October 1927, is an Austrian writer who was the author in the German Empire of many popular adventure novels, under three pen names: Max Felde, Fritz Holten and Andries van Straaden.

Little is known about his life, except that he had six children, and that from 1897 onwards he regularly published novels for young people in the famous collection Der Gute Kamerad until 1917, a collection he directed after Wilhelm Speemann. Many are set in North America, some in the East, or have a police plot. He also wrote some patriotic stories during the Great War for adults and his story was lost after 1918.

His novel, taking as its theme the world of aeroplanes and the first planes, Das Aeromobil was a great success. "The Aeromobile" is based on a common political ideosyncrasy in Europe and especially in the pre-war German Empire: the "yellow peril". Professor Ehrfried, a German scientist, has made a fundamental discovery: the possibility of the abolition of gravity. According to Ehrfried, gravity is based on the movement of electrons. The German researcher has succeeded in generating "secondary cathode rays" that "maintain the balance" of this electronic movement and are even able to "overcome" it.

The author imagines an "Aeromobile", capable of operating on the narrowest mountain path and, in addition, of overcoming the force of gravity by climbing into the air. A promising German invention, this intermediary between the car and the plane arouses the interest of "dangerous" Asians who, motivated by the lure of gain and power, ambushed the inventor.

253 pages - in German