Ernsting, Walter 1920-2005

views updated

ERNSTING, Walter 1920-2005

(Clark Darlton, Fred MacPatterson)

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born June 13, 1920, in Koblenz, Germany; died January 15, 2005, in Salzburg, Germany. Author. Ernsting, creator of the popular "Perry Rhodan" series, was a science fiction author who often wrote under the pen name Clark Darlton. Ernsting came of age just as Germany was starting World War II, and so he was drafted into the Wehrmacht. First serving in Norway in intelligence, he was later moved to the Eastern Front, where he was captured by the Soviets and imprisoned. When the war was over, he returned to Germany and found work as a translator for the British occupational forces. One of his duties was to translate works of Western fiction, which is how he became acquainted with science fiction. Fascinated by the genre, he decided to write his own sci-fi stories. Because German publishers would not accept any works in this genre written by a fellow German, Ernsting adopted the pen name Clark Darlton. He then "translated" Darlton's work, giving himself credit only for rewriting the stories in German. This worked, and his first story, Ufo am Nachthimmel (1955), was a bestseller. Many more novels followed, including Planet Lerks III (1957), Der Sprung ins Ungewisse (1958), Das Erbe von Hiroshima (1960), and Todesschach (1968). His amazingly popular space-opera series featuring Perry Rhodan continued to be published into the 1990s. Also interested in promoting the works of others, Ernsting founded the Science Fiction Club of Germany and edited its magazine, Andromeda, through the 1960s.



Times (London, England), March 7, 2005, p. 52.