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Herbert W. Franke

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Herbert W. Franke's Sci-Fi writing is a contrast to the often playful genre. He expects of his novels to depict the scientific-technical side of their material in a way agreeable to the actual state of knowledge.

As a doctor of physics, Franke is able to do this. He is the author of several non-fiction and reference books, screenplays for industrial films and he has worked as a consultant for physically, medically or technically-orientated companies. In addition, he also works in research. He was one of the first who used computer graphic systems as a tool for artistic creation. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that in many of his books he has correctly foreseen future developments, especially in computer technology. The writer himself, however, considers another aspect of science fiction literature much more relevant. »What fascinates me about science fiction is the so-called 'Sense of Wonder', the unexpected, the astonishing, the miraculous, captured in these stories. For this, one doesn't have to escape into unreal areas. The space to act and to experience, opened up by modern, science-based technology is far more fantastic than all the witches, monsters and wizards from the realm of legends and fairytales. This still undiscovered new territory, this reality utopia, lies in the future, and the way to reach it involves setbacks, errors and danger. The conflicts emerging from this, provide me with material for the dramatic plots, which I describe in my stories and novels. They are about the future of our real world and within this, frequently, about developments which are already going on, which we can still influence for our own best interest.«

Newest Book Science Fiction Novel
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Escape to Mars

A group of 23rd-century astronauts head into space for an adventure game on Mars. Their mission is to recover treasures that belonged to the last Chinese emperor and bring them back to Earth. In the course of the historic conflict between East and West, the Chinese had set up a station on Mars and used the outpost to store nuclear weapons, military robots and items of value. The station was also equipped to serve as a refuge in the event of a defeat. At first the majority of the team believe that they are participating in a simulation, but soon they are plunged into danger and lose contact with the Earth. The game has become a matter of life or death. When their spaceship is damaged in an explosion, they are forced to proceed on foot and are picked off by androids who abduct everyone except Alf and Sylvie. The pair infiltrate the station and free some of their companions, but Ramses, their self-proclaimed leader, is playing a double game and knows more about than the expedition than he is willing to admit...

  • OPB: dtv 2007

  • Film & TV: Rights free (AVA international)


Science Fiction
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On the Trail of an Angel

The world has entered the 23rd century. In fourteen days the heads of the leading nations are due to vote on a treaty that will place their military and legal systems under joint control. Rumours begin to circulate that a criminal organization is planning a terrorist attack designed to influence the outcome of the vote. Robin Landt, a young lawyer at the International Court, still believes in the code of human rights drawn up in 2228 and sets out in search of a friend who has mysteriously disappeared. Little does he know that his quest will lead him to an oil rig in a frozen sea where the international delegates are scheduled to meet in secret. The future of humanity is at stake.

  • OPB: dtv 2006

  • Film & TV: Rights free (AVA international)


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Cyber City South

Cybernetic wonders, virtual rivers and war crimes tribunals as spectator sports – with enough inter-dollars there's nothing you can't buy in Cyber City South. In earlier times the city was an oriental backwater, but now people come from all over the world to amuse themselves. But the days of this city are numbered. By the time a young woman embarks on a dangerous mission to find her father, a secret command centre is well on its way to preparing a genetically-engineered army for the day of liberation…

  • Original-PB: dtv 2005

  • Sold to: Latvia (Izdevnieciba AGB)

  • Movie & TV: Rights free (AVA international)


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Zone Zero

Centuries after a nuclear war, an expedition moves into former enemy territory. After overcoming the automatic defence walls, the expedition finds a mysterious, highly technical civilisation, which frightens but no less fascinates them. It is a material paradise with inhabitants, who know nothing of work, who dedicate themselves completely to their creative interests, such as the arts, research and play. At the same time, however, it is a world of decay, which knows only one way of escape — for the price of self-sacrifice...

Original-PB: dtv 2004


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Imagine a man rings at your door, introducing himself as an executive of the "society for the support of gentle suicide". In a new, technological world, Gareth learns that he is suffering from lung cancer and will be forced to spend the rest of his life connected to an artificial lung. The society for the support of gentle suicide suddenly becomes a burning issue for him. But while he is struggling with his suicidal thoughts, he comes across a mysterious track, which threatens to slowly, but unstoppably change his life: Gareth finds out that his medical reports have been forged and that subsequently his lungs are not diseased at all. Instead, he was born to be an organ donor for one single person. As a clone. He turns to the suicide organisation for help. In the course of this, however, he is thrown into a whirl of events, which all seem to be connected to one single thing: A security computer programme by the name of Sphinx_2.

  • Original-TB: dtv 2004

  • Film & TV: Rights free (AVA international)


Centre of the Milky Way

A monastery in which nothing is as it seems, where earth-shattering, basic research is carried on that will shake the very foundations of belief and where a murderer commits his crimes, not out of a passion to kill, but for metaphysical reasons.

  • Suhrkamp 1990


The Mirror of Thoughts

The discovery of unfamiliar planets, encounters with strange, often seemingly dangerous life forms, the dangers to the world from technical advances, the double-edged sword of technology, the interaction between reasoning machines...

  • Suhrkamp 1990


Dea Alba
(in cooperation w. M.Weisser)

  • Suhrkamp 1988


Job's Star

Somewhere, it is said, in an unknown place, there are still prisons from a time when one did not try to heal criminals, but deprived them of their freedom. Prison cells, dungeons, a miserable, bare existence on water and bread, far away from sun and light .

  • Suhrkamp 1988

  • Sold to: Russia (AST Publishers)


The Sun's Breath

  • Suhrkamp 1986


End of Times

Seventy thousand years from now, only a few regions of the earth are still inhabitable, insulated areas, domed cities. Science has long since turned into a hidden, technological computer game. In this claustrophobic world, Andres, also known as Ramses, searches for a way back to freedom.

  • Suhrkamp 1985

  • Sold to: Russia (AST Publishers)


The Coldness of Space

It is the dawn of a new ice age. Only a few human survivors still live in space stations and in settlements on the moon. A hotel stands on the lonesome top of a mountain. In summer it is a recreation centre for tourists. In winter, it is normally deserted. This time, however, some people have stayed on. They have just been awakened from their frozen sleep, a sleep, which began before the ice age.

  • Suhrkamp 1984

  • Sold to: Russia


Death of an Immortal Person

A coffin transported through space, an accident near a forbidden planet, militia going through a senseless training manoeuvre, scientists who systematically destroy their own results and an Immortal sentenced to death.

  • Suhrkamp 1982



A spaceship on an expedition to the calculated borders of our universe. The men and women on board find themselves confronted with strange phenomena. Out in the void, where nothing is supposed to be, are there planets after all? Maybe even some with earthly waste? Classic as well as Einsteinian physics seem to have come apart at the seams...

  • Suhrkamp 1982

  • Sold to: Russia (AST Publishers)


Paradise 3000

Mankind in an artificial environment, confronted with unusual dangers, but also surprising opportunities, extrapolations from lines of development that go far beyond today.

  • Suhrkamp 1981


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School for Superhumans

An institution is hidden in the middle of the desert, underneath the surface of the earth. Its purpose is to train the elite of tomorrow. The „Institute of Advanced Education“ uses harsh drilling methods, merciless survival training and modern simulation techniques, but also surgical intervention. But the failure rate of the institute is high. So high, that many never come back.

  • Suhrkamp 1980

  • PB: dtv 2007


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Einstein's Heirs

An explosion of information, over-population, environmental pollution, cybernetics, genetics the control and enslavement of mankind through technology, discoveries of strange planet and the first encounter with extraterrestrial life.

  • Suhrkamp 1980


Sirius Transit

A paradise for mankind beckons from on a foreign planet. A wonderful, unspoiled world. One single company runs the settlement, its name is "Sirius Transit". But the paradise on the foreign planet has a dark side to it, as Barry, the brother of the CEO of "Sirius Transit" slowly but inevitably comes to realise...

  • Suhrkamp 1979

  • Sold to: Russia


Zarathustra kehrt zurück

  • Suhrkamp 1977


Ypsilon minus

Absolute control. Thanks to a technological surveillance system. A giant city. Ypsilon minus is the index number of the outcasts. All those who deviate from the mandated norm are sent here by the central registration office. Benedikt Erman, called Ben, works in this office as a researcher. One day, however, he receives an order from the computer to control himself. An error by the machine? A clever move by a hidden, non-human intelligence? Searching for his own past, Ben discovers the mystery of Ypsilon minus ...

  • Suhrkamp 1976


The Ivory Tower

A world. A ruler. A brain. The earth is overpopulated and steered by an electronic brain. It is threatened by stereotyping and the surrender of all individual values. A group of idealists and adventurers are planning a revolution. But as the revolt moves on, a deeper a realisation eats its way into the hearts of the revolutionaries. The system cannot be broken, every action leads to a cruel loop without end - a vicious circle.

  • Goldmann 1965

  • Sold to: Japan, Hungary


The Steel Desert

After another world war, the earth is once again split into two enemy power blocks: America and a united Europe, both under totalitarian regimes. The consequences of the last war have been cleared away, more or less, but outside the cities the steel deserts remain as reminders of the fighting. A new war is already looming, because materially inferior Europe is planning a violent correction of the power balance. This is the story of Ralph, who is caught in a web of intrigue and violence and who fights against the manipulation of the masses, to prevent a new world war.

  • Goldmann 1962

  • Sold to: Japan


The Glass Trap

The scene is an inhabited alien planet where a military power keeps soldiers under the influence of drugs to ensure their obedience. Soldier Phil Abelsen is shocked – firstly at his own dependency on drugs, and secondly by the senselessness of a system that continues to conduct military drills even though the soldiers’ planet is the last bastion of human civilisation and there will never be another war. Phil sees only one solution: he must kill the commander ...

  • Goldmann 1962

  • Sold to: Rumania, Russia


The Web of Thoughts

The spaceships cruise in formation like an orderly flock of birds. Inside one of the vessels scientists are using a computer to study the intelligence of unknown creatures from an alien planet. The experiment has fatal results. The past comes back to life and the alien creatures seize the initiative, forcing the crew to abandon the spaceship. What happens next is a desperate fight conducted by a handful of people against the psycho-technical interventions of a government determined to level everything out.

  • Goldmann 1961

  • Sold to: USA, Japan, Rumania, Russia


The Green Comet

Franke first made a name for himself within the Sci-Fi world with these 65 sketches. Since then, it has become a classic of German science fiction. The author concisely goes through all sorts of possibilities from the near and distant future, illuminating them in flash .

  • Goldmann 1960


The Orchid Cage

Two groups are exploring a dead city on a distant planet.  Step by step they force their way into the outer ring with its ultramodern buildings, through the half-ruined, medieval inner city and into its mysterious centre. Is this unnatural city really dead? Suddenly the factories begin to work again, the robots intervene, and somewhere in the background something is hidden and could awake at any time. The question is: is it a living creature or a machine?

  • Goldmann 1961

  • Sold to: USA, Spain, France, Hungary



Vorstoß in die Unterwelt

  • Bruckmann Verlag 2003


In den Höhlen dieser Erde

  • HC: Hoffmann & Campe 1978


Geheimnisvolle Höhlenwelt

  • dtv 1974

  • Ullstein 1982


Wildnis unter der Erde

  • F.A. Brockhaus 1956