Plasmagoria

Perry Rhodan, First Administrator of the Solar Imperium and Peacelord of the Universe, is having a bad day. A trader ship under his purview has been hit with a mysterious epidemic, his radar systems have spotted an unwelcome alien spacecraft nearby and a newspaper reporter is stoking dissent against his peacekeeping administration. Worst of all, a plasma monster is rapidly devouring everything in sight. 

Anyone who’s remotely familiar with the ongoing Perry Rhodan serial knows that the titular hero is a proactive man of action. He’s not the type to sit around and wait for trouble to escalate. 

He immediately assembles his trusty crew including Reginald Bell (his best friend) and Lt. Puck (the irrepressible mousebeaver with superpowers). On impulse, Rhodan also conscripts Walt Ballin, the rabble-rousing reporter. 

At this point in the novel, you’re probably thinking all four concurrent crises have solutions dependent on each other—and that’s correct. Even though they seem totally unrelated, the plague, the alien ship, the plasma creature and the reporter all hold keys to a happy ending. 

In particular, the amorphous gelatinous monster is the most menacing threat of them all. Whether Mal-Se is sentient or not is never fully revealed by the author (or the translator). The plasma thingie is referred to as “he,” but there’s no proof that it’s anything but a mindless ambulatory piece of goop.  

In tandem with a giant robot brain (I love giant robot brains, don’t you?), scientists eventually provide some useful analysis. Mal-Se is a formless yet endlessly forming colloidal mixture of complicated endosperms and inorganic materials. By utilizing highly evolved tracing sensors, it moves with uncanny swiftness to consume alien albuminous and other organic compounds.

“There is not the slightest prospect of being able to contain it,” cries one expert in a panic, “because the plasma increases itself at a rate of billions of times per second it will take only 16 months until Earth will be covered in a thick layer of muck.” In the end, every creature on the planet will become a goopy monster. “All of us will become what our attacking agent already is.”

After a moment (or two) of panic, Rhodan and his buddies figure everything out. Whew! In just 120 pages, the plague is cured, the aliens are thwarted and the plasma monster is contained. 

Even the muckraking reporter changes his tune and becomes a fan of the Solar Imperium—although he has one final question for his new pal Perry Rhodan. “Do the monsters out there outnumber us?” he asks. “I mean, is the universe one big bag of horrors or is it a galaxy of wonders?”

“So long as humans fear, that in itself is the monster,” replies the philosophical First Administrator. “Once their fear has been conquered they will perceive the wonders of creation. It’s a long road yet but at the end of it is humankind, to whom the universe belongs.”

[Perry Rhodan #95: The Plasma Monster / By Kurt Mahr / First Printing: May 1976 / ISBN: 9781041660798]