The Target: Alpha Centauri and Other Nearby Stars

  • Paul Gilster


The first fictional journey to Alpha Centauri seems to have been made in Friedrich Wilhelm Mader’s 1911 novel Wunderwelten, translated into English in 1930 as Distant Worlds: The Story of a Voyage to the Planets. Mader’s huge spaceship was a sphere 146 feet in diameter that used obscure antigravity techniques to travel to Alpha Centauri at several times the speed of light. Other writers had attempted interstellar journeys, in particular the French authors C. L. Defontenay in Star ou Psi de Cassiopée: Histoire Merveilleuse de l’un des Mondes de l’Espace (1854), which also used antigravity in its explorations of the planetary system Psi Cassiopeia, and Camille Flammarion in Lumen (1872), a novel featuring a journey to Capella. But Mader’s starship Sannah was the forerunner of all of today’s science fictional journeys to the nearest stellar system.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

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  • Paul Gilster

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