German fantasy of saving Australia

In Hans Dominik’s science fiction novel Befehl aus dem Dunkel (1933), a German engineer helps Australia stave off Japan and water its land.

The excerpt discussed here starts with “Er ging zu einem Schwank” and ends at the asterisk underneath.

German inventor Georg Astenryk has just saved Australia single-handedly from a Japanese military invasion by using his brand new “thought amplifier” on the enemy troops. He presents friends with his plans how to make Australia safe in the future. With the help of his new cheap coal battery, Australia’s water deposits will be transported to the surface, making it possible to cultivate much more of Australia’s land mass than before. The white settlers needed to accomplish this will be the best protection Australia can wish for, Astenryk explains: “There is no better safeguard for a country than the army of farmers rooted in its soil.”

Hans Dominik was a successful writer of science fiction entertainment since the 1920s. This section of his novel mirrors key elements of Ross’s presentation of Australia three years earlier. Not only is Australia’s future well-being dependent on European immigrants and the development of its underground water deposits (see: “The sea below the desert”). It is also a stage for German ingenuity in engineering (see: German engineering prowess in Australia).

Joachim Schätz

Hans Dominik. excerpt from Kapitel 13. In: Befehl aus dem Dunkel. 21. bis 25. Tausend. Berlin: Scherl; 1933.

Topic: Engineering
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30


1 For a comparison, also see: Andy Hahnemann. Texturen des Globalen. Geopolitik und populäre Literatur in der Zwischenkriegszeit 1918–1939. 1. Aufl. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter; 2010; 266–72.

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