Pucky is probably one of the most popular characters in the series. Actually, his name is Gucky. That's the name his father gave him when he first appeared in #12 "Rebels of Tuglan" (first published in January 1962 by Arthur Moewig Verlag). Pucky's father is, of course, Walter Ernsting. When Wendy Ackerman, the late wife of the honorable Forry J. Ackerman, translated the series into English in the late 60's/early 70's, Gucky became "Pucky".
Mrs. Ackerman thought that "Pucky" is more suitable for an English-speaking audience than the original "Gucky". In the few copies of the original ACE books that I have in my collection, the cute little fellow is always referred to as "Pucky". That has been over 20 years ago. As far as I know, it's still "Pucky" today, although I'd appreciate a comment from John Foyt on this matter.
For the purpose of this web site and for the convenience of our English-speaking audience, we shall use the name "Pucky", too.
Over the years, Pucky's adventures have primarily been written by Walter Ernsting himself. Born in 1920, he's now an old man, and he rarely writes new adventures any more. In Third Edition, issue #1366 was just re-published which contains a story by Walter Ernsting. However, Pucky is not a character of that story. Walter Ernsting has a lot of other "special characters", including Ernst Ellert and Harno.
I have to admit that it's not quite clear to me what Pucky did in the last couple of centuries. Anyway, he returned to the series in issue #1904, "Die Chronauten", written by Wolfgang Kehl. And now, in issue #1964, Pucky comes home again to the planet Earth, or Terra, as it is called in the Perry Rhodan Series.
What a missed opportunity! What could have been done! What a magic moment when Pucky returns to the Goshun Lake. Horst Hoffmann spoiled everything. After years, or maybe even centuries of absence, Pucky comes home to Terra, and he acts like an ill-behaving child. Nothing of the feelings that should have been present when somebody comes home to a place that is very important to him. (Don't forget: Pucky is originally from the planet Tramp.) Rather what we see is a lonely fellow in the middle of a Major Depression, and he behaves foolishly all through this episode.
The story begins in a rather tranquil environment, in the quarters that have been assigned to little Pucky and his giant friend Icho Tolot. On the first page, Pucky is so angry that he uses his telecinetic powers to spill some exotic fruits in the cabin. On the next page, someone enters the cabin and slips on the mess which Pucky created. A very old joke, and the situation is not even funny.
That's how the novel starts. Pucky and Icho Tolot sit in their cabin and contemplate the fate of their old friend Michael Rhodan (who is Perry Rhodan's son). We also learn that mankind has a major enemy, an entity known as Shabazza. For centuries, Michael Rhodan has been manipulated by Shabazza. Michael believes that he is a kind of Time Lord. He is influenced by a suggestive radiation that circulates within his blood. A team of expert physicians on Mimas (one of the moons of Saturn) tries to cure Michael Rhodan from this illness.
In this respect, "A white giant from Halut" is more of a hospital romance than a science fiction novel. The only thing I liked about it is when Icho Tolot finally stands up and smashes the furniture with a casual gesture.
So, actually, while this novel pretends to be strong on the Pucky - Icho Tolot relationship, my primary complaints are the missed opportunities. It's a rather boring story, and nothing really important happens.
The novel consists of several different storylines. One of them is the attempt to cure Michael Rhodan from his disease. The second thread is the appearance of a white giant from Halut.
His name is Blo Rakane. He intends to send an assistance operation to a distant galaxy. The giants from Halut plan to send an entire fleet to that location and to engage themselves in fighting. Giants from Halut like fighting. That's what they do.
Horst Hoffmann has written a lot of good stories over the past years. "A white giant from Halut" is certainly not one of his best.
It's not one of the worst, either. There are no serious design flaws. There are no annoying illogical elements in the story. It's just another adventure in the longest running (printed) science fiction series of the world.
© Leo Donat 1999