Murray Leinster : Talente-GmbH (Talents, Incorporated)
Terra SF 432, 26.11.1965
Aus dem Amerikanischen von Hubert Straßl
Titelbild : Johnny Bruck
Auf dem Planeten Mekin herrschte ein Diktator, der rücksichtslos seine Machtmittel einsetzte. Er kassierte eine friedliebende Welt nach der anderen. Diesmal war Kandar an der Reihe – eine blühende Welt mit freien Bürgern. Captain Bors verbrannte seine Geheimakten. Der Diktator verlangte die bedingungslose Kapitulation. Nur ein Wunder konnte den Planeten noch retten.Klappentext des BASTEI-Taschenbuchs
Und da meldete sich dieses "Wunder" bei Captain Bors – Mr. Morgan mit einem kleinen Raumschiff voll sonderbarer Talente. Geniale Außenseiter, die niemand so recht ernst nehmen wollte. Komische Käuze: aber mit verdammt guten Ideen.
Captain Bors verbündet sich mit diesen genialen Einzelgangern gegen eine gnadenlose Machtmaschine. Und es beginnt die abenteuerlichste und spannendste Verschwörung, die die Galaxis jemals erlebt hat ...
At best, the tiny Kandarian Air Fleet would fight until its last ship was blown into infinity. At worst, it would be annihilated without a chance. To young Captain Bors, either course was unthinkable.Klappentext der AVON-Originalausgabe
The ruthless Dictator of Mekin had already subjugated twenty-two helpless planets. Now he wanted Kandar's unconditional surrender, or his vastly superior forces would blast it out of existence.
It took a lot of guts, and the hope that is frequently born of despair, for a military man like Bors to throw in his lot with TALENTS, INCORPORATED, an untried, unscientific organization. Through peculiar gifts of extra-sensory perception, its personnel could, their leader insisted, out-think and out-guess even the most deadly dictator in the history of mankind. Could it? It just might.
And it just might not.... But there was absolutely nothing to lose, and a free world (and a beautiful girl) to win. Captain Bors made his decision, and the loaded die was cast!
Eine herrliche Schmonzette, die Klappentexte sind ziemlich präzise. Leinster lässt keine Möglichkeit, Kitsch zu integrieren aus. Herausgekommen ist eine amüsante und kurzweilige Geschichte mit eleganten Seitenhieben gegen die Miltärhierarchie und Politiker.
Für heutige Leser ist dieser Roman deshalb interessant, weil er erstens noch lesbar ist und zweitens den heutigen Serien-Sehgewohnheiten entspricht. Murray Leinster lebte von 1896 bis 1975, der Höhepunkt seines Schaffens lag zwischen den 30ern und der ersten Hälfte der 50er. Ab den 60ern hat er eng mit Hollywood zusammengearbeitet, die Serie Time Tunnel basiert auf einem seiner Romane. Er schrieb diverse "Bücher zum Film", für "Time Tunnel" ebenso wie für "Land of the Giants" und "Men into Space", außerdem entwickelte er für das Special Effects Department den Front Projection Process. Diese enge Zusammenarbeit hat meiner Meinung nach dafür gesorgt, daß sich Talents, Incorporated wie eine gelungene SF-Serie liest. Mit einem hohem Kitschfaktor, wie gesagt. Deutlich wird dies in der letzten Szene des Romans. Nachdem die Bösen besiegt sind :
Gwenlyn found Bors secluded in the palace, waiting until it was time to board ship and head for Mekin. Her father accompanied her.zitiert nach gutenberg.org
"I've come to say goodbye," she said gently. "We've done what we came for."
"I still don't understand why you came," said Bors, who would much rather have said something else. "We can't possibly do anything adequate in return. Why did you come?"
He turned to Morgan, who answered blandly, "One of our Talents precognized an event. We had to come here and help it to happen. Gwenlyn was doubtful, but she's come around."
"What was it?"
"It hasn't happened yet," said Morgan. He produced a cigar and lighted it. "Gwenlyn, shall I tell him?"
"Don't you dare!" said Gwenlyn hotly.
Bors said unhappily, "I'm sorry you're going away, Gwenlyn. If things were—different, I—I—"
"You what?" asked Morgan. "By the way! One of our Talents has precognized that your uncle's going back to Tralee as its king again. Largely on your account. You're his heir, aren't you?"
"Hero," said Morgan, waving his hand. "Twenty-two planets adoring you, believing you brought Mekin down single-handed. Aching to work with you, follow you, admire you. Naturally, Tralee wants your uncle back. Then they'll have you. Of course," he added complacently, "our Department for Disseminating Truthful Seditious Rumors had something to do with it. But that was necessary wartime propaganda. And you didn't let anybody down." Then he said peevishly, "Not until now!"
Bors gaped. He looked at Gwenlyn. Her cheeks were crimson. Revelation struck Bors like a blow.
"I don't believe it!" he said, staring at her. He said more loudly, "I don't believe it!"
"Damnit," said Morgan indignantly. "She didn't believe it either! She said she'd come here because she was curious, nothing more. But that particular Talent's never missed yet! She just plain knows every time who—"
"Hush!" said Gwenlyn fiercely. "Goodbye."
Bors moved toward her, not to shake hands. She ran out of the door. She ran fast, for a girl. He ran faster.
Morgan puffed contentedly. Presently the completely unreal figure of King Humphrey the Eighth came to where Morgan had surrounded himself with aromatic smoke.
"Where's Bors?" asked the king.
"Yonder," said Morgan. He waved his hand. "Kissing my daughter, I think. D'you know, Majesty, I've known this would happen all along? One of our Talents precognized you opening parliament next year. So I knew things had to come out right."
"Y-yes," said the king, dubiously. "I suppose so. But there had to be efforts, too, to bring it about. Otherwise it wouldn't seem right."
"Naturally!" said Morgan. "When one of my Talents precognized that Gwenlyn was going to marry the heir of the Pretender of Tralee and be Queen of Tralee some day, why, it didn't seem a bit likely. But once I knew about that precognition, I put in a little effort...."
King Humphrey was thoughtful.
"Things look good," said Morgan expansively. "My Talents are precognizing all over the place. They tell me that this planet's going to be a fine place to live. Quiet and peaceful, and serene.... Gwenlyn will be living on Tralee, most likely, and I don't want to be underfoot. I'll probably settle down here. Retire, you know."
"Splendid," said the king, politely, his mind occupied with the prospect of a warless future.
"And as for Gwenlyn and Bors," Morgan added, confidentially, "I'll tell you something. My Talents've been working on her future. I wouldn't tell her all of it. Some of it should be a surprise. But she and Bors are going to be what you call happy ever after! And that's Talents, Incorporated information! You can depend on it!"
Nein, das ist kein Spoiler, das weiss man schon ab Seite 5. In diesem Sinne : Viel Spaß beim Lesen.