"Le Docteur Oméga"
"Aventures Fantastiques de Trois Français dans la Planète Mars
Dr. Omega - Fantastic Adventures of Three Frenchmen on Planet Mars]

Created by: Arnould Galopin (1865-1934)

Dr. Omega is the mysterious inventor of a projectile-shaped craft dubbed "Cosmos" which can also function on land and under water. The "Cosmos" is 13 meters long and 3 meters in diameter. It is made from a substance called "stellite" or "repulsite" (depending on which edition you read) which repels space and time and enables it to travel in the aether. Its interior is divided into four sections, each lit by electric lights powered by a generator run by an eight-cylinder 200-horsepower motor. The floors are all suspended upon universal joints in order to maintain a normal level. The portholes are made of transparent stellite. In addition to the bridge, the other sections of the ship include a storeroom, an armory, and the crew's sleeping quarters.

Illustration by Bouard

Dr. Omega's companions in his travels are two Frenchmen: his neighbor Denis Borel (the narrator), and his worker, the hulkish Fred. Dr. Omega and his two companions travel to Mars. They first land in one of the Martian seas, and do some underwater exploration, during which they encounter phosphorescent fish and aggressive reptilian mermen. Back on the surface, they are attacked by savage dwarf-like beings with long, tentacled arms.

Illustrations by Rapeno (left) and Bouard (right)

Later, they explore the Red Valley in which bat-men have developed artificial wings to cohabit with deadly snakes. They meet another race of civilized macrocephalic gnomes, and are taken before their King, in the city of Fire. They learn to communicate with these
Macrocephales, and help them in their war against their Southern enemies, the Cacocytes.

Illustrations by Bouard (left) and Rapeno (right)

The Macrocephales wish to keep Doctor Omega and his companions prisoners on Mars; however, they manage to broadcast an SOS and are rescued by the mysterious
Professor Helvetius. They eventually return to Earth, with the Martian Tiziraou.

Illustration by Bouard




Publishing History

1. Librairie Mondiale, Paris, 1906. Illustrations by E. Bouard.

2. Reprinted under the title Les Chercheurs d'Inconnu: Aventures Fantastiques dún Jeune Parisien (Seekers of the Unknown: The Fantastic Adventures of a Young Parisian) as 12-issue pulp magazine series by Tallandier, Paris, Nos. 1-9, 1908; Nos. 10-12, 1909 (Note: For that edition, Galopin changed the name of the ship to "Excelsior" and the substance to "stellite".)

Albin Michel, Paris, 1949. Illustrations by Rapeno (title image).


The First Doctor

Doctor Omega by Rapeno


"Omega" is obviously not a French name -- it is a cryptic pseudonym, using the letter of the Greek alphabet. Which other white-haired, eccentric, brilliant scientist and space explorer do we know who may hide behind such an alias but --
Doctor Who?

It is worth noting that "WHO" upside down spells out "OHM", a unit of electrical resistance (named after Georg Simon
Ohm (1789-1854)), whose symbol is -- the Greek letter OMEGA!

Could "Dr. Omega" have been the First Doctor during one of his earlier, unrecorded adventures?... It is indeed more than a mere possibility...



The French on Mars

From Cyrano to Jean-Luc Picard

Dr. Omega is mentioned in
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen V. 2

Jean-Marc Lofficier & Gil Formosa's tribute to Alan Moore - "
An Unearthly Gentleman"

Doctor Omega appears in the anthologies
Tales of the Shadowmen 1 (story by Samuel T. Payne) and Tales of the Shadowmen 2 (stories by Serge Lehman and Chris Roberson).

Many thanks to Marc Madouraud.