"The Professor was a Thief"
by L. Ron Hubbard
Produced by Galaxy Press
Approx 2 hours
Remember the days of the "Pulps?" The small magazines that printed short stories that ranged from westerns to pirate adventures to science-fiction were a staple for many readers during the early part of the 20th century. I was always a fan of comic books and on occasion bought the Isaac Asimov monthly magazines. But the real pulps preceded comic books, with titles like "Fantastic Adventures" and "Astounding Science-Fiction." Well L. Ron Hubbard wrote many stories that appeared in many of those pulps and now Galaxy Press is putting those stories together in collections of two or three stories in one book or in this case in one audio book. Let me tell you not only are they interesting stories but they are very fun to hear.
In this audio book there are three fun science-fiction stories written in the 1930s through the 1950s. The title story in the collection, "The Professor was a Thief" was even adapted as a radio play for the early 50s radio program "Dimension X."
"The Professor was a Thief" is about an ace reporter, Pop, as he is called by the staff, who is being forced to retire from a New York newspaper and before his retirement he is demoted to less important stories. Pop is given a magazine article about a physicist that has been shunned by the scientific community. It seems the professor has some outrageous claims about making the shipping industry almost otherworldly. After visiting the eccentric professor at his home, Pop is shown the professor's train collection which is in a room that is a scale model of the United states. the trains are there but no cities. Pop leaves not finding a decent story in the case and finds himself back in the office when calls begin coming in about major New York landmarks disappearing, Grant's Tomb, Pennsylvania Station and the Empire State Building completely gone. Soon Pop discovers the professor has a secret and that he is a thief.
The second story in this collection "Battle of Wizards," is a fun science-fiction story that pits Science up against Magic. Earth’s Mineralogy Service has its sights set on Deltoid, a planet rich in “catalyst crystals in a natural state.” Angus McBane, a Civil Affairs officer, is sent to Deltoid to resolve the conflict between the humans and the planet’s native inhabitants. This sets the stage for a battle between science (McBane) and magic (a local tribal chief). The winner gets rights to the planet and it's resources.
Finally we come to the third story in this audio book, "The Dangerous Dimension." This story is a humorous story with a touch of a morality tale. This is the story of a professor who discovers an equation that allows him to teleport himself anywhere he can imagine, whether he wants to or not. It is actually a pretty funny little story and does bring to question if someone discovers such a thing should the knowledge be shared.
The voice work, music and sound effects in this production all work together to give the listener an authentic mid-20th century pulp magazine feel.