"Beyond All Weapons"
by L. Ron Hubbard
Produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx. 2 hours.
I have figured it out, right before I start any audio book which is 10 hours or more of listening time, I'm going to fill in with an intermission of one of these L. Run Hubbard audio pulps. Back in the day before a movie the audience would get treated to a cartoon, serial or news reel. Well these audio pulps released by Galaxy Audio are just like those serials, and some of the stories are "cartoony," in that they are fun and short. These larger than life characters and interesting adventures are the perfect fit for a two hour audio enjoyment.
One of the main reasons for the audio enjoyment is the great acting. In researching these stories, I found they put the actors in the same room at the same time so they can see what each other is doing and work off that, much like the old time radio shows. Another feature is the original music composed specifically for each book. Very creative and innovative audio book production by Galaxy Audio.
The latest in my adventures is the book "Beyond All Weapons," a collection of stories that were originally published in the science-fiction pulps of the 40s and 50s. This audio book contains three sci-fi stories that demonstrate Hubbard's science fiction mastery but also the stories in this particular edition seem to be a bit more brainy. In fact the first one is a very neat explanation of Einstein's theory of Relativity as it pertains to space travel.
Let me sum up each story one by one.
"Beyond All Weapons", originally published in "Super Science Stories," January, 1950 is about the colonists of Mars wanting to get away from and destroy the tyrannical war mongers that have taken over Earth and threaten to take over Mars. The fighters have recently acquired a new fuel that will enable them to reach light speed and take the "refugees" out of the system. They manage to have enough for ships to arrive at a new habitable planet after 9 days, covering several thousand light years. Once settled on the planet they make a weapon that will enable them to return to Earth and defeat the tyrannical government. But returning to Earth they find all life gone. The twist in the story not only gives the brain a good physica problem to solve but Hubbard has also built in a bit of a morality tale into this story that will leave thinking philosophically.
"Strain," originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, April 1942, tells of a prisoner of war and how the enemy tortures him to find the secrets of an impending invasion. This story is one of futility and pain as the officer does everything he can think of to escape and once that is determined to be an unobtainable goal he becomes determined not to share the secrets. Once again Hubbard throws that inevitable twist in the story that would leave a fan of "The Twilight Zone," gasping.
The final story "The Invaders," originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, January 1942, is a little more of a light-hearted story, especially when compared to the previous two emotional stories. This one tells of a technician that was sent to a nebula where a rare and valuable crystal is being mined. However the miners are under constant attack from beings that seem to adapt to each weapon being used. The technician is sent to create a new weapon that will destroy the creatures so the crystal can be mined safely. The officer in charge of the the mining facility seems to do everything to keep the technician from destroying the creatures. The technician wants to explore outside the nebula and deep inside, with no real concern for the creatures, but the officer just wants his weapon. Eventually the problem is solved but I will warn you, this one is very deep philosophically and yet a bit humorous.
All in all these pulps bring back the years of the pulp magazines of the mid 20th century and bring back some fun stories that should not be forgotten.