Thursday, June 30, 2011

"The Sky Crasher" by L. Ron Hubbard

"The Sky Crasher"
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio (2009)

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps"), also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges. The name pulp comes from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on better paper were called "glossies" or "slicks." They were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century.

Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. L. Ron Hubbard published many short stories and novellas during this period in these pulps. Galaxy Press has been reprinting these stories and have created their own pulps (these have better paper quality) featuring stories from the many genres in which Hubbard wrote. I have to admit my favorites are from the Science-Fiction and Fantasy genres, but recently I've been exploring some of the other genres. I've been amazed at what other genres I began liking; such as Westerns. I never thought I'd be a fan of westerns, but Hubbard wrote some fun stories in that genre. My favorites, other than sci-fi/fantasy, seem to come from the Air and Sea Adventures, maybe that has to do with my Navy background.

What also makes these stories fun is that I've chosen to listen to these books. I love audio books and when I first tried out one of these stories from Galaxy Audio, I was amazed. First of all they sound like old radio dramas, like back in the day the stories were originally published, and the talent behind these productions is phenomenal. Starting with the actors, these stories take on a new life with superb voice actors performing them. The actors even give the characters a larger than life feel which is true to the Hubbard stories.

The next aspect of these stories in audiobook is the sound effects and music. Between chapters and stories Galaxy Audio segues with original music that blends perfect with in the genre. The sound effects are perfect and at the same time subtle enough to not be overbearing. They sweep you up into the story and don't allow you to let go until the end.

This latest excursion for me was the book "The Sky-Crasher" which featured two stories in the air-adventures genre.

The first, "The Sky-Crasher," was originally published in "Five Novels Monthly," January 1936.
Caution Jones has taken the safe side of the air travel industry since watching his father risk his life as a stunt pilot, but the days of caution are over when the world's airlines are to compete for a million dollar contract. He knows it's a risky venture to race around the world but when the rival airline tries to sabotage his every move, caution must be thrown into the wind and win the competition to save his airlines.

"Boomerang Bomber" is the second story in the book and was originally published in "Sky Aces magazine" June, 1938. Clint Ragen has been contracted to take a bomber to China. The Japanese consider this an act of War and seize Ragen's bomber (which is in crates, not yet assembled) and threaten to imprison Ragen. The problem is Ragen is the only person that knows how to assemble the bomber. Maybe he can work off his imprisonment by assembling the aircraft or maybe he has other plans.

Two great stories, both with some great air battles, one with guns and one with wits.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Torchwood Audio Dramas "Lost Souls" "Asylum" "Golden Age" "The Dead Line" Directed by Karen McAll

Torchwood Audio Dramas
"Lost Souls"
"Golden Age"
"The Dead Line"
Directed by Karen McAll
each episode approx 1 hour.

Once again I'm astounded by the creative sci-fi writing for British television. I've been a fan of Doctor Who from way back. Get past the what are now, and even then, considered cheesy special effects, and you find some very smart writing in these series. When the Doctor Who TV series experienced a rebirth back in 2005 I was wary. I was afraid they would not be able to keep up with my image of Doctor Who, I was a huge fan of Tom Baker's portrayal of the Doctor. How could they keep up with the humor and the fun in space and time travel? Well only recently I decided to give it a try. I had six seasons to watch and I watched them all. I was astounded. The writing was excellent and all of the new doctors kept the tradition alive. David Tennant was my favorite of the New Doctors, since he was the closest to what Tom Baker brought to the character.

The cool thing about the new series was that it launched two spin-off series. One was aired on CBBC (the children's portion of BBC tv), "The Sarah Jane Adventures." This series focused on the longtime Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith. The adventures were more of a live action Scooby Doo series (sans semi-talking dog, unless you count K-9) It was a kids show but the Doctor made a couple of appearances and the aliens were all ones that were experienced on Doctor Who. There was even a crossover episode of Doctor Who which featured Sarah and her alien hunting crew along with the crew of the other spin-off, "Torchwood."

This second spin-off series, "Torchwood," was one that really got my attention. "Torchwood," is a series about alien hunters that were established by Queen Victoria in 1879. The Doctor saved the Queen from a werewolf at the Torchwood Estate, in Scotland. After the Doctor saves her she knights him and then banishes him and establishes Torchwood to keep out all aliens. (Something note here; Torchwood is an anagram for Doctor Who.) Later in the Doctor Who Series Torchwood blasts an alien ship out of the sky, which The Doctor had just made it's passengers promise to never come to Earth again. Going against the Doctor on this the British Prime Minister learns not to cross the Doctor. In yet another episode of Doctor Who Torchwood is destroyed by the Daleks.

The Torchwood team is led by Captain Jack Harkness, who is a time agent and can never die. He met up with Doctor Who early in the new series and several times there after. After Torchwood is destroyed, Captain Jack rebuilds Torchwood because "The 21st Century is when Everything changes." He rebuilds the base in Cardiff, Wales, because there is a rift in time and space above/around Cardiff that aliens and time travelers find their way through. His team's job is to detain the arrivals or if possible send them back, keeping the world safe from aliens. So far the series has run 3 seasons with a fourth one coming soon, according to rumor at the time of this writing.

Set between the end of Series Two and the beginning of Series Three, the BBC aired four Torchwood radio dramas featuring the cast of the series, with the first airing September, 2008 and the last three July, 2009. That is the focus of this review. After I watched all of the new Doctor Who series and all the Torchwood series, I had to find more material. There are other audiobooks available but I wanted to start out with these radio dramas. They are available separately on at last check.

So, let's talk about these audio dramas. They all feature the full cast and are written just as well as the TV series. If you want to continue in the Torchwood world it is best to start with these since they do feature the full cast. They also include the same music as the TV broadcasts as well as phenomenal sound effects that blast you into the middle of the story.

Here's a summary of each episode:

"Lost Souls" written by Joseph Lidster, begins with Captain Jack Harkness and his crew chasing weevils (annoying aliens that are constantly coming through the rift). Jack gets a call from Doctor Martha Jones, a former companion of The Doctor, who needs his help at CERN. Just hours away from a major discovery in particle physics people have gone missing. Torchwood arrives to find that the people have a particle missing from their atoms and must save the Earth from something brought to our univers via the Hadron Collider.

"Asylum" written by Anita Sullivan, is about a girl that comes from the future through the rift, she is caught shoplifting clothes and Torchwood is called in because of the weapon she's carrying. Turns out the young girl is from a bleak future and has a secret. Why did she come back in time and more important who sent her?

"Golden Age" written by James Goss, tells the story of the Delhi branch of Torchwood which was closed down by Captain Jack Harkness back in 1924 yet the people inside are not only still receiving packages addressed to Torchwood but have also found a way to freeze time. This can't be good for planet Earth.

"The Dead Line" written by Phil Ford is more of a haunting tale of a phone call you never want to receive. People in Cardiff are winding up in the hospital after answering the phone and going into a coma. When the call is traced the phone number is one that has not been connected since 1975. When Jack answers one of those calls it is up to Ianto Jones and Eve Myles, the other two members of Torchwood to find answers.

Four great sci-fi stories that will leave you wanting more. You can always go back and watch the series and check out the other audiobooks based on the series. Glad I could get you started.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hostage to Death by L. Ron Hubbard

Hostage to Death
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio (2009)
Approx. 2 hours

Once again it's time to dive into the Golden Age of Stories, when many Americans could get great escapism fiction from pulp magazines. One of the most prolific pulp fiction writers was L. Ron Hubbard, writing stories from many genres and being published in nearly all the pulps. This time around we go on a far flung adventure and join up with the French Foreign legion.

I can remember when I was young that a young man would instead of run away and join the circus had the option of running away and joining the Foreign Legion, I think I remember some TV show where a kid threatened to do so but being only 9 years old was talked out of it by his parents. The French Foreign Legion has been known to be an elite force with training that is more intense than any other military allowing anyone from any nationality to serve the French Army.

This story, "Hostage to Death" was originally published in "Five Novels Monthly" July, 1935 and is an adventure that will lead to double crosses within double crosses. Legionnaire Officer, Bill Reilly receives a severed hand that serves as a message and a threat. The hand is that of some unlucky soul that crossed into Abd El-Ulad's territory and that if nothing is done an Englishwoman, Kay MacArthur's hand will be sent next, basically challenging the Legion to rescue her. Knowing it could be a trap, Reilly's sense of honor overrides and he sends his squad in to rescue the woman. The good news, the woman is rescued. The bad news, it was a trap and the railroad they were supposed to be guarding is blown up. Reilly is tried and convicted to 15 years for abandoning his post.

But the Legion has other plans for Reilly. Now that Reilly is known to be sent to the roughest prison in history the Legion plans for his escape so he can infiltrate another enemy's camp, that of Abd El-Krim. Reilly takes to Krim the plans for movement of ammunition and basically sells Krim several trainloads of Legion weapons. The Legion does this so the enemy can attack and weaken Spain, who is threatening the French. The problem is that the French have one more plan of double-crossing Reilly which could put him and Kay MacArthur in the path of certain death.

Once again Galaxy Audio productions along with a superb cast present an adventure from the Stories from the Golden Age. The sound effects alone put you in the middle of the fight with rattling machine guns and clashing of blades. You may find yourself ducking the gunshots while trying to rescue the dame while listening.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Sh*t My Dad Says" by Justin Halpern

"Sh*t My Dad Says"
by Justin Halpern
read by Sean Schemmel
Published by Harper Audio (2010)
Approx 3 hours

I've been listening to some pretty heavy duty literature lately and decided I needed some light-hearted entertainment. Also I am taking part in the local library's Adult Summer Reading program and for every ten books read I get an entry into the drawing for some cool prizes, so I needed to find some shorter books. I have been a follower of Justin Halpern's twitter feed for "Sh*t My Dad Says" before the book and the TV series and and have found the musings to be hilarious at times. This book surprised me in that it not only has those funny quotes but also includes some short stories/essays on various events in Justin's upbringing. Some of them surprisingly poignant. Justin's Dad, Sam Halpern, who provides the colorful views of the world comes across a bit harsh at first but after listening to this book I was left with the overview of a worldly wise man that sincerely loves his family.

Sam Halpern, is a retired doctor (Nuclear Medicine) and former Navy man and can cuss better than anyone I know. In the book Justin says his favorite is "Bullsh*t," and can use the word to mean a variety of different things and all those things vary by his intonation. On top of that the reader, Sean Schemmel is able to portray Sam exactly the way I heard him when I read the tweets, and is able to discern the different intonations of "Bullsh*t." Sean does a superb job of voicing this fun book.

I will say that if foul language highly offends you, you may want to stay away...but they are only words in fact Sam Halpern says this, ""They're offended? F--k, s--t, a----le, s--tf--k; they're just words...Fine. S--tf--k isn't a word, but you get my point." I found the book extremely funny and for 3 days my commute to and from work was the best ever. I could list several quotes in this review but instead I'll just provide the link to the twitter feed so you can get a good idea of some of the quotes, but keep in mind many of the good parts of this audio book are the stories told. Many of the stories are in reference to a father providing help in the different phases of any kid growing up, at times I recognized myself in the stories and while Justin Halpern had a more colorfully described life, I could definitely relate.

When all is said and done this book is basically about a man that loves his family and will do anything for them, the rest of the world can go to hell.

Here's the link for the twitter feed:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Son of a Witch" by Gregory Maguire

"Son of a Witch"
by Gregory Maguire
Read by the author
Produced by Harper Audio (2005)
Approx 14.5 hours

I still haven't had the chance to see "Wicked" the musical, but I couldn't just stop after reading the book. I found Gregory Maguire had written two sequels to the book so I thought I would get going on that aspect of the story. So here it is I've just finished "Son of a Witch" and have found the story to be interesting but didn't seem to close out the story. In the interview at the end of the audiobook the author says he doesn't have any plans to come up with another book in the spin off from the world of the Wizard of Oz. But it seems as though this book screams for a sequel. In that same interview Maguire says he got the idea from two sources; the numerous letters from young female fans who wondered what happened to Nor (daughter of the witch) and after seeing the torture photos from Abu Gharib prison. The problem with this is that this book seems to leave even more questions about what happened to Nor, although the prison scene is in the book.

This audiobook is read by the author and after reading stories (he also writes children's stories) to children he has honed his craft of quality voice acting. Maguire delivers the story probably the way it should be, the voices all sound as he intended so you get more depth to the characters. His delivery is perfect for the story and the different characters come across well defined. Keep in mind this is a story from the "Land of Oz" so there are some interesting characters such as, a talking Goose, a Phoenix and an Elephant disguised as a human princess. Each one comes across just as you and the author would think they should sound.

The first section of the book consists of a series of flashbacks that jump back to after the Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba) is killed by Dorothy and Liir (the Son of the Witch) accompanies her and her band (Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion and Toto to) back to the Wizard, and the "present" when Liir's body is found along the roadside thought to be another victim of "The Scrapings." Citizens are found dead with their faces scraped off by some mysterious force. When Liir is found to be still alive he is brought back to the Cloister of Saint Glinda in the Shale Shallows. The Superior Maunt recognizes the young man and identifies him as Liir, the young boy who left the Cloister with Elphaba a decade or so ago.

In the "present" time Liir is brought back to health by A Quadling girl, Candle who rarely speaks, and only in her native tongue, Qua'ati (though she understands other speech). Raised in Ovvels, she and some relatives became itinerants. She is left at the Cloister of Saint Glinda by her uncle, and ends up working in the kitchen under Sister Cook. She becomes a skilled player on the domingon, a Quadling musical instrument which sounds like it closely resembles a lute. When a phoenix plucks one of its own feathers to give to Candle and place in the domingon, the instrument seems to be complete, and Candle is able to "play" Liir Back to health by making him remember his past.

Candle and Liir are forced to leave the Mauntery and seek shelter in an abandoned farm which also served once as a press for an underground newspaper. Liir then learns he must go back to Oz and destroy the dragons, reclaim his broom and cape (which belonged to his mother) and guide the Council of Birds to Safety. In the process Liir learns his uncle Shel is now the Emperor of Oz and is running a corrupt government. The big lesson for Liir in this is that the he cannot simply sit back and let the world go by, he must take part in it in order to make change.

The story remains very interesting and entertaining, but I feel the book was not complete. I guess that's why Maguire wrote the sequel "A Lion Among Men," which is on my summer reading list.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"The Cylons' Secret" by Craig Shaw Gardner

"The Cylons' Secret"
by Craig Shaw Gardner
Published by Tor Books (2006)
303 pages

It seems as though not a day goes by that I don't have a thought about how great the reconceived "Battlestar Galactica" tv series was. The storylines were multidimensional, the actors were perfect and the whole series had a purpose. Why did it have to end? Well they did try to revisit the glory with the short-lived series "Caprica," but it seemed they weren't given the chance to tell the story. It seemed like a J. Michael Straszinski story that was constantly building into something but you had to have patience. But people wanted it to be awesome too fast so the show somewhat failed.

So what do we do for our Galactica fix for now? Well, I'm not sure about you but I have found one release, books. I have started reading some fiction based on the new and old series and have decided to create my own world based on the series with reading. Before the reimagined series came out Richard Hatch (yes the actor that played Apollo in the original series and Tom Zarek in the reimagined series) wrote a few. There was the Glen A Larson book which told of the beginnings from the original series point of view (this one featured the long lost daggit). There was a novelization of the pilot miniseries and now I found this gem which is a prequel to the reimagined series and features Adama, Tigh, and Zarek in a post Cylon war / pre Galactica seeks Earth adventure. A couple of fun things thrown into this book are the appearance of Viper pilot Athena, who was in the original series but was never written into the new series, and the Battlestar Pegasus, which made a major appearance in the new series.

The story created in this novel centers around a research base on the outskirts of space that has been forgotten. The original function of the base was to examine ways the Humans and Cylons could work together in harmony. The problem is that the Cylons sought to destroy humankind and the Cylon war broke out. When the war broke out this base was forgotten. Now 30 years later scavengers/pirates are out seeking lost treasures from things on the fringes of navigable space. The scavenger Cruiser Lightning comes across Omega Base and hear an antiquated recorded warning message transmited from the base saying the planet is under quarantine. Finding the recording to be from before the Cylon war they decide to scavenge what they can. When arriving at the planet they find it populated by a few research scientists and Cylons. When the scavengers begin shooting the Cylons fight back. The Cruiser is forced to flee when a Cylong Dreadnought ship appears and destroys the Cruiser's shuttle and Vipers. The shuttle actually only crashes since its last minute pilot, Tom Zarak has no experience flying, let alone running away from Cylons out to kill. The captain of the Cruiser Lightning never loses any of his crew and escapes but with revenge creeping close to the surface.

Meanwhile the Battlestar Galactica, with executive officer, William Adama and Flight crew Officer, Saul Tigh, is patrolling that sector of space trying to track down scavengers who have a path of destruction in their wake. When the Galactica approaches the planet and Omega Base, they are warned that they have Cylons, but the Cylons are Companions not the war seeking models from the war. And that they would like to share their experiment results with the colonies and some of the humans on the base would like to return to the Colonies. Adama is sent down as a diplomat and sets out to find the secrets of Omega Base. It seems the humans aren't the only ones who have taken an interest in the base that has been forgotten. When the Cylon Dreadnaught makes it's appearance near the Galactica the Cylon war seems like it's about to begin again.

Craig Shaw Gardner weaves a tale that keeps with the in depth plots and characters that made the reimagined series a hit.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Under the Diehard Brand" by L. Ron Hubbard

"Under the Diehard Brand"
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 hours

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I never thought I'd enjoy reading a Western novel or story. In the past these just never interested me, actually I'm still not all that interested in just any old Western story. A friend once tried to get me to read some Louis L'Amour, but I just couldn't get past 10 pages without becoming utterly bored. But here I am reading yet another Western story from L. Ron Hubbard.

I think, no wait, I know what it is that keeps me interested. It's the great production that goes into these Stories from the Golden Age produced by Galaxy Audio. The sound effects are perfect and keep you trapped in the story. The incidental music, between chapters and stories, just screams the "old west." But most importantly is the actors. The characters in the stories by L. Ron Hubbard are always super real and over the top and the characterizations provided by the voice actors in these productions represent them perfectly. Whether it's an outlaw named Holy George who speaks as though from a pulpit or a cantakerous gold prospector left alone in a ghost town, the actors let you know every aspect of the characters in these stories by superb acting and vocal expertise.

Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press have been releasing the short stories from the master storyteller, L. Ron Hubbard for a few years now and continue to do so. These releases are from the mid-20th century writings which were originally published in the "pulp" magazines of the time. These works of "pulp-fiction" proved some great escapism fiction for the American readers and the pulps represented almost every genre of fiction. Hubbard wrote stories for nearly every genre and this time around I jumped into another collection of Western stories from the Stroies from the Golden Age. Each release from Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press are issued to closely resemble the pulps of the time. This release contains the following three stories.

"Under the Diehard Brand" was originally published March, 1938 in "Western Aces" magazine and tells the tale of the Lee Thompson, son of the sheriff of Wolf River, coming back to his father after being away to help his father. When he arrives in town his father, Sheriff "Diehard" Thompson, doesn't recognize him and tells the young boy to keep on drifting or get a job. The son finds his father has gotten older and some local ruffians and cattle rustlers have over run the town of Wolf River. Lee then comes up with a plan to build back up his father's reputation and rid the town of the criminal element by joining up with the rustlers.

"Hoss Tamer" was originally published January, 1950 in "Thrilling Western" magazine.
An ex-circus horse trainer finds himself out of a job when the circus folds and sells off all its property in a foreclosure. The trainer tries to find a job as a bronc buster, after all he could "train" horses. But he gets injured and maimed the first time he tries and is forced to work for the town's livery stable. The Gopher Hole gang, the band responsible for his bronc busting disaster attempts to rob the Wells Fargo Train town, can a circus horse trainer foil the Gopher Hole Gang's attempt to rob the Wells Fargo train through their horses?

"The Ghost Town Gun-Ghost" originally published August, 1938, in "Western Action" magazine is a humorous story of an old prospector that seems to have lost his wits after being abandoned in a town when the gold ran out. A young fellow arrives in town and is shown about the town by the prospector who acts out the role of everyone in town from the mayor, to sheriff down to the the man running the Wells Fargo. When a few unsavory characters arrive in town it seems the prospector and young man may meet their end in a battle over stolen money hidden in town.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Naked Lunch: The Restored Text by William S. Burroughs

Naked Lunch: The Restored Text
by William S. Burroughs
Read by Mark Bramhall
Produced by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2009)
Approx 10.5 hours

Every so often I have to go back and revisit a classic novel, this time around I was going to listen to “Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs, but I found that there had been a restored text version released which contains sections that were thought to be lost as well as some additional essays by Burroughs. I remember last time I tried to read this I couldn't quite get through the whole book. There were and still are parts that are extremely disturbing. Burroughs wrote the better part of this book while addicted to heroin and living in Tangiers. The stories/segments really display the torn state of consciousness he must have been experiencing.

The book starts out fairly straight forward in which a junkie (Burroughs) runs from the police in New York City and heads off across the country to escape and score more drugs. His adventures take us to Mexico City, Tangiers and into a alternate reality location referred to as “the Interzone.” Once he arrives in Mexico things get really weird when he meets up with Dr. Benway. By weird I mean really blow your mind type of weird. The descriptions of junkies using drugs in the not so “normal” way and even taking drugs that are way beyond the norm border on the disgusting. The weirdness hits when the author takes the reader/listener overseas and sexual deviancy becomes extremely disturbing. I did have to stop listening to this book at times just to clear my mind of the vivid imagery created by Burroughs.

At this point I would like to talk about the reader/Narrator, Mark Bramhall. Bramhall delivers this audiobook with absolute vocal perfection. His raspy voice is strangely soothing and yet some of the stuff he describes are over the top. His ability to do separate voices for each of the characters is worthy of applause not only because of the vocal gymnastics needed but also because of the ability to expose the characters through his voice alone. I'm gonna be looking for more audiobooks voiced by Bramhall, because he is just that good.

This novel presents a glimpse into the emerging counter cultures of the 1950s and gives interesting insights into how these forces effect the ongoing development of modern society. In one of the essays that Burroughs wrote in the early 60s, Burroughs continues this glimpse by further exploring the idea of treating addicts. His essay should be read by anyone involved in today's “War on Drugs.” The book was written in a non-linear fashion, in that the reader could pick up and start reading any chapter in the book and not lose the form of the storyline. I found it very interesting that the book ends exactly where it starts with the junkie running away from the cops. The story was brought full circle and at no point did I realize it was headed this way.

As for the historical significance of the book here is some of the information I found. The book is extremely controversial in both its subject matter and its use of obscene language (something Burroughs recognized and intended), the book was banned in Boston and Los Angeles in the United States, and several European publishers were harassed. It was one of the most recent American books over which an obscenity trial was held. The book was banned in Boston in 1962 due to obscenity, but that decision was reversed in 1966 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The Appeals Court found the book did not violate obscenity statutes, as it was found to have some social value. The hearing included testimony in support of the work by Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer.

Sections of the manuscript were published in the spring, 1958 number of Robert Creeley's Black Mountain Review and in the spring 1958 University of Chicago student-run publication The Chicago Review. The student edition was not well received, and caused the university administration to discuss the future censorship of the Winter 1959 edition of the publication, resulting in the resignation of all but one of the editors. When the editor Paul Carroll published BIG TABLE Magazine alongside former Chicago Review editor Irving Rosenthal, he was found guilty of sending obscene material through the U.S. mail for including "Ten Episodes from Naked Lunch," a piece of writing the Judicial Officer for the United States Postal Service deemed "undisciplined prose, far more akin to the early work of experimental adolescents than to anything of literary merit" and initially judged it as non-mailable.

If you do chose to pick up this book I will warn you, reality will be altered and no matter who you are you will be disturbed.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

"Wind Gone Mad" by L. Ron Hubbard

"Wind Gone Mad"
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 Hours

Whether you have ever listened to an audiobook or not, just once (that's all it will take then your hooked) grab one of these productions from Galaxy Audio. These "Stories from the Golden Age" are great stories in and of themselves, but the magic Galaxy Audio puts into the production of these adventure stories makes them superb audio dramas

I don't think I'm too far off base when I say that Galaxy Audio produces these stories by L. Ron Hubbard as if they were old time radio dramas. When I was a kid (which really wasn't that long ago...I keep saying that enough and it'll be true) I used to stay up late at night with a portable transistor AM radio and tune in to some radio shows that came from some radio station in the Midwest. I just loved the thrills and chills produced by audio only, and that feeling comes back every time I listen to these Galaxy Audio productions. They provide excellent vocal acting, sound effects that envelope you into the story and incidental music that makes the transition between chapters and/or stories smooth.

This time around I went back into their catalog and picked up an audiobook in the "Tales from the Orient" genre of Hubbard's stories. The first story "Wind Gone Mad" attracted me because I had previously listened to "The Hurricane's Roar" which was the second story to feature the character Wind-Gone-Mad. So I was all about finding out what prompted the second story. Turned out to be a fun adventure, but the best treat was that this audio book featured the first ever published story by L. Ron Hubbard.

"Wind-Gone-Mad," originally published in "Top Notch" October, 1935 is tale of a madman's plan to wipe out an entire province in pre-war China and how it is thwarted by the man they call “Feng-Feng”—the Chinese word for hurricane or “Wind-Gone-Mad.” Jim Dahlgren, representative of the Amalgamated Aeronautical Company, refuses to join policy to let China sort it's own problems. Lives are at stake, especially when a villain known as "The Butcher" is allowed to rise up with fire and sword carving the way on his warpath for complete control of the nation. Dahlgren goes to find a mysterious aviator, the man called "Wind-Gone-Mad" who has always fought against the province warlords. Wind-Gone-Mad sets out to fix this broken diplomacy.

The next story is the first story by Hubbard L. Ron Hubbard published. He began publishing in February 1932 with the story "Tah," which appeared in The University Hatchet, the newspaper of George Washington University, where he was attending college. Twelve-year-old Tah is sold to the army by his father and is forced on a 24 hour march to battle.

Yellow Loot, originally published in "Thrilling Adventures" October, 1934. After getting their stash of amber stolen by a renegade army a search for the precious amber ends in a tumultuous race for freedom on the Great Wall of China.

This will be the one of the most fun two hours you've ever spent. Enjoy!