shadows“When Shadows Fall”
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast performance
Produced by Galaxy Press
Approx 2 hours

Once again I sit back with an audio book and have some fun.  This time it’s as if I’m jumping back in a time machine and going back about 50 or so years, and picking up some science-fiction pulp stories.  That’s right it’s another L. Ron Hubbard audio book collection of his short stories.  Hubbard wrote many short stories during the ’30s through the ’50s, they range in genre from westerns to sci-fi, from fantasy to piracy, and every one of his early stories have been packaged up in both book and audio book form.  They consist of two or three stories within the same genre to fill up the audio book with two hours of listening pleasure.

Galaxy audio has produced the audio books with multi-cast performances, sound effects and incidental music that not only assist in the story telling but also give the feel of the times the stories were written.  The characterizations from the performers’ voices  create an ambiance that boosts you into a jet pack and thrusts you into the hey day of sci-fi storytelling.

This collection, “When Shadows Fall” includes the following stories;  the title story “When Shadows Fall,” “Tough Old Man,” and “Battling Bolto.”  Each one has the L. Ron Hubbard twist to the end that leaves the listener smiling or saying, “hmmm….” or both. Either way they are very fun to hear.

“When Shadows Fall” tells the story of Earth after most of its population has left to colonize the universe leaving the planet depleted of its natural resources.  The few inhabitants have very little food, fuel, air or water.  The Earth president and council decide to make a last ditch effort and pool all remaining resources to send out among the stars to ask for help.  They only come up with enough for three expeditions each led by a completely different personality, one a military leader, another a financial leader and the third an artisan/story teller.  Will any of these expeditions be able to gather help to save Earth?

“Tough Old Man” is an adventurous and fun story about a man named Moffat  who is sent for final training under the Senior Constable of the Frontier Patrol, old Keno.  All the others sent to train under old Keno have returned to turn in their badges because they couldn’t keep up with the old man.  Moffet is determined.  He powers through the severities of the planets climates of extreme cold, extreme heat and rocky landscape.  What it takes to be Senior Constable is a a surprise to Moffat.

“Battling Bolto” is a hilarious space age snake oil salesman story.  A young hick is hired as a smith to create robot skins for a man selling robots to planets on the fring, you know, backwoods planets.  He soon dons one of the robot skins and is set out to deceive the hicks by acting as a fighting robot.  This one has one of the best twists I’ve ever read in a story and is a must listen.

So go on out pick up the collection “When Shadows Fall” and have some fun with an audio book.

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