Podcast (to listen to review click here)

“If I Were You”
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast Performance
produced by Galaxy Audio
approx 2 hours.

It’s time once again to jump back in time when authors were paid around three cents a word and pulp magazines in every genre carried thrilling and fun stories.  This time we are going to go to the fantasy genre with a couple of stories from the golden age, by L. Ron Hubbard.

Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press have been re-issuing the short stories from L. Ron Hubbard’s writing career of the mid 20th century.  Hubbard wrote many stories spanning genres such as Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Sea and Air Adventures, Tales from the Orient, Westerns and more.  In this audio book Galaxy Audio has put together 2 stories from the Fantasy genre to create an audio pulp magazine to rival all other pulps.

One of the key features of the Galaxy Audio releases is their super production quality.  With original music, and subtle yet effective sound effects these audio books are like a great trip back to the days of radio dramas.  The biggest factor in these productions is the superb vocal talents.  All the books have a general cast of very talented voice actors that capture the larger than life characters that Hubbard created.  In some of the audio books they feature some actors that offer a little more.  In this audio book the lead character, circus midget, Little Tom Little, is portrayed by Nancy Cartwright, yes the same one that voices Bart Simpson.  It’s pretty cool to hear her voice, you recognize her, but as can be expected she can change it up enough to where she can still portray a circus midget without you having to say, “Hey, that’s Bart Simpson.”  At first it does grab your attention but just like all the other voice talent in these audio books by Galaxy Audio it blends in and fits perfectly with the character in the story.

This audio book contains the following two stories.

“If I Were You” originally published in the February 1940 issue Five-Novels Monthly, turns out to be a morality tale of what truly makes a person, soul or stature.   Circus attraction and King of the midgets, Little Tom Little is not happy with being a sideshow attraction. Tom wants to be the Ringleader.  When the mysterious Professor calls Tom to his deathbed, Tom is amazed, the Professor never really liked him.  But the Professor leaves Tom his entire collection of magical books.  He tells Tom it’s because he had the courage to make fun of the Professor with no fear of retaliation.  Tom then goes back to his wife Maisy and tells here it is all about to change.  Within the magical tomes is a spell marked specifically for Tom that allows him to jump from body to body.

Tom immediately wants to take advantage of this newfound power and become the circus’ ringleader.  The problem is that the ringleader Hermann Schmidt is a corrupt person and has been skimming off the top of the profits.  This leads to Tom jumping from body to body and eventually landing in the body of the big cat tamer, Tom has a fear of the big cats, and Tom finds himself in giant-sized danger.   The fun with this story is the unexpected twists Hubbard is able to throw in that keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.

“The Last Drop” was originally published in Astonishing Stories, November 1941 and is another story of big becoming little or big becoming small, therefore making a great story to accompany the main story.  Euclid O’Brien and Harry McCloud are partners in bar ownership in New York.  Euclid’s Brother Aristotle has sent a bottle of some strange liquid which the natives call “swello.”  Mac (McCloud) takes the bottle as a dare and mixes an interesting concoction and gulps it down.  Euclid warns him that it could mean trouble.  Mac says nonsense and walks out the bar with no ill-effects, at least not yet.  Soon a fly lands on the concoction and after feasting on the mixture begins to grow.  The fly grows to the size of a dog and the patrons, along with Euclid immediately think of Mac.  They put together the idea behind the mixture and realize they must mix up something to counter act the growing.  After a while they mix up the swello with some other drink items and after testing on a fly have created a drink to reverse the process.

Before they can go after Mac, the local mob boss stops in for his monthly “protection” fee.  Euclid is more worried about Mac and tries to get rid of the boss.  Well the Boss drinks down the reverse formula and says that Euclid will be sorry, as he leaves.  But before he leaves they notice the Boss Shrinking down.

The fun begins as the boss’s henchmen demand a fight between Euclid (after being shrunk down) to settle the score.  All this while Mac grows to super-size and becomes a threat to New York City.

With some humorous scenes and antics by all the characters this story is a fun one from the Golden Age of Stories.

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