“Sky Birds Dare!”
by L. Ron Hubbard
multicast performance
produced by Galaxy Audio
to be released November, 2011
Approx 2 hours

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 story, “Sky Birds Dare!,” was originally published in Five-Novels Monthly September, 1936. and tells the story of a  glider pilot, trying to demonstrate the value of gliders and gliding techniques in war.  Not only does he have to convince the Navy of their value but he has to survive a competitor’s ruthless attempts to destroy him.

Ace glider pilot Breeze Callaghan is an definitely an Ace when it comes to gliders, although he has never flown a powered aircraft.  There are two ways Breeze believes they can be used to aid the war effort: they’ll keep a plane aloft when engines cut out, and gliders will be able to enter enemy airspace silently—a perfect way to spy undetected.  Breeze loves the feel of the glider in flight, because a powered craft is always beating the air into submission, a glider uses what nature gives to move through space.

Callahan’s ruthless competitor, Badger O’Dowell, has other ideas. Badger’s determined to get the Navy to buy his training ships instead. So every chance he gets He sabotages Breeze’s demonstrations.  These sabotages not only wreck the gliders but endanger Breeze’s life.

After several run-ins with O’Dowell, Breeze finally just decides to set a flight record, after saving himself from one sabotage by using heat updrafts to stay aloft.  He decides to use a storm and the landscape to fly down the Appalachian Mountains.  The storm becomes too much for him and the plane following and soon Breeze has to use his skills to save lives.

This book will keep you on the edge as Breeze manages to save himself through all the flights.

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