“Golden Hell” By L. Ron Hubbard

“Golden Hell”
By L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast Performance
Produced 2010 by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 Hours.

Normally when I sit down to write a review on one of these outstanding audio book productions by Galaxy Audio I harp on the fact that they are superb audio productions that go beyond the measure of your typical audio book.  These audio pulps, as I like to call them, since they bring the pulp fiction feel to audio books, contain some of the best vocal acting, great sound effects and the most perfectly written original music.  This time around I thought I’d speak more about the author, L. Ron Hubbard.  Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press are re-releasing Hubbard’s stories from the Golden age of Stories, when writers of all genres submitted short stories to the pulp magazines for massive distribution.  These re-releases cover a variety of genres that demonstrate how prolific a writer Hubbard was.

L. Ron Hubbard’s legendary writing career spanned more than half a century  when he wrote more than 250 published novels, novelettes, short stories and screenplays in every major genre.  During the mid-20th Century Hubbard wrote the bulk of these stories for the pulp magazines.  Hubbard was a master of narrative prose, his life experiences and travels in all corners of the globe were wide and diverse and show up in all his stories to give each story that feeling of realism. He was also an explorer, ethnologist, mariner and pilot, filmmaker and photographer, philosopher and educator, composer and musician.  Basically being a jack-of-all-trades, Hubbard used his life experiences to create some excellent stories. Hubbard passed away in 1986, but his literary legacy lives on indelibly in works that continue to reverberate down through generations and millions of readers, making him one of the most widely read and highly acclaimed writers of our time, especially now that Galaxy Audio & Galaxy Press have been re-issuing these great stories.

Let’s now talk about this audio book which features two stories from the “Tales of the Orient” genre of Hubbard’s works.

The first story is the title story, “Golden Hell” originally published in  “Thrilling Adventures” in  September, 1936 and tells the tale of an American mining engineer, Captain Humbert Reynolds,who has gold fever.  Reynolds has decided that the Gobi Desert is hiding a large amount of gold and travels to the far east in search of his riches.  He contacts one of the local princes to purchase his way through, and seeing the chance to fill his coffers also the prince sends one of his own to assist Reynolds on his trek.  Reynolds is captured by bandits and thrown to an enclave of Machiavellian monks nestled deep inside a cavernous mountain, Reynolds finds a scene that resembles the horrors of Dante’s hell. And though he does find his much-desired gold, Reynolds also discovers that the price he has to pay for it just may lead to his doom.  Told in first person, this story has that great “film noir” feel.

“Pearl Pirate” originally published in “Thrilling Adventures” May, 1934 is a great action story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last word.  This is a nautical tale of deceit and treachery, set in the pre-World War II Coral Sea, in which a schooner skipper makes a deal to bring back about half a million dollars worth of black pearls from a pirate.  Upon completion of his task he will receive $10,000 cash and will be forgiven the loan on his ship.  He meets up with the pirate and a great battle ensues, but just when you think it’s over, good ole L. Ron Hubbard throws in a few more twists that will keep you guessing.

Two more great stories from L. Ron Hubbard.  There are many more to come and I plan on listening to them all.