“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.

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