“False Cargo”
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio (July 2012 release date)
Approx 2 hours

If you will allow, I’m going to give you a heads up on your summer audiobook listening. First of all, this July Galaxy Audio / Galaxy Press will be releasing another audio pulp and paperback collection in the Stories from the Golden Age releases. They have been releasing L. Ron Hubbard’s stories that were originally published in the pulp magazines in the early to mid-20th century each month since 2008. I’ve been enjoying the audiobook versions of these books for a few years now and glad to see they have lots more to come. The July release will be a collection of two Sea Adventure stories featuring the title story “False Cargo” and a second story “Grounded.”

While reading these stories in the paperback form will still give you that real pulp-fiction feel, the audio versions of the books are superb. The paperback versions have the feel because they have simulated the old pulp paper that have the pulp magazines the nickname, but even better the covers of the books are thick and use the original artwork from the magazine covers of the time, also the stories have illustrations every so often to give that extra oomph. But what makes the audiobooks so awesome, in my opinion, is that they are produced with sound effects, excellent voice acting and music that all together give them an almost old-time radio feel. (Almost, because as the listener you don’t have to listen to the actors sell you soap or hair cream.)

The first story and the title story of this release is, “False Cargo,” originally published in the May, 1935 issue of “Five Novels.” The story starts out with a bit of mystery where Brent Calloway takes on the identity of a ruthless killer known as Spike O’Brien. Calloway does this to gain access to the ship, the “Barclay.” Calloway as it turns out is an insurance fraud investigator and is sent to make sure the shipment makes it safely to port. The problem is that the crew is out making money scuttling ships and collecting the insurance money, and are not prepared to let anyone take away their golden calf.

When O’Brien makes his appearance, surprisingly, on the ship Calloway and Dorothy a passenger on the ship and a friend of one of Brent’s best friends are in danger of losing their lives. Calloway now has to get himself, Dorothy and the ship safely to San Diego while fighting the insurance thieves. Danger on the waters and danger on the ship threatens the lives of everyone in this Sea Adventure.

“Grounded” is the second/bonus story in this release, and from all the research I put in I could only find that this adventure story was written in April of 1932. It seems to be the second short story written by Hubbard and doesn’t have the same type of ending as his pulp-fiction writings. Usually the good guy wins and gets the dame, this time though, the good guy wins but at the cost of his own life. With his reputation ruined by the death of a friend in an air incident, a Royal Air Force lieutenant seeks to redeem himself on patrol in pre-World War II China. This story has a great feel to it and yet it is dark and foreboding, and even has a bit of a morality tale feel as well.

Two great adventure stories on the sea from the master storyteller, coming July 2012 from Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press.

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