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  • gilwilson 9:26 PM on December 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , novella, , , ,   

    “The Dive Bomber” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    thedivebomberaudiobook

    “The Dive Bomber”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multi-cast performance
    produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours.

    There are so many things to love about these audio releases from Galaxy Audio. I’ll try to touch on all of them, at least all the things that make these stories from the Golden Age my favorite. But, before I do that I need to explain a bit about these stories.

    During the middle of the 20th century, America was treated to short stories by many writers in many genres in the pulp magazine publications. These magazines were nicknamed pulps due to the cheap paper used in printing where the pulp could be seen and felt in the paper. This enabled the publishers to sell them for cheap, usually around a nickel a copy. There were many titles to choose from and many genres. There was science fiction, fantasy, detective stories, westerns and adventures of all sorts. L. Ron Hubbard wrote for all the genres and was one of the most prolific pulp writers.

    Audio Press and Audio Galaxy are releasing all these Hubbard pulp stories on a regular basis and are keeping true to the pulp fiction era. With the printed books they have the pulpy feel but the covers are a sturdier stock so they will look good on the shelf and can withstand multiple readings. The audiobooks are where I fell in love with these classic stories. Each book released is also released in audiobook form and the CDs have the same artwork as the books. The artwork on all the books is a great representation of the over the top graphics from the original pulps.

    What makes the audiobooks so great is the superb production behind each one. The books are not merely read to the listener, instead Galaxy Audio has brought back that old-time radio thriller genre from the same time period as the pulps. Everything from the narration to the character acting is so well done that as a listener you will feel as though you are in the middle of the story standing next to the over the top characters created by Hubbard.

    In each production there is a full cast performance by some excellent voices that are able to capture each character perfectly. The sound effects keep the story rolling and help the listener get lost in the story and the music keeps the mood flowing as the change in chapters or stories come in.

    The books can range from novellas to several short stories which come together to make a nice pulp fiction book or a two-hour performance. This book, “The Dive Bomber” is a single story or novella and is full of some great air adventures which will keep you on the edge of your seat through the entire story.

    Originally published in the July, 1937 issue of “Five Novels Monthly,” and tells the story of daredevil pilot, Lucky Martin. Lucky has designed a new bomber plane that the Navy is interested in. The only problem is that, during each test run, the plane crashes. When a representative of a foreign nation approaches Lucky to purchase the design, Lucky turns him down. With all the crashes the Navy determines the design is flawed and that they will not be purchasing the planes. This could ruin Lucky, once again the representative approaches but this time when Lucky turns him down the foreign powers flex their might by kidnapping Lucky’s girlfriend and threatening him to finish. Lucky will never allow his design to go to a potential enemy and will do everything he can to save his girl, and his plane.

    Daring test flights, air battles and sabotage make this story an adventure to not be missed.

     
  • gilwilson 4:37 PM on May 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craig wasson, full dark no stars, , jessica hecht, novella, , , ,   

    “Full Dark, No Stars” by Stephen King 

    “Full Dark, No Stars”
    by Stephen King
    Read by Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht
    Published by Simon & Schuster Audio (2010)
    Approx 15 hours

    Okay, off the top here I’ve gotta admit, I’m a HUGE Stephen King fan, I would read a grocery list if he wrote it.  That’s the big reason I picked up this audiobook.  Stephen King is the master of horror, and can always bring me to dark places and allow me to leave unscathed.  This collection of novellas was no different.  In fact this collection will take the reader/listener to some pretty dark places, but you will come out ok, trust me.

    “Full Dark, No Stars” is a collection of four novellas  dealing with the theme of retribution.  In all cases someone gets retribution, in one case I’m not so sure if the retribution was steered toward the rightful person but it was there.  This collection also explores the human psyche in its darkest corners.   King always asks the question “What if..?” and can create some startling stories.  Sometimes in King’s novels the what if may be “What if an alien landed? What if a giant spider/clown thing lived underground and fed on children?”  This time around, however, he takes on a trek through some dark realities; What if you were married to a serial killer?  What if you dumped your wife down the well?  What if you escaped a serial killer? What if you could be cured of cancer?

    The four novellas are tell of murders of some sort, two of which from a male point of view and two from a female point of view.  This is why there are two different narrators, one male and one female, both do a superb job of presenting these dark stories.  I think Craig Wasson shines best in his presentation of the first story “1922,”  he creates the down home feel in his vocal presentation, making it sound as if we are listening to Wilfred James actually talk out his confession.

    Now, let’s talk a bit about the four stories:

    “1922”
    Wilfred James, the story’s narrator, writes a lengthy confession for the murder of his wife, Arlette, in Hemingford Home, Nebraska, in 1922.  (King fans will recognize the town as being the center of the psychic magnet for the “good guys” in “The Stand.”)  Wilfred owns 80 acres of farmland that have been in his family for generations. His wife owns an adjoining 100 acres willed to her by her father. Wilfred loves his farm and scorns the thought of living in a city, but Arlette is hates the farm life and wants to move to Omaha, (Insert “Green Acres” theme song here.) She wants to sell her land to a livestock company for use as a pig farm and slaughterhouse. But if she does so,  Wilfred’s farm will smell like pig shit and the water will become disgusting, as he lives downstream from it. Arlette wants Wilf to sell his land to the farmers as well so they can all move to Omaha, while Wilf wants her to use the land to farm crops. They cannot agree, so Arlette decides to sell her land, divorce Wilf, and move to Omaha herself. Wilfred, who is very attached to his land, can’t stand to have it be laid to waste in this way, and manipulates his reluctant 14-year-old son, Henry/Hank, into helping him murder his own mother, by convincing him of how awful and selfish she is, and how terrible their life in Omaha will be, particularly since it will take Henry away from the girl he likes.

    They do the deed and then dump her body down the well, at first this seems like the deed is done, but soon the rats come.  The rats used to live in the well and seem to have become Arlette’s minions.  Haunting and torturing Wilf and his cattle.  To top it off Hank gets a neighbor girl pregnant and soon his doom is unveiled.  Wilf does not come out on top like he hoped and the rats follow him everywhere.

    “Big Driver”
    I’ve always heard that when you write for a living write about what you know best, I’ve noticed King takes this to heart in that a lot of his main characters are writers, this story is about yet another writer.  Tess is a successful mystery writer who appears at a speaking engagement for the group Books & Brownbaggers at the Chicopee Public Library in Chicopee, Massachusetts. After the event, the head librarian, Ramona Norville, who had invited Tess to the library for the event, tells Tess to avoid Interstate 84, which she believes to be dangerous. Instead, she gives Tess the directions to Stagg Road, a presumably safer shortcut to Tess’ home in Connecticut.  However, as Tess takes the shortcut, her Ford Expedition rolls over pieces of wood with nails that lie across the road, giving her a flat tire. The place where the incident happens is by an abandoned store/gas station.

    Shortly afterwards, an enormous man in a pickup drives by and offers to assist Tess. However, when Tess looks in the truck’s bed and notices pieces of wood similar to those that punched out her tires, the hulking man knocks her out. She returns to consciousness as the man is raping her inside the abandoned store. This begins a horrific ordeal in which Tess is repeatedly assaulted, both sexually and physically, finally being choked to unconsciousness. Tess plays dead while the man dumps her into a culvert, where she sees the rotting corpses of several previous victims, indicating that she has encountered a serial killer.  Tess manages to find her way home but is a changed person and seeks revenge.  King says he got the idea for this story while going to a book signing himself and stopping at a rest stop and seeing a woman with a flat tire getting help from a friendly truck driver.  Of course, King turns this into a darker story with a darker ending than what probably happened with the good samaritan at the rest stop.

    “Fair Extension”
    On his way home, Dave Streeter sees a man with a roadside stand by the road to the Derry airport (here King brings back the town of Derry, Maine, which has gone through all sorts of different hells). Street goes out and talks with the man, George Elvid, who tells Streeter that he sells extensions of various types. Streeter, who is dying of lung cancer, thinks Elvid might be a mental patient escapee after he claims to have existed for centuries. Elvid offers Streeter a chance to live for approximately 15 years if he pays 15 percent of his salary for every one of those years… and transfers the “weight” of his misfortune onto someone he knows, but not just someone he knows, it has to be someone he hates.

    Streeter selects Tom Goodhugh, his best friend since childhood, whom he has secretly hated for years. Streeter has done everything for Goodhugh, including doing his homework. Later, Goodhugh stole Streeter’s girlfriend in college and married her. Goodhugh founded a successful million-dollar waste removal business with Streeter’s assistance and now lives a lavish lifestyle, has three children on the fast track to great lives, and doesn’t look like age has caught up with him, unlike Streeter.

    A couple of days later, Streeter goes to his doctor, who tells him his tumors are shrinking. Four months later, Streeter is declared cancer-free, which perplexes his doctor. The good luck continues in subsequent years, as Streeter is promoted several times at work and his marriage becomes joyous and rich with lavish lifestyle improvements. His children begin a long line of career successes: his son creates two bestselling video games and his daughter gets her dream job as a journalist at the Boston Globe right out of college after graduating from the Columbia School of Journalism.

    At the same time, Goodhugh’s wife develops breast cancer, one son has a heart attack and lives but suffers brain damage, his daughter’s husband dies, she gives birth to a stillborn baby (due to same heart defect that caused the heart attack in his other son).  Streeter wins a longer life but at what cost.

    “A Good Marriage”
    Darcy Anderson has been married to Bob, a partner at a Portland, Maine accounting firm, for 27 years. They have two children, Donnie and Petra, who have left home for college. They also have a mail order business selling and appraising rare coins. But one night, while Bob is away on a business trip, Darcy goes into the garage to search for batteries. When she rummages through Bob’s belongings, she stumbles across a pornographic magazine showing images of sadomasochism. Unnerved by the magazine—and the fact that it is in Bob’s possession—Darcy finds a secret compartment behind the garage’s baseboard and makes a more horrific discovery: a small box containing the ID cards of Marjorie Duvall, a victim of a serial killer called “Beadie.”  Once Darcy has discovered this and then she researches and finds that all of Bob’s out of town trips correspond to other murders by “Beadie.”  What will Darcy do with this information?  If she tells the cops what will the neighbors think?  She and her children’s reputations will be ruined, after all, how could she be married to him and not know?  What she does may surprise even the most avid fan of King’s work.  Stephen King wrote this after hearing the news reports of the “BTK” murderer caught in Kansas a few years back, and his exploration of how the wife of BTK could not know is what makes this story so realistic.

    Definitely a good dive into the dark side from Stephen King.

     
  • gilwilson 2:56 AM on April 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , novella, ,   

    “The Warrior” A short story by Jim Butcher in the collection “Mean Streets” 

    “The Warrior”
    A short story by Jim Butcher
    in the collection “Mean Streets”
    Multiple Authors
    Multiple readers
    Produced by Recorded Books
    approx 2 hours (for this story)

    I am getting ready to listen to the latest novel about Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher, “Changes” but I had downloaded and put on my iPod this story that occurs earlier in the timeline of the Dresden Files.  So, I’m listening to this one first.  The entire collection runs about 10 hours in audiobook form and I am continuing with the rest of the book, but I had to stop and let you know about this story.

    Before we go further let me tell you about the book “Mean Streets.”  This collection of original novellas tied to popular crime/fantasy series which include; Thomas E. Sniegoski’s “Noah’s Orphans,” angel PI Remy Chandler must solve the murder of the biblical Arks builder, whose battered corpse is found on an abandoned oil rig. Simon R. Green writes with a slight humor that is similar to that by Jim Butcher in “The Difference a Day Makes,” in which PI John Taylor assists a woman who wandered into the the “nightside” a world hidden within London, and another noir type story by Kat Richardson’  “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog” neatly merges noir conventions with a fantastical plot.  I’ll let you know how those go when I finish the entire collection.

    “The Warrior” by Jim Butcher Reveals what happens to the Carpenter family after the events of Small Favor, this story takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.

    Michael Carpenter, a former Knight of the Cross has turned in his sword, Amoracchius.  The weird part is that an Archangel has decided that Harry Dresden, wizard and non-religious, hold the sword until it’s new rightful bearer can be find.  Harry, from a previous battle, after the death of another Knight of the Cross, Shiro Yoshimo, has possession of another sword, Fidelacchius.  Many in the church cannot accept the fact that Harry, an non-believer, has possession of 2 of the 3 swords.

    In this story someone is sending Harry photos of the now retired and recovering Michael Carpenter.  Harry assuming that Michael is in danger, goes to the Carpenter home and tries to warn him.  On the way Harry saves a little girl from being run over by a car.  At first this may just seem like a simple piece of the story, maybe more of a filler, but at the end that action makes the world a better place.  That’s the way Harry rolls.

    Upon arrival at the Carpenter house, Harry explains the photos and concerned the Carpenters have Harry spend the night for safety’s sake.  During the night someone tries to steal the swords, luckily Harry expected this and had fakes in plain sight while the real swords were hidden.  On chasing down the thief, harry discovers the man is military trained and protected to an extent against magic.

    Harry and Michael track down who is trying to steal the swords and along the way Harry learns about faith and goodwill.  Great short story here in the world of the better wizard named Harry.  Now to finish this book and get on with “Changes.”

     
  • gilwilson 3:01 AM on March 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , andventure, , , , destiny's drum, , , gold mines, , , island adventure, , natives, novella, ,   

    “Destiny’s Drum” by L. Ron Hubbard Multicast Performance Produced 2010 by Galaxy Audio 

    “Destiny’s Drum”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast Performance
    Produced 2010 by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours.

    Recently I’ve been listening to the Galaxy Audio releases of the old L. Ron Hubbard science-fiction stories from the days of the pulps, 30s-40s.  As I would do the research and find out more about these writings I found that they are also releasing other genres of L. Ron Hubbard’s multitude of fictional short stories and novellas.  The other genres are; westerns, tales from the Orient, far flung adventure, air adventure, sea adventure, mystery and fantasy.  I have read some of the fantasy and they were just as fun to read, or listen to, as in this case.  So I decided to try another genre.  The far flung adventure caught my fancy so I picked out the title “Destiny’s Drum.”  And once again my commutes were fun, while listening to this novella.

    Before I get into the meat of the story, once again I would like to spout a little praise on the production of these audio books.  Galaxy Audio mixes just the right amount of sound effects to keep the listener lost in the story, yet not too much to overpower the production.  The acting in these stories, as well as the narration, really keep the feel of the time in which the original stories were written.  They come across as old radio serials, with moments of urgency and humor mixed in with just the right amount to not sound hokey.  I almost expect the end of each chapter to end with the narrator booming in, “Tune in next week for more daring adventures…”  No matter what genre the stories, Galaxy Audio makes listening fun and exciting.

    The story behind “Destiny’s Drum” is that a renegade by the name of Phil Sheridan lands on the shores of the forgotten Indonesian island o f Kamling.  He’s captured by a primitive tribe (could they be cannibals?) and taken to their camp to meet their leader.  It turns out the tribe’s leader is Jose Emanuel Batista, slave trafficker, murderer, con-artist now tyrant.

    Portuguese Joe, as Batista is otherwise known, knows of Sheridan’s past and decides he doesn’t need him meddling in his island paradise, so he sentences Sheridan to be killed in front of a firing squad.  Sheridan cons the con-man and makes his escape into the jungle on the island.  Where he runs into the island’s true King, and another con-man turned gold miner.  In order to get off the Island Sheridan has to get past Portuguese Joe and his tribe of Muslim cannibals, so he recruits the help of the miner and the king to overpower Batista.

    This is a continuous island adventure that keeps you waiting for the next chapter, in fact I found myself taking the long way a couple of times just so I could listen for a little longer.  One thing to keep in mind, this is an L.Ron Hubbard story so expect some very interesting twists and turns in the plot and the story may go a direction you aren’t expecting.  Just when you think you got it figured out and you’re having fun listening to the story, it turns out you’re still having fun, but it’s not what you think.

     
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