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  • gilwilson 8:57 PM on December 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , tales from the orient   

    “Orders is Orders” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Orders is Orders”

    by L. Ron Hubbard

    Multi-cast performance

    Produced by Galaxy Audio (2008)

    approx 2.5 hours

    Galaxy Audio is getting ready to release some new collections of audiobooks from L. Ron Hubbard’s Pulp Fiction writings of the mid-20th Century and before I get to them I realized there was one release I’ve missed.  You see, since 2008 Galaxy Press and Galaxy Audio have been gathering all of the stories Hubbard wrote during the hey day of pulp fiction and have been releasing the New York Times bestselling author’s writings in their own new pulp magazine forms.  The paperbacks have the feel of the old pulps (but are a little more sturdy), and the audio book forms, well let’s just say, Galaxy Audio has created the new format of Audio Pulps.  The audiobook releases are all around 2 hours in length and while some may contain one story there are some that have 2 or 3 short stories.  This one is only one story but, as are all of them, it is a fun and exciting adventure story.

    The way Galaxy Audio has created this Audio Pulp format is by casting multiple talented people to play the parts in the story and then incorporating excellent sound effects and perfect music between chapters.  The final products sound like old time radio with over the top acting for the over the top characters created by Hubbard.  The voice work alone makes these recordings fun to hear.

    As for the stories, well I will have to say there is a bit of a pulp fiction formula to them, but Hubbard uses that formula perfectly.  I had originally thought this was just a Hubbard gimmick, but following the success of Galaxy Audio/Galaxy Press re-releasing the old pulp-fiction stories other publishers have begun releasing other stories from the pulp-fiction days, and it seems that the formula is a pulp-fiction formula and Hubbard just seemed to master it.  That formula? Well, you gotta have a hero, a sidekick (preferably with some strange quirk) a dame and an impossible mission or crime to solve, then throw in some pretty enemies that are impossible to overcome and have the good guys win.  It works and let me tell you, it is extremely fun.

    This story, “Orders Is Orders” was originally published in the December, 1937 issue of “Argosy weekly” and tells the story of just such formulaic characters. Two marines, Gunnery Sergeant James Mitchell and Private First Class “Tuffy” Spivits,   and a girl, a fan dancer trying to escape the war-torn area,  dodge bullets on a 200-mile trek through embattled China to bring serum and gold to the American consulate, an isolated island of safety in a sea of dead and dying.

    Japan and China are battling it out and caught in the middle, in the Chinese city of Shunkien, is the American Consulate.  The American refugees cannot escape due to the war being waged and the Asiatic form of cholera is threatening unless they can get the serum on time.   Sgt, Mitchell is just the man to do it, but he has one weakness, liquor, if he can stay away from it he can stay clear headed enough to get the job done.  One of the many things that make Mitchell the perfect candidate is that he was raised in the area.  Mitchell’s father is a missionary and he was raised there until a falling out caused him to leave abruptly, he’s been on his own ever-since.

    Mitchell and Spivets come to the aid of a fan dancer who is trying to escape, but they end up taking her the wrong way when they commandeer her car in order to make the mission succeed.  Along the way they come to where Mitchell’s father has set up is mission and find it nearly in ruins due to the war.  Since their last car broke down they have to commandeer one and reluctantly Mitchell’s father joins in.  With constant battles going on they strange landing party fight all odds to get to Shunkien on time without getting the U.S. involved in this war.

    It may be the old Pulp-Fiction formula, but L. Ron Hubbard could write the action that keeps you hooked until the very end.

  • gilwilson 8:36 PM on July 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    “Spy Killer” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Spy Killer”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    Produced by Galaxy Audio
    approx 2 hours

    Once again I dive into a Story from the Golden Age, with another pulp fiction classic from the master Storyteller, L. Ron Hubbard.  This time we go on another adventure with at tale from the Orient.

    Each one of these stories by Hubbard from the Mid-20th century launch me into a new adventure.  Galaxy Audio makes these stories transition to audio books in a phenomenal way.  Each one of these books is transformed into an audio drama that closely resembles an old fashioned radio drama.  With great music, perfect sound effects and vocal acting that not only blows away the listener but makes the over the top characters created by Hubbard come to life.

    Originally published in the April 1936 issue of “Five Novels Monthly,”  “Spy Killer” is one of the most violent and darker stories from this era of Hubbard’s book.   Kurt Reid has just escaped from the S.S. Rangoon and is on the run from those that want to charge him with murder.  He flees to pre-Communist Shanghai, China and finds himself hunted by the most vile of persons, Lin Wang.  Wang, a vile disgusting figure, wants Reid to kill a spy, in return he will give Wang a written confession to the murder Reid is being charged with.  The confession is from another member of the crew of the Rangoon who Reid watched Wang torture the confession from.

    Reid finds a woman from his past, Anne Carsten, is friends with a White Russian Spy, Varinka Savischna and both are in Shanghai.  Reid seeks out the spy he is ordered to kill and it turns out to be Varinka.  They then both conspire to kill Wang and try to escape with their lives.

    In a story that is non-stop twists and turns, and secret identities as well as identity changes, Hubbard keeps you wondering what will happen next in this constant thriller.

  • gilwilson 1:31 AM on June 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , tales from the orient, wind gone made   

    “Wind Gone Mad” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Wind Gone Mad”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    Produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 Hours

    Whether you have ever listened to an audiobook or not, just once (that’s all it will take then your hooked) grab one of these productions from Galaxy Audio.  These “Stories from the Golden Age” are great stories in and of themselves, but the magic Galaxy Audio puts into the production of these adventure stories makes them superb audio dramas

    I don’t think I’m too far off base when I say that Galaxy Audio produces these stories by L. Ron Hubbard as if they were old time radio dramas.   When I was a kid (which really wasn’t that long ago…I keep saying that enough and it’ll be true) I used to stay up late at night with a portable transistor AM radio and tune in to some radio shows that came from some radio station in the Midwest.  I just loved the thrills and chills produced by audio only, and that feeling comes back every time I listen to these Galaxy Audio productions.  They provide excellent vocal acting, sound effects that envelope you into the story and incidental music that makes the transition between chapters and/or stories smooth.

    This time around I went back into their catalog and picked up an audiobook in the “Tales from the Orient” genre of Hubbard’s stories.  The first story “Wind Gone Mad” attracted me because I had previously listened to “The Hurricane’s Roar” which was the second story to feature the character Wind-Gone-Mad.  So I was all about finding out what prompted the second story.  Turned out to be a fun adventure, but the best treat was that this audio book featured the first ever published story by L. Ron Hubbard.

    “Wind-Gone-Mad,” originally published in “Top Notch” October, 1935 is tale of a madman’s plan to wipe out an entire province in pre-war China and how it is thwarted by the man they call “Feng-Feng”—the Chinese word for hurricane or “Wind-Gone-Mad.”  Jim Dahlgren, representative of the Amalgamated Aeronautical Company,  refuses to join policy to let China sort it’s own problems.  Lives are at stake, especially when a villain known as “The Butcher” is allowed to rise up with fire and sword carving the way on his warpath for complete control of the nation.  Dahlgren goes to find a mysterious aviator, the man called “Wind-Gone-Mad” who has always fought against the province warlords.  Wind-Gone-Mad  sets out to fix this broken diplomacy.

    The next story is the first story by Hubbard  L. Ron Hubbard published.  He began publishing in February 1932 with the story “Tah,” which appeared in The University Hatchet, the newspaper of George Washington University, where he was attending college.  Twelve-year-old Tah is sold to the army by his father and is forced on a 24 hour march to battle.

    Yellow Loot,  originally published in “Thrilling Adventures” October, 1934.  After getting their stash of amber stolen by a renegade army a search for the precious amber ends in a tumultuous race for freedom on the Great Wall of China.

    This will be the one of the most fun two hours you’ve ever spent.  Enjoy!

  • gilwilson 10:21 PM on March 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , golden hell, , monks, , , , , tales from the orient   

    “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.

  • gilwilson 1:41 PM on February 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , inky odds, , , , , tales from the orient,   

    “Inky Odds” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Inky Odds”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multi-cast performance
    Produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours.

    I’m really having a lot of fun exploring in the orient with L. Ron Hubbard.  Okay what this means, in case you are new to the Stories from the Golden Age, is that one of the genres L. Ron Hubbard wrote in when he wrote for the pulp fiction magazines back in the early to mid 20th century was “Adventures in the Orient” and listening to the recently released audio books produced by Galaxy Audio I am having a blast and each story seems as though I’m transported through time and space to visit the lands and time of which Hubbard wrote these intriguing stories.

    Actually out of all the genres I can’t pick which is my favorite.  There are Air adventures, Sea Adventures, Far Flung Adventures, Adventures in the Orient, Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Westerns.  Okay, really I can say that the Sci-fi and Fantasy are my faves but as for the others they all are fun to hear.  Especially with the outstanding production quality issued by Galaxy Audio.  Excellent voice actors, special effects and original music push these stories out to create a life of their own.

    This adventure in the orient is called “Inky Odds” was originally published in June of 1940 and tells the tale of the best newspaper correspondent in China, Bat Conroy of World Press, and an ambitious new correspondent,  Perry Lane of International Service, who beats him to the “scoop,” cross paths in the war-ravaged country.   Actually the story is Bat’s story and trying to figure out who this Perry Lane is and how he’s scooping Bat on every story.  Now as a listener in the 21st century the mystery is not so much of a mystery.  But when putting the story in the perspective of the time it was written, they mystery remains a mystery to Bat Conroy until the very end.  This is another story that shows how L. Ron Hubbard’s fiction writing was a bit ahead of its time.

    The biggest story of the war between Japan and China breaks out and Bat is not only there to report on it but he helps in the story.  A group of Americans are holed up in the Consulate in a Chinese city that is under siege by the Japanese army.  Among the Americans is a doctor whose wife has found her long lost husband and insists on going up river with Bat and a rescue team.   The rescue team is bring medical supplies to the Americans.  Bat gets a boat hired and has to write the story of the event and not let this Perry Lane scoop him.

    Stowing away on the boat is a woman who each time she meets Bat she gives him a different name, and after the third time he goes with calling her all 3, Lois Dorothy Alice.  The whole boat trip is being reported via International Services’ Perry Lane.  Bat cannot figure out how this is happening.  The rescue boat is attacked by Japanese bombers as they head up the Yang Tze river to rescue the Americans.  Bat gets everyone off the boat but not before saving the medical supplies.   Bat convinces a Chinese army General to loan him an armored vehicle so he can deliver the supplies.

    Bat drives to  the Consulate but is attacked before arriving and is knocked unconscious during the attack.  When he awakens he not only is being treated by one of the American doctors but he finds he’s not fired because the his stories have scooped International Services, but how, he’s been unconscious for 5 days.

    With some great humor and adventure this story is yet another story from L. Ron Hubbard that will amaze you with the depth of information.  In fact with all the detail Hubbard throws into his stories you know, he had to have lived some aspect of the stories, and that’s what makes them so fun the hear as an audio book or read the printed page, the detail and depth.

    • Tom McNulty 10:19 PM on February 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I read this one too and it’s a real gem. And you’re right, Gil, those Galaxy audio books are truly outstanding!


  • gilwilson 10:19 PM on November 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , tales from the orient, the falcon killer   

    “The Falcon Killer” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “The Falcon Killer”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours.

    I’m really loving the vast array of genre’s from L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp fiction days.  More to the point I’m loving the production work of the Galaxy Audio releases of these stories from the various genres.  During the mid-20th century Hubbard wrote numerous stories for the numerous pulp fiction magazines that were published during the time.  What got me hooked were the science-fiction and fantasy stories, which are my favorite genres of any literature.  After listening to all the Stories from the Golden Age in the sci-fi/fantasy genres I was highly impressed by the production of each audiobook.

    Galaxy Audio, part of Galaxy Press, is releasing all the old Hubbard stories to create these 2 hour audio pulps, that bring to mind the old radio dramas from around that same time.  Each one of these audiobooks is a flash back to when stories were fun.  Galaxy Audio has a great team of voice actors for the books and the sound effects and music are superb.  Just picking out any book will get you hooked.

    This time around I listened to one of Hubbard’s Tales from the Orient, “The Falcon Killer,” which was originally published in April, 1939.  This story takes place in War-torn China in the early part of the 20th century.  This is the story of an ace free-lance fighter pilot, nicknamed “The Falcon Killer (Tzun Kai),” who is actually Bill Gaylord, raised in Peking by his American parents. Gaylord lost both of them as a child during the violent Boxer uprising and then saw his foster family slaughtered in wartime. With a past that’s hardened his soul and given him nerves of steel, Gaylord has used his resolve to down more Japanese aircraft than can be counted. Gaylord has a tattoo of a half dragon which has some meaning that only the Chinese know.  This tattoo provides the great twist at the end of the story that makes this a true Hubbard pulp-fiction.

    Events pit Gaylord against a Japanese spy who has caused untold trouble for the Chinese. Gaylord must somehow find and defeat him or risk losing an ancient Chinese kingdom to the land of the rising sun.

    Just before the local ruler can sell out his people Gaylord is discovered to be within the town and is called join the ruler for dinner.  Gaylord discovers his dinner has been poisoned, but will it be too late before the Japanese move in and take over, creating one more province under the rising sun banner?

    This story has some great aerial battles, escapes and intrigue that will keep you wondering whether the Falcon Killer will live to see another day.

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