Monday, October 20, 2014

The Golden Age of Pulp Magazines: The Slickers short stories by L. Ron Hubbard

The stories in The Slickers are presented in an artfully designed volume from the L. Ron Hubbard Fiction Collection published by Galaxy Press. The story was originally published in the September 1936 issue of Detective, one of the many “pulp” magazines that had their heyday in the 1930s and 1940s.  This is the 5th book in the collection I have read, and each one has colorful dramatic artwork on the cover and rough cut pulp pages to simulate the historical pulp magazines.

Unlike the novels I review on my blog that focus on the insightful Imagined Experiences of authors, the three short adventure fiction stories in The Slickers are no holds barred narratives of exciting action, in this book detailing the interactions of cops and miscreants. The title story, tells the tale of a hick Sheriff from “Arizony” who is called to New York City for a body guard gig protecting a rich man from “city slicker” assassins. The second story is “Murder Afloat” that follows the heroic activity of a U. S. Federal Agent attempting to bust a heroin smuggler on board a cruise ship. The third story, “Killer Ape,” describes the relationship between an orangutan accused of the murder of an abusive owner and a newspaper reporter who sets out to investigate the killing. All three stories are page turners that are just long enough for the reader to keep excitement going for an hour.

At first glance, would be writers may think that it is easy to write in the simple declarative sentences loaded with adjectives and adverbs. But, there was a great amount of competition to have work published in the pulps. Only a few writers were able to publish regularly in the market, and L. Ron Hubbard had a phenomenal 80% publication record. All of his stories in the Galaxy series are exciting adventures, and Hubbard explained his success in terms that are parallel to the novels I select for review in my blog. He stated that in writing good adventure stories, the writer has to be an adventurer himself. Hubbard's life, described in a final piece at the end of the volume was one of personal adventures on land and sea throughout the world.

I highly recommend The Slickers for fast reading any time readers get a break from work or other obligations and young people who could learn from the revived pulp stories to enjoy reading as one of life’s reliable pleasures.

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