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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Crossroads (audiobook) by L. Ron Hubbard

Multicast performance
Published by Galaxy Audio
Duration: 2 hours, 17 minutes

First published in the magazine Unknown in 1941, The Crossroads is part of a large series of books and stories that are being re-published by Galaxy Press as part of their Golden Age Stories series. In reality, they are a collection of L. Ron Hubbard's early works that were published in magazines and as pulp fiction books. Hubbard was a prolific writer and he wrote a lot of action stories that translate quite well into the multicast performance audiobook format. The book is performed by several cast members and are reminiscent of the old-time radio shows that were popular when the stories were written.

This audiobook consists of 3 short stories. The first story is the title story. The Crossroads is the story of an old farmer in the Depression who thinks that the Roosevelt Administration's orders for farmers to destroy food (in an effort to raise prices for food) is just plain silly when there are hungry people in the city. So, he loads up a wagon with vegetables, hitches up his horse and heads off to the city to sell them.

But, on the way he comes upon an unmarked crossroads. He decides to just wait until someone comes by and can point out the direction he should go. But...this is a crossroads in time and space and the three roads lead to three very different places. The farmer interacts with all three of them and barters his vegetables for a great number of things until he decides it is time to just head home...if he can!

The second story is Borrowed Glory. It features a lonely old woman who is dying. She has no family, no money and no friends. Two genies look at her and decide to bet on human nature. One believes that she will appreciate 48 hours of youth, beauty, wealth and romance. She will gladly go back to her old, lonely self and savor the memories. The other genie bets that she will be even more miserable having realized all of her dreams and then lost them. The story itself is quick with a memorable twist. Worthy of a Twilight Zone episode, except that Hubbard wrote it about 20 years before Rod Serling was making them!

The third story, The Devil's Rescue, features a sailor who is lost at sea and picked up by The Flying Dutchman, the legendary cursed ship that can never come to port. When the Devil himself comes to check out the Dutchman's newest crew member there are lots of surprises for everyone.

This collection is quite strong. These three stories, even though they are very different in tone, make for a fine two hours of listening.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: The Crossroads.

Reviewed on May 20, 2012.

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