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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

THE GREAT SECRET (Stories from the Golden Age) by L. Ron Hubbard






Re-published in 2008 by Galaxy Press

Before L. Ron Hubbard became famous for Scientology and ultimately made Tom Cruise's life a perennial target for the tabloids he wrote a whole bunch of short stories for the pulp magazines from 1936 to 1950. Galaxy Press has been re-releasing them in small collections as paperbacks and audiobooks. This collection consists of four short stories.
File:L. Ron Hubbard in 1950.jpg
L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) in 1950

The first story is "The Great Secret" which was originally published in Science Fiction Stories in April of 1943. It is an okay story about a man who is willing to give anything to find out what the secret of a great, lost civilization was.

Story number two is "Space Can" - the best story in the bunch. Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction in July of 1942 it features a fight between two space fleets and the hand-to-hand combat that ensues.

"The Beast" is a forgettable safari tale based on Venus rather than Africa. But, it is filled with submissive natives and a great foreign hunter just in case you like to ponder how racist a story can be without actually involving human beings being oppressed. Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction in July of 1942.

"The Slaver" (Astounding Science Fiction, June 1942) would have been a good novel if it had been extended but it is an unsatisfying short story. It features an alien race capturing humans and using them as slaves after the humans lost an interstellar war.

The "Stories from the Golden Age" collection is an admirable attempt to preserve stories from the age of pulp fiction but this particular book is mostly not worth the effort. 

Reviewed on May 13, 2014
I rate this collection 2 stars out of 5.

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