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The Tramp
L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast performance, unabridged
Galaxy Press, 2 hours

L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ron Hubbard was born March 13, 1911, in Tilden, Nebraska and died January 14, 1986 in San Luis Obispo, CA. In the 1930s and 40s, he produced a large number of westerns and science fiction stories and novels, some under the pen-name René Lafayette. Among these, some were well regarded, including the fantasy Slaves of Sleep (1939), the novel Typewriter in the Sky, the well-regarded militaristic post-apocalyptic novel Final Blackout (1940), and the horror novel Fear (1940). In 1950, he published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and in 1954 he founded the Church of Scientology to promote his "applied religious philosophy." Between 1954 and the early 80s, Hubbard published no further science fiction or fantasy. His Battlefield Earth was published in 1982 and eventually spawned the movie of the same name. The ten part ultra-pulpish Mission Earth series was published largely posthumously, and as with Battlefield Earth received rather poor reviews. Further biographical information can be found on the official L. Ron Hubbard website and in Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard by Russell Miller -- I'll let you decide what to believe.

Publisher's website
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BOOK REVIEW: To the Stars: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

The Tramp Once again, we are treated to a superb audiobook production with another "Story from the Golden Age" from Galaxy Audio. Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press have been releasing the many short stories and novellas by L. Ron Hubbard previously published in the pulp-fiction magazines of the mid-twentieth century to create their own pulps and audio pulps.

I say audio pulps because that seems to be a fitting description due to the fact that all of these audiobook releases are about two hours in length. They contain one or more stories with a common theme reflecting one of the many genres in which Hubbard composed his fictions during that time. Another reason that makes the moniker stick is the production. The sound effects, music and voice acting all meld together to create a unique sound reminiscent of early radio programs from that same era. All of Hubbard's characters and stories are over the top and larger than life (that's what makes these stories so much fun) and the actors voicing the characters act with that in mind. The music produced is perfect for each story and the sound effects are subtle, believable and unique.

"The Tramp" originally appeared in three parts in Astounding Science Fiction. Published in the September, October and November issues during 1938, it is the only story in this audio release. The action begins when a small-town sheriff gets a tip on gang activity among vagrants riding train cars through the Midwest. He finds "Doughface" Jack hitching on the rails and, as Jack tries to run away, the eager sheriff shoots and hits Jack in the head. The town's doctor happens to be nearby and immediately takes Jack back to his office. The doctor discovers that the bullet has destroyed the top of Jack's skull but, working with what is on hand, he manages to fix Jack up. However, the surgery is a bit bizarre in that the doc has to sew the two halves of Jack's brain together and then replace the skull with a silver bowl.

When Jack recovers a couple of days later, he awakens to find himself in the small room that serves as a hospital in this little town. In one bed a patient is dying of cancer and in another, a woman is recovering after losing her eye and receiving multiple injuries from a car crash. The nurse comes in and Jack "cures" her of a mole on her chin - very strange! Soon Jack cures the cancer patient and the crash victim, and causes the doctor's body to regress and become 40 years younger.

The doctor realizes this may have something to do with his surgery process, but it may also be related to a process called "mitogenetics." The explanation of mitogenetics is that, in an onion field only onions grow and the onions "communicate" through mitogenesis to kill out weeds and heal each other. When some professors whisk Jack to New York to study him, the small town doc is worried because, well, not everyone is an onion.

True enough! After venturing out on his own, Doughface Jack discovers that not only can he heal, but when he is frightened he can also kill. When Jack meets up with a vindictive, formerly blind beggar woman his troubles begin. She seems to want to use Jack to get back at those who mistreated her. Soon Jack and the "Witch Woman" are on their way to Washington D.C. to take over the country. Can he be stopped? How do you stop someone with such strong psychic power? Pick up this audiobook and enjoy a great story to find out.

Copyright © 2010 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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