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March 2005
 
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Adventures in the Unknown, by Carl H. Claudy (1933/34)

TED Dolliver is the brawn. Alan Kane is the brains. These college chums explore Mars and the Fourth Dimension without wrinkling their suits or loosening their neckties. The four novels in the Adventures in the Unknown series are gripping, action-packed, awe-struck and scary.

In The Mystery Men of Mars, Ted and Alan and an eccentric professor ride an antigravity sphere to Mars, encountering cyborg Martians who eerily prefigure the Borg Collective. The professor suffers one of the most hideous fates in all of science fiction…more horrifying because we never learn its precise results.

In A Thousand Years a Minute, Ted and Alan trade their neckties for pith helmets, riding a time-raft yesterwards to a prehistoric era where cavemen dwell among brontosauri and giant toads.

The Land of No Shadow finds Ted and Alan in neckties and suits again as they springboard through an interdimensional portal to a deeply frightening alien realm, inhabited by invisible sentinels…and you'll never feel the same about rabbits again. Ted escapes with his body mirror-reversed, but Alan is less fortunate.

The last volume brings Alan home, hair turned white from his ordeal. He and Ted build a subterranean elevator and descend into the Earth to confront The Blue Grotto Terror. Naturally, in all their adventures, they bring handguns.

Carl H. Claudy (1879 – 1957) prospected for gold in Alaska before writing boys' fiction. A high-ranking Freemason, his texts on "the Craft" are still consulted in Masonic temples.

—F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

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