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On Blazing Wings
L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance, unabridged
Galaxy Audio, 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.

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A review by Gil T. Wilson

On Blazing Wings Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press continue to release L. Ron Hubbard's short stories written during the pulp fiction days of the mid-20th century. The first one out of the archives for 2011 is this gem of a story which is categorized as an air adventure, but also includes some science fiction and fantasy elements. Originally published in May of 1940, this story combines destiny and war heroes at a time when war heroes were the popular read.

David Duane is an American artist, adventurer and air ace who finds himself fighting for the Democratic People's Government of Finland, only because he is in that country when the war starts. As a veteran aviator and air ace, Duane instinctively goes after a group of Russian bombers. But his mission is interrupted when he sees a city in the clouds. This city turns out to be Puhjola, the mythical land of heroes.

In Puhjola, he is reunited with other members of his air team that have been shot down in this recent raid. He also meets up with buddies from previous wars who died in action, as well as some of the Russians he shot down. When he apologizes for shooting them down, one of the Russians says, "No big deal, it is war." The strange being that runs the city of Puhjola tells Duane that he will meet up with a Russian woman and fall in love. As a result, he will lose his life while trying to protect her instead of saving the thousands of others he should be protecting. Duane is also told that no matter how hard he tries, he cannot change his destiny.

Holding on to the thought that he can change his future, Duane wakes up in his burning plane and is captured by the Russians. He cannot recall his time in Puhjola, yet something about his destiny is buzzing in his brain. After being rescued by a female Russian intelligence officer, Duane falls in love, but he knows he needs to change something. Can David Duane become a hero again and change his destiny or is his destiny unchangeable? As with all of L. Ron Hubbard's pulp fiction stories, not only is a dame involved, but you can expect twists and turns until the very end.

One of the best ways to enjoy these stories is in the audiobook form produced by Galaxy Audio. They combine superb voice actors, stunning sound effects and mood enhancing incidental music to keep you locked in to this tale from the golden age of storytelling.

Copyright © 2011 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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