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If I Were You
L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast performance, unabridged
Galaxy Press, 2 hours

If I Were You
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

Once again, let's jump back in time when authors were paid around three cents a word and pulp magazines in every genre carried thrilling and fun stories. This time we are going to the fantasy genre with a couple of stories, from the Golden Age, by L. Ron Hubbard.

Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press have been re-issuing the short stories from L. Ron Hubbard's writing career of the mid-20th century. Hubbard wrote many stories spanning genres such as science fiction, fantasy, sea and air adventures, tales from the Orient, westerns and more. In this audiobook, Galaxy Audio has put together two stories from the fantasy genre to create an audio pulp magazine to rival all other pulps.

One of the key features of the Galaxy Audio releases is their super production quality. With original music, and subtle yet effective sound effects, these audiobooks are like a great trip back to the days of radio dramas. The most noticeable factor in these productions is the superb vocal talents. All the books have a general cast of very talented voice actors that capture the larger-than-life characters that Hubbard created. However, in some of the audiobooks, actors are featured who offer a little more.

In this production, the lead character, circus midget Little Tom Little, is portrayed by Nancy Cartwright -- yes, the same person that voices Bart Simpson. It's pretty cool to hear her voice because you can recognize her, but as can be expected, she can change it up enough to where she can still portray a circus midget without you having to say, "Hey, that's Bart Simpson." At first it does grab your attention, but just like all the other voice talent in these audiobooks, it blends in and fits perfectly with the character in the story.

This audiobook contains two stories.

"If I Were You" was originally published in the February 1940 issue of Five-Novels Monthly. It turns out to be a morality tale asking what truly defines a person, their soul or stature? Circus attraction and king of the midgets, Little Tom Little, is not happy with being a sideshow attraction. Tom wants to be the Ringmaster. When the mysterious Professor calls Tom to his deathbed, Tom is amazed because the Professor never really liked him. But the Professor leaves Tom his entire collection of magical books. He tells Tom it's because Tom had the courage to make fun of the Professor with no fear of retaliation. Tom then goes back to his wife Maisy and tells her things are all about to change. Within the magical tomes is a spell marked specifically for Tom that allows him to jump from body to body.

Tom immediately wants to take advantage of this newfound power and become the circus ringmaster. The problem is that the ringmaster, Hermann Schmidt, is a corrupt person and has been skimming off the top of the profits. This leads to Tom jumping from body to body and eventually landing in the body of the big cat tamer. Tom has always feared the big cats and now finds himself in giant-sized danger. The fun with this story is the unexpected twists Hubbard is able to throw in that keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.

"The Last Drop" was originally published in Astonishing Stories, November 1941, and is another story of little becoming big or big becoming small, therefore making it an ideal companion piece to the main story. Euclid O'Brien and Harry McCloud own a bar in New York and Euclid's brother sends him a bottle of some strange liquid which he says goes by the name of swello.

Mac (McCloud) takes the bottle on a dare, mixes an interesting concoction, and gulps it down. Euclid warns him that it could mean trouble. Mac says nonsense and walks out the bar with no immediate ill-effects. Soon a fly lands on the concoction and, after feasting on the mixture, begins to grow. The fly grows to the size of a dog and the patrons, along with Euclid, immediately think of Mac. They realize they must come up with an antidote and after some experimentation, create a drink to reverse the growing process.

Before they can go after Mac, the local mob boss stops in for his monthly "protection" fee. Euclid is more worried about Mac and tries to get rid of the boss. Well, the Boss drinks down the reverse formula and says that Euclid will be sorry, as he leaves. But before he leaves they notice the Boss shrinking down. Meanwhile, Mac grows to super-size and becomes a threat to New York City. With some humorous scenes and antics by all the characters involved, this story is a fun one from the Golden Age of stories.

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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