Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Book A Day Meme #6: DOC SAVAGE!


DOC SAVAGE: FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE/THE DEVIL GENGHIS
KENNETH ROBESON

Adventure House
$12.95 trade paper, available now

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: Pulp fiction's legendary Man of Bronze returns in two of his most engrossing adventures. In this debut issue, he pulps' greatest superman confronts "The Devil Genghis", a mad genius armed with incredible scientific inventions stolen from Doc Savage's "Fortress of Solitude". This volume reprints both appearances of Doc Savage's greatest enemy, the diabolical John Sunlight, and features the original paperback cover art by James Bama, along with the original interior illustrations by Paul Orban.

My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt is to discuss the book you'll put down to watch the Wimbledon final.

I can think of few books I'd put down to watch tennis. This double novel is one. I'm not a superhero kinda guy, and I don't like √úbermenschen very much in or out of fiction. But Doc Savage...the Man of Bronze...well, he's so, so, innocently perfect, so completely a creation of the desperate, dark, horrible 1930s, that it's not in me to rag on him or on Lester Dent his creator.

I wasn't sure I'd like re-reading any Doc Savage books, since I never caught The Bug and read them all in the first place. I wasn't, as it turns out, so far from wrong to be trepidatious. It was not so easy to push past the silliness of the plots. What let me find my way in to the story was the exuberant silliness of the exercise. I think, in this equally dark and nasty economic passage in American life, the rise of superhero movies and the comic books that spawn them are readily explained by the foreword of this double novel. They're rescue fantasies for the mass of disheartened, disempowered, disgusted humanity.

But good lawsy me, are they a chore to read. Very much like reading the comic books that are so popular among today's youffs. All this work and *this* is all I get? For realz?!

Yep. For realz. This is a classic case of WYSIWYG. If that's not okay with you, if you're looking for Lit'ry Meddit or even just plots that follow common sense, horseman pass on. Otherwise, immerse yourself in the long-surpassed-by-reality fantasies of another time and get the pleasures you can find from them.

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