“The Great Secret”
by L. Ron Hubbard
Produced by Galaxy Audio
approx 2 hours
During the mid-twentieth century L. Ron Hubbard earned his living by writing short stories that were published by many of the pulp-fiction magazines of the time. He wrote in many different genres; westerns, air adventure, sea adventures, science-fiction and more. Recently Galaxy Press has reprinted these stories in their own pulps, each one featuring one or more stories from a given genre. Galaxy Audio has taken these pulps and turned them into audio-pulps by turning them into multi-cast performance audio books.
The production of these audio books is simply superb. They each feature excellent vocal talents and acting, subtle and perfect sound effects and original music. These create a theatre of the mind performance much like the old radio programs from the same time as these pulp magazines.
I kept putting off listening to this audio book because it would be the last of the 6 sci-fi releases from Galaxy Audio. I have listened to several books from the other genres but sci-fi is my absolute favorite. But recently I took a 2 hour road trip and had a car load of differing audio tastes. So I decided this would fit in perfect. The reason this fit in was two-fold, first the sci-fi stories all feature great adventures that are fun to follow and second that this particular audio-book featured four different stories. I don’t know about the rest of my passengers but this road trip was made shorter thanks to some exciting stories.
# The Great Secret, published in “Science Fiction Stories,” April 1943, and tells the story of Fanner Marston, a man out to discover the secret which will make him the ruler of the universe. Marston’s ship crash lands near Parva, a city of the original race of the Universe. Being the only survivor that means the secret will be his and his alone. Pushed ahead by his mantra, “Women, Liquor, Power” and under the searing rays of the world’s double sun, Fanner Marston, wracked with thirst and exhaustion, pushes on toward his goal. Soon his mantra changes to “Water.” When he finally finds the city and the great secret. What he finds though isn’t what he expects.
# Space Can, published in “Astounding Science Fiction,” July 1942 is an exciting space battle story. This story tells of an Earth destroyer up against the larger Saturnian ships. The destroyer is riddled with holes, on fire, unable to maneuver, and is an obvious hopeless wreck in the midst of a space battle, there’s only one way out: take over the heavier enemy ship. This space adventure not only shows off Hubbard’s talent at keeping a story exciting but also shows how much Hubbard pulled from his stint in the Navy by using lots of Navy jargon and ideals to describe the battles.
# The Beast, published in “Astounding Science Fiction,” October 1942 is basically a story of a hunter in space. In the jungles of Venus, the mysterious Beast has to be killed-not only because it has murdered, but because it has stolen something Ginger Cranston can’t live without-an intangible, absolutely necessary thing: Cranston’s courage.
# The Slaver, published in “Astounding Science Fiction,” June 1942, Is yet another future look into a time when Earth becomes a slave colony for aliens. Captured by space slave traders, befriended by a slave girl, our hero Kree Lorin outwits his captors, frees the girl, and regains his spaceship.