Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pulp Fiction's "The Falcon Killer"

Originally published in 1939 this story takes place in the Orient where "The Falcon Killer, (Tzun Kai)," is really Bill Gaylord, China's war ace fighter pilot.

Born to American parents but being raised in Peking, Gaylord finds himself in a foster home when both his parents lose their life during a violent Boxer uprising. He suffers a second major blow when his foster family is slaughtered during wartime. Such tragedy at a tender age was enough to harden his soul and give him nerves of steel. This gives him the edge he needs to take on the enemy Japanese war planes, of which he intends to blast as many as he can out of the skies.

He soon finds himself embroiled in events that send him in search of a Japanese spy whose treachery could spell disaster, a disaster so huge that if he does not find and defeat this man, an entire ancient Chinese kingdom could be lost to the land of the rising sun.

This is one of the many pulp fiction stories L. Ron Hubbard wrote from the late 1920s to the 1950s. What I love about this book and many of the other stories he has written, is that he brings a sense of realism to his characters, story line, and exotic locals that depict the era of that time. His extensive travels around the globe have served him well as a writer. Here is a quote from him that I think is so true:

"In writing an adventure story a writer has to know that he is adventuring for a lot of people who cannot. The writer has to take them here and there about the globe and show them excitement and love and realism. As long as that writer is living the part of an adventurer when he is hammering the keys, he is succeeding with his story. Adventuring is a state of mind. If you adventure through life, you have a good chance to be a success on paper. Adventure doesn't mean globe-trotting, exactly, and it doesn't mean great deeds. Adventuring is like art. You have to live it to make it real."

That, I think, sums it up very well. In this story, "The Falcon Killer," the aerial battles are spectacular and the intrigue and narrow escapes keep you guessing. Gaylord has another ace up his sleeve, a tattoo of a half dragon, which has a meaning only the Chinese know. It is the twist you did not see coming!

Whether you are a pulp fiction fan or just beginning your adventure with these books, I think you will not be disappointed. These stories written seventy, eighty to ninety years ago give you a unique perspective of the flavor of that time. Many great writers came from the pulp fiction era such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Raymond Chandler, Lester Dent, H.P. Love craft and L. Ron Hubbard to name a few.

Enjoy your adventures reading through the wonderful stories from the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction!

Fred Duckworth is working to reintroduce Stories From the Golden Age, a line of 80 books and multi-cast, unabridged audio books, featuring 153 stories written by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1930s and 1940s, using his own and any of the 15 pen names he used. To view the trailer of "Spy Killer" click

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