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When Shadows Fall
L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast performance, unabridged
Galaxy Press, 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.

Publisher's website
SF Site Review: Danger in the Dark
SF Site Review: To the Stars
BOOK REVIEW: To the Stars: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

When Shadows Fall Once again I'm sitting back with an audiobook to have some fun. This time it's as if I'm jumping in a time machine and going back about 50 or so years, and picking up some science fiction pulp stories. That's right, it's another L. Ron Hubbard audiobook collection of selected short stories. Hubbard wrote many short stories during the 30s through the 50s and they range, in genre, from westerns to science fiction, fantasy and piracy. Every one of his early stories has been packaged in both book and audiobook format. They consist of two or three stories within the same genre to fill up the audiobook with two hours of listening pleasure.

Galaxy Audio has produced the audiobooks with multi-cast performances, sound effects and incidental music that not only assists in telling the story, but also give the feel of the times the stories were written. The characterizations from the performers' voices create an ambiance that boosts you into a jet pack and thrusts you into the heyday of sci-fi storytelling.

This collection includes the title story as well as "Tough Old Man" and "Battling Bolto." Each one has the L. Ron Hubbard twist at the end that leaves the listener smiling or saying, "hmmm...." or both. Either way, they are very much fun to hear.

"When Shadows Fall" tells the story of Earth after most of its population has left to colonize the universe, leaving the planet depleted of its natural resources. The few inhabitants have very little food, fuel, air or water. The Earth president and council decide to make a last ditch effort and pool all remaining resources to send out among the stars a plea for help. They only come up with enough for three expeditions, each led by a completely different personality. One is a military leader, another is a financial leader and the third an artisan/storyteller. Will any of these expeditions be able to gather help to save Earth?

"Tough Old Man" is an adventurous and clever story about a man named Moffat who is sent for final training under the Senior Constable of the Frontier Patrol, old Keno. All the others sent to train under old Keno have returned to turn in their badges because they couldn't keep up with the old man. Moffat is determined. He powers through the severities of the planet's climates of extreme cold, extreme heat and rocky landscape. But what it takes to be Senior Constable is a surprise to Moffat.

"Battling Bolto" is a hilarious space-age snake-oil salesman story. A young hick is hired as a smith to create robot skins for a man selling robots to backwoods planets. He soon dons one of the robot skins and sets out to deceive his gullible audience by acting as a fighting robot. This story has one of the best twists I've ever read in a story and is a must listen. So go on... pick up the collection When Shadows Fall and enjoy having some fun with an audiobook.

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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