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My Review of The Whispering Gorilla, by Wilcox and Reed

8 Dec

December 8, 2018

The Whispering Gorilla by Don Wilcox & Return of the Whispering Gorilla by David Reed.

Wow, where to begin?

First, if you have not checked them out, look at the other titles published by Armchair Fiction. They publish a huge number of stories from the pulp era.

As for this book, it may be the best story of a gorilla with the transplanted brain of a man fighting Nazis that I have ever read. On the other hand it is also the worst. (I’ve only read one, of course.)

And that really does sum up this book. The first story is short, about 79 pages, but it is a fast read and deceptive. It reaches 79 pages only because it is printed in a larger font than the longer second story. However, it is the better of the two. It is written in a simple and straightforward style but it is surprisingly realistic. Although the Whispering Gorilla talks like a man and dresses and acts like a man, he is still in the body of a gorilla. A sillier story (and yes, I know how silly this already sounds) would have him simply accepted as a talking gorilla. But that never happens in this book. Everyone suspects he is a very eccentric man in a gorilla suit to hide his identity. Not for a second does anyone think he is a real gorilla. As for the plot, the gorilla continues his previous human life as a crusading journalist (whom everyone thinks is a man in a gorilla suit, for some reason) and brings down a ring of war profiteers, before apparently dying at the hands of the police. Ridiculous as it sounds, it is a fun tale.

The second, longer story, is written by another, arguably better, author. I say “arguably” because while the writing is more complex and sophisticated than in the first, the plot is ridiculously laughable. The Whispering Gorilla did not die at the end of the first book but was secretly transported back to Africa to recover at the home of the scientist who created him. The problem is that he is slowly losing his humanity, while also becoming leader of all the jungle apes. Well, if it stopped there, this could be a somewhat interesting variation on Tarzan. Problem is the author didn’t stop there. The Whispering Gorilla is not the main character in this story. Neither is the scientist, who had a large part in the first book. Here, the scientist is bed-ridden and does little at all. The main plot is about a group of Nazis who plan to train gorillas to command submarines to sink allied destroyers. In the jungle!

I’ll let that sink in. A group of Nazis who plan to train the gorillas to command submarines to sink allied destroyers.

To that end, they build silly gorilla-sized ships and submarines on wheels and ride them around the jungle like oversized tricycles to teach the gorillas maneuvers that will destroy the enemy ships. This takes only a couple of days, believe it or not,  and the head Nazi is ready to put his plan into action. To say it doesn’t work is really not necessary, is it? The rest of the plot is about resistance fighters and a beautiful girl, with whom the gorilla -of course- falls in love.

This was certainly one of the stranger books I’ve read. I really enjoyed the first story. It was a great example of 40’s pulp fiction. The second story had delusions of grandeur and never lived up to the fun of the first. I’m glad I read it and I’ll probably reread the first story again, but not the second.


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Dudes In Space!

12 Sep

September 12, 2018

It’s totally time to start a new space adventure!

 


The Time: The future. Way, way in the future, like when you get an estimate on how long it’ll take them to paint your house and it goes way past the estimate and they are charging you for like rags and stuff. What’s up with that? So yeah, that far in the future.

The Place: Space. Somewhere like in a nebula or something. Or a black hole. Whichever is cooler, take your pick. Maybe Underwater? Nah, space.

Super Space Guy Hunk Blockcheese strides across the bridge of his spaceship. It’s really awesome with lots of expensive bling. He stops near the navigator, Callie Fornia, and flexes. He’s like got a crush on her and stuff but he’s too much of a wuss to tell her, so after a couple of minutes he goes to the gym to oil his pecs.

Meanwhile, somewhere else far away, maybe on a planet or a moon or something, there’s this evil guy all covered with tats. He has like a real mad on for Hunk Blockcheese because of something that happened in high school. It was totally his mom’s fault for always buying him those cheap department store pants. He doesn’t want to talk about it.

Blockcheese comes back from the gym, all pumped up. He sits in his chair and wants to know like where they are, you know, with coordinates and things like that. He’s trying to sound all professional and stuff because he thinks Callie Fornia likes those kinda guys.

This spaceship also has robots too, and they can fly.


 

Like wow! This is going to be … good?

 

 

 

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