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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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Men’s Important Announcements

10 Jul

July 10, 2018

Some families send out year end Christmas cards that list all the family member’s accomplishments over the past twelve months. Little Timmy got straight A’s in math, daughter Linda got engaged, Mom and Dad finally took that trip to France, things like that. Sometimes during the year they’ll even send out little notices, like Cousin Mikey getting his first Boy Scout badge or to announce the newest member of the family, a pet chihuahua named Waggles.

But what if men sent out notices for the things that are really important in their lives? The Editor’s and Staff of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride think one such announcement may read something like this.

It is with great pride and satisfaction that Mr. Ralph Hornberger announces that he has moved up from the center toilet stall to the stall on the right.

Mr. Hornberger had been headquartered in the center stall for the last six years, after making the move from the left-hand stall in 2012, following the departure of Mr. Archer of the accounting department. 

The rightmost stall, which features a triple toilet paper roller and newly installed insta-flush system, became available when Ed Rosen moved to a stall in the newly opened sixth-floor men’s room, which is nearer his office. 

Mr. Hornberger shares this proud moment with his wife, Belinda, daughters Stacy and Melissa, and son Thomas, whom Mr. Hornberger hopes will one day follow in his father’s footsteps and occupy the rightmost stall himself.

 

 

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