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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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My Untitled Novel Project, Part One (Still Unfinished)

27 Feb

February 27, 2018

Russia tried to influence the Presidential election? Give me a break. They have bigger ambitions than that, and back in 2015 I spelled it out in the opening chapter of my novel.

August 9, 2015

The Time: Now
The Place: The Kremlin

Vladimir Putin has assembled all of his most trusted Communist Party leaders. Standing at the head of a long conference table, Putin dims the lights as a video screen blinks to life behind him. On it is a map of Europe. He leans forward.

“Thank you all for coming here on such short notice.”

The others smile small, tight smiles. Some nod, others simply look straight ahead. They were all summoned out of their beds mere minutes ago.

“As you know, it is our Russian destiny to put our stamp on the world.” As he speaks, the Russian hammer and sickle appears on the view screen above every European capital. “What most of you don’t know is that our destiny is now. It begins tonight.”

The assembled men shift slightly in their seats, glancing at each other out of the corners of their eyes, careful to maintain the smiles on their faces. None want to appear disloyal.

Putin pauses. He looks at each of the men, mentally cataloging which he can trust and which will “disappear” this night. After a deliberately long silence, he gestures to the screen.

“And this is how our dominion begins.”

The picture on the screen changes, dissolving into recent news footage. Now the smiles of the men fade. They openly stare at each other. They have seen the news footage before. It is from a recent Japanese tragedy, and all of them are afraid of what it may mean. Of what Putin may mean.

“This, comrades, this is how we will rule the world!” Putin presses a button, and the video freezes, with one single, terrifying image lighting the darkened room. It is reflected in the glasses of the other men, on their shiny medals, and in their fear-struck eyes.

It is Godzilla.

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Hey, what do you think? Is this a winner or what? Didn’t that have you on the edge of your seat? I don’t want to give too much away, but crazy ol’ Putin has found a way to control Godzilla, and he going to use him to destroy the world. Will he succeed? Can he be stopped? And what the heck do Gummy Bears have to do with it? You’ll just have to wait and find out!

(It might be a long wait. That’s all I wrote.)

putnin-rifle

He’s a bad man!

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