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Tag Archives: Tarzan

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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Imponderable #134: Faster, Squirrel! Kill! Kill!

30 Jun

June 30, 2017

This is the first of two editions of the Imponderable that The Editors and Staff call Wild Kingdom Animal Antics. (It gives us an excuse to come up with a new logo.) We’ve featured some bizarre animal stories in the past, but these are in a class by themselves. 

The source for this story is not a site I am familiar with but if this is true then we have a brand new super-villain on our hands. The odds of it being true are about nil to one, but hey, that’s what makes a good story. 

click to enlarge

In a nutshell, so to speak, a guy’s animal trainer ex-gf trained a pack of squirrels to attack him. And like you’d expect, the squirrels went for his nuts. But as I said above, we have the makings of a super-villain here. “She was partially hidden behind some bushes, but I could clearly see her and hear her. She was yelling orders at the squirrels and telling them to attack me.” 

This guy was just proof of concept. Having established that squirrels can be trained to attack, I’m sure the next step for her is to train them to rob banks. How long will it be until she has them hacking the U.S. Presidential election?

I admit up front (OK, at the end) that I don’t believe this for a single second. But who cares? 

Is this story more or less real than anything you see on CNN?
The question is Imponderable.

 

And thank you Jimbo for bringing this to my attention!

 

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