Rediscovering Dumarest of Terra is a delight beyond belief. This kick-off novel of a series of more than 20 novels, a legend in itself by a legendary author, was written in the mid-1950's, but (except for tape recording medium and lack of handheld communicators and worm holes) reads as if written last year.
Dumarest is my favorite character -- he is one searingly Hot Romantic Lead character. I had no idea how hot when I read this as a kid.
On the other hand, there are no overt sex scenes -- it's all implicit not explicit, and not even a "go to black" -- but if you have any imagination at all, this guy ROCKS.
This was my first Rish Outfield recording -- I have the second and third Dumarest of Terra novels which Rish Outfield also read, and I'm looking forward to them.
There's a spooky, paranormal/supernatural scene toward the end. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't, which is what's spooky, but the Winds of Gath blow and strange things are experienced -- judge for yourself. That's what I like best in a novel -- not pat answers but intriguing questions. Since there are more than 20 novels in this series, you'll get a better idea later on.
I also loved the Mystery element of "what is in that coffin, anyway?"
Even if you've read these books in text, the Audible recording is worth the time and money because it just brings the material to life with an excellent reader who understands the story.
I was particularly surprised by how many elements in this novel I had totally forgotten were Tubb inventions -- and having forgotten, I re-created some very similar elements in my own Sime~Gen Series novels (most of which are on Audible with more coming.) I would be delighted if Rish Outfield read a few of the Sime~Gen novels.
The very best thing about this compendium is Colin Hussey's rendition of "Alex Kilgour." Alex is the character in the Sten Series novels who loves to tell jokes (with horrible puns).during the intervals of military maneuvers where one must wait -- and wait.
In the novels, Kilgour's Scottish accent is rendered with altered spelling which makes perfect sense after you blink a couple times. Colin Hussey reads these jokes in an easy, natural and completely intelligible Scottish Accent and narrates in plain American English, making the whole thing very pleasant listening.
What I liked about this Joke Book is that it is really (REALLY) funny. But having read the Sten Series novels recently, I appreciated the insights into all the options involved in choosing to integrate jokes into an action-series. There are jokes in here that did make it into print -- and some that had to be cut -- and some that were considered, but not used.
The book as a whole is extraordinarily instructive for a writer.
This volume is not so much "a story" as excerpts and out-takes from the Sten Series novels. Each joke is framed in a way that it isn't necessary to have read the novels, so this volume works as a stand-alone.
The joke about "The Spotted Snakes." I think the Spotted Snakes joke is so popular because there's a lot of teasing about it in the novels.
If you think the Sidekick isn't a Hero, just wait until you meet Alex Kilgour.
Alex Kilgour is a fictional character -- but based on a real person, who is discussed in the narrative part of this book.
The choice of narrator is perfect. She adds depth and drama to the tale.
This is a very short story, but belongs with Allan Cole's Timura Trilogy as an exploration of alternative myth and legend. This is Arthurian Legend at its best.
I don't decipher British accents very well, but Rosalind Ashford speaks all the parts and regional British accents in a way the Americanized ear can decipher. She also has a very pleasant voice, easy to listen to.
Maybe Merlin knew this, but King Arthur didn't.
Allan Cole is a terrific writer, adroit in many genres. He understands myth and legend deeply enough to create with it, making it seem effortless.
I truly enjoyed the way Roy Wells has the perfect accent for a Philly cop. This autobiographical book is told in first person. The Cop of the title has passed away, but Wells makes him live again.
The most memorable impression was of the casual, offhand manner in which Tom Grubb accepted promotions.
Roy Wells creates the character who is telling you the story of his career as a Cop in Philadelphia by accent and cadence of speech that just captures the era.
Always reluctant to set it aside, I was always eager to pick it up again. There is always the "what will happen next" question burbling through it all.
I reviewed this on Amazon on the e-book page, too, with more extensive remarks.
I very likely will listen to Toyman again because it is a classic. It's ostensibly just a simple action/adventure space traveler story -- and an old one with some antique ideas of how tech will develop -- but it is not SIMPLE or simplistic. It's a rich, deep, commentary on today's hottest headlines, filled with exciting ideas.
Dumarest is the main character, the most vivid and fully drawn. He does acquire a "side-kick" in this episode, but that man doesn't go with him when he leaves the planet Toy.
Dumarest also finds, on most all the planets he visits, a woman of great interest and meaning to him personally -- but various things block or tear him away from that singular interest. This novel series is one of the main ingredients in launching me into a science fiction writing career -- so my Heros (over lifetimes) find and keep their S. O.
So Dumarest himself is the favorite character in all these novels.
Toyman opens with a classic BLAST of pure action -- plunging the reader directly into a bewildering scene. That was my favorite scene because it was so well crafted -- Allan Cole's STEN series (also on Audible) and most of Robert Heinlein's novels open this way. It's possible Dumarest of Terra was the series most responsible for the editorial demand that all science fiction open just like that -- in the middle of action, without explanation.
You may note how Robert Ludlum used this technique. It's easier to learn to do it from the E. C. Tubb titles than from Ludlum so I recommend Tubb as a writer to study.
Oh, the Aha! moments are strewn throughout the book, but I particularly liked Dumarest's explanation (near the end) for how he figured out what was really going on by assessing the essential character of his side-kick.
Insight into the Character of other people, the ability to discriminate between nuanced Character traits, to discern the values that another person is operating from, are traits usually portrayed only in the Detective in a novel series. Here we find Dumarest is the equal of Colombo when it comes to psych-ing out a hidden villain.
If you want to understand the present day, read this series -- and study who E. C. Tubb was. There's a lot more here than the surface marketing as genre fiction would lead you to assume. Learn to think like Dumarest and don't let appearances deceive you.
This is an easy story to follow (say while driving or doing laundry), and Rish Outfield makes it easier by bringing the characters to life. Dumarest is a tough-guy with a heart and soul -- the perfect lead for a Romance. Derai is no shrinking violet or damsel to be rescued. She has her own agenda and her own assessment of Dumarest. The clash is Epic!
The ending is the signature of this novel -- where Derai finally gets the whole situation straight in her mind and takes action that dismays Dumarest.
Dumarest himself is the most vivid character -- he is the only one who persists throughout all the books. This is the story of how Dumarest got lost out in the Galaxy, and is now so far from Earth (where he was born) that people (mostly human) don't know where Earth is. Here he gets a clue (from Derai) about who knows exactly where Earth is -- and who is responsible for the sorry condition Earth is in at that time.
The AHA! moment is at the end where Derai reveals that Dumarest must confront the Cyclan -- a galaxy-spanning organization of humans made into some sort of emotionless-computer people. Exactly "what" those people are is hidden from those they manipulate -- but in this novel the reader begins to see what the entire series is about: Dumarest vs. Cyclan over the destiny of Earth.
The Audible edition is worth the extra money because the reader is superlative. You can enjoy these novels in any order (there are I think 33 of them), but I recommend the publishing order because there is a story-arc gradually revealed. #1, 2, and 3 are in Audible - more coming I think.
The audiobook has the added dimension of a reader who really, actually, and definitely "gets it" with respect to the angle from which the screenwriter (Allan Cole) viewed the business of film and TV writing in the decades covered by this autobiography.
I have heard Allan Cole's voice -- this reader does not sound like him, but he has absorbed and replicated the intonation and wry humor.
I have also read the text version of the MISADVENTURES, and even so can't stop listening to this marvelous rendition!
This is non-fiction -- but it flows like fiction from one climax to another, a story that races on and on leaving you gasping and chuckling even as it draws, in broad technicolor, a very true picture of the nature of The Biz.
You can listen and identify with the writers until you can judge whether you, yourself, really want to live such a life. Before I decided to dive into writing professionally as a novelist, I considered screenwriting very seriously. So I read a lot of biographies, learned (in much diluted form) what is set forth in this biography, and chose text novel-writing instead. This autobiography explains my choice. I highly recommend it to anyone considering any writing career moves.
MISADVENTURES is about Hollywood decades ago - but from all I know about the current situation, it hasn't changed much except in technology. The place of "the writer" in the process of bringing you visual entertainment is still pretty much the same -- just as actors, writers are Talent On The Hoof. Get this book to find out just what that means.
Colin Hussey captures the essence of "the past" in Hollywood, the society and the culture that originates our visual entertainment. But the value of his interpretation lies in how it leads you (the potential screenwriter of the 2020's) to understand the dynamics that are creating the current ferment of Indie productions, Amazon and Netflix grabbing a piece of that action, and perhaps most oddly, he also captures the essence of the Videogame world.
How is that? Allan Cole worked on The Hulk, Werewolf, and other science fiction/fantasy TV series while at the same time writing a magnificent series of science fiction novels (STEN SERIES -- check audible for that!)
The success of these edgy, not-set-in-our-reality, TV Series introduced a generation to the possibilities which were concurrently unfolding via the technology of computers and the arcade videogame graphics. The fast action and unlimited imagination of the comic-graphic-novel brought to life on TV & film melded into the videogame and launched an industry. There's another new industry brewing. Do you want to lead that new industry?
Listen carefully to this book and you will hear and understand the future of the entire entertainment industry. Hussey brings that misty future to life with his sensitive understanding of the nature of this biographical material.
The more things change; the more they stay the same.
Note the number of hours of the entire work - which downloaded for me in two parts. The chapters are short, but the entire work is very long. It will likely fill your driving commute for weeks and you will truly look forward to those usually horrid commuting hours.
See my reviews of the STEN SERIES on Amazon. This autobiography and the Allan Cole autobiography titled LUCKY IN CYPRESS give you vast insights into the content and origin of these text-novels. The whole set is now or soon will be on audible.com.
If you want to launch a writing career, this body of material will show rather than tell you where writing success comes from and what it takes to bring it from that origin all the way to the end-user's hands. You will be able to feel whether you have what it takes.
Even if you are not headed for a writing career, this body of work explains a lot about what's going on in the world today -- which may give you a handle on what you can do about it. The best part, though, is how it can brighten your day!
This is a "doctor novel" -- like Gray's Anatomy only about the far future where humanity has mutated, making all the medical problems that arise acquire strange political implications.
This is set later in the Sime~Gen timeline. Another good place to start is House of Zeor, which is also available on audible.com. House of Zeor is more of a Western style novel with a Hero out to rescue his Girl and having to exceed all his personal limits to do it.
My favorite scenes were the love scenes.
Flames against the night sky and two people, running for their lives, surviving despite the odds.
This is just one story in the Digen Saga. His life bridges major changes in his world and society, but he never gives up.
These are stories about down-and-out musicians to team up and triumph. It's uplifting, and joyful -- not a Romance, true, but happiness pulled out of the doldrums.
This is the 10th in the Sime~Gen Universe, and introduces new characters in a new situation. It, and TO KISS OR TO KILL (which is a Romance), involve the same set of characters in the same time and place, during and right after the end of ZELEROD'S DOOM but a continent away from that action.
The characters are "read" or interpreted in ways I wouldn't have expected, so it was an instructive adventure to listen to this recording.
The best part was knowing where these events fit into and behind TO KISS OR TO KILL by Jean Lorrah. That is also available on audible.com
House of Zeor and Unto Zeor, Forever (both on audible.com now) are great places to leap into the world of Sime~Gen, while the later books build on those early events, all forming a platform for the later space adventure era.
Cinematic action with a heart and soul.
Sten, who is the Hero, a young fellow handed the dirty end of the stick in life who just won't quit.
This reader is a new discovery for me, and a name worth remembering.
High precision writing craft, breath-taking vistas of galactic intrigue, punctuated at strategic points with a warm belly-laugh.
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