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The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown: A Novel | [Paul Malmont]

The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown: A Novel

In 1943, when the United States learns that Germany is on the verge of a deadly innovation that could tip the balance of the war, the government turns to an unlikely source for help: the nation’s top science fiction writers. Installed at a covert military lab within the Philadelphia Naval Yard are the most brilliant of these young visionaries. The unruly band is led by Robert Heinlein, the dashing and complicated master of the genre. His “Kamikaze Group,” is tasked with transforming the wonders of science fiction into science fact....
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Publisher's Summary

In 1943, when the United States learns that Germany is on the verge of a deadly innovation that could tip the balance of the war, the government turns to an unlikely source for help: the nation’s top science fiction writers. Installed at a covert military lab within the Philadelphia Naval Yard are the most brilliant of these young visionaries. The unruly band is led by Robert Heinlein, the dashing and complicated master of the genre. His “Kamikaze Group,” which includes the ambitious genius Isaac Asimov, is tasked with transforming the wonders of science fiction into science fact and unlocking the secrets to invisibility, death rays, force fields, weather control, and other astounding phenomena - and finding it harder than they ever imagined. When a German spy washes ashore near the abandoned Long Island ruins of a mysterious energy facility, the military begins to fear that the Nazis are a step ahead of Heinlein’s group. Now the oddball team, joined by old friends from the Pulp Era including L. Ron Hubbard (court-martialed for attacking Mexico), must race to catch up. The answers they seek may be locked in the legendary War of Currents, which was fought decades earlier between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. As the threat of an imminent Nazi invasion of America grows more and more possible, events are set in motion that just may revolutionize the future - or destroy it - while forcing the writers to challenge the limits of talent, imagination, love, destiny, and even reality itself.Blazing at breathtaking speed from forgotten tunnels deep beneath Manhattan to top-secret battles in the North Pacific, and careening from truth to pulp and back again, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown is a sweeping, romantic epic - a page-turning rocket ship ride through the history of the future.

©2011 Paul Malmont (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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4.1 (33 )
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4.6 (24 )
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  •  
    Jim N Chicago, IL 08-31-12
    Jim N Chicago, IL 08-31-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pulp Perfection!"

    Paul Malmont's sequel to The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril is every bit as entertaining as it's predecessor. It may be even better and for listeners who may be wary of the word sequel: don't worry. This book holds up fine on it's own. In fact, it's a blast. Malmont's pacing is excellent. He keeps the book moving and pays loving homage to the pulp tales his characters wrote while portraying them convincingly and telling a great story of his own.

    Robert Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, L. Sprague DeCamp, Isaac Asimov, Walter Gibson (creator of The Shadow) and other pulp writers and historical figures populate this fun WWII-era story and true it's inspiration, it's a wild adventure.

    Christopher Lane's reading is superb so if you're looking for an entertaining listen, the Astounding, The Amazing and the Unknown delivers.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carl Oregon City, OR, United States 07-08-11
    carl Oregon City, OR, United States 07-08-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This one is a lot of fun"

    I don't know if the anonymous one star reviewer listened to the same book I did, but I thought it was great. Certainly not of earth-shattering importance, but a vastly entertaining ride throught the early days of Science Fiction and World War II. All of the early pulp greats are there: Campbell, Gernsback, Dent, Gibson, as well as the next generation of writers that made SF the genre it is today. Heinlein, Asimov, deCamp and yes, even pre-dianetics L Ron Hubbard all working to solve a mystery involving a lost secret of Nicola Tesla with possible war-winning ramifications. Writing in an old pulp serial cliffhanger style, the author threw everything into this book, even the kitchen sink. On the way he solves the Philidelphia experiment, find New York's lost Catalin Vault and even runs into the mythical Junkers 390 Amerika bomber, all in a wildly improbable story interwoven with a plethora of carefully researched facts. He even included cameo's of a teen-aged Ray Bradbury, Forrest J Ackermann and many others. The author may offend some by treating Hubbard more sympathetically than he may deserve, but still in all, it is a really fun listen and well worth the credit. In fact, as soon as I submit this review I'm going to listen to it again If you're unsure, check out it's extremely high rating on Amazon. You won't be sorry

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Seattle, WA, United States 12-29-13
    Alan Seattle, WA, United States 12-29-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Capture the wonder of Golden Age SF"

    In the middle of WWII, the navy gathered a bunch of science fiction writers together in a Philadelphia research center. This included Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and L. Sprague de Camp. Paul Malmont uses this fact as a launching point for a fictional mystery adventure where the great lights of 40s SF track down the lost secrets of Tesla's Wardencliffe experiment. It's great fun.

    I have read a great deal about Heinlein, Asimov, and actually met Sprague and Catherine de Camp back in '88. My impression is that that Paul Malmont did his research and does a fine job of recreating the character's of these historical figures. Any fans of these authors will enjoy this book. If you are a writer, you can catch the enthusiasm all these great authors had for their work. It will also satisfy fans of pulp style mystery adventure who have never heard of these authors.

    Christopher Lane, the narrator of this book, also did his research on accents--Heinlein's Missouri, Asimov's Bronks, de Camp upper class New York, and others are a delight.

    Bravo!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E Train Los Angeles, CA, United States 09-16-11
    E Train Los Angeles, CA, United States 09-16-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Good fun"

    The author clearly has a great love for the period as well as his characters, and he does the both justice. The story starts off really well but can't really keep up the intensity and I found myself a bit disappointed by the end, as the story gets silly, you can guess the ending, and the relationships never really change. It still manages to be good fun. Just go along for the ride and not so much the destination. The L. Ron Hubbard bits are especially excellent. Christopher Lane does an excellent job.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudia H Philadelphia, PA 08-03-15
    Claudia H Philadelphia, PA 08-03-15 Member Since 2014
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    "How many characters were there?"

    I found myself having to rewind this story many times to make sure that I understood what was going on. There are a lot of characters and the narration jumps between telling the story from all the different perspectives, which can be tiring and hard to follow.

    I really wanted to love this book; I've had a copy of it sitting on my bookshelf for at least a year and hadn't the time to sit and read it, so I decided to try the audiobook. I'm glad I listened to it, the narrator did a great job, but the story just didn't live up to my expectations. It did have some good moments, but it left me with mixed emotions on the whole thing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Conrad Midland, TX, United States 08-03-15
    Conrad Midland, TX, United States 08-03-15 Member Since 2012

    I'm a Draftsman, I listen to books all day while I draw. Audible is great!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Is this what could have actually happened?"
    What made the experience of listening to The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown the most enjoyable?

    The story reads like the author tried to make a fictional story out of events he must have known to actually have happened. It really isn't a very good story unless you do a lot of research on Tesla and the operation of the wardenclyffe tower, then it provides a good sequence of events that I personally believe is the actual basis for the cold war. Although, I do not think the main characters were actually the sci-fi authors but might have well been popular physicists portrayed as such.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The story omits some particulars of the real thing, like the subway station under the hotel isn't a subway but a "vault" and the capacitors are exaggerated in importance where as the more important thing would be the timing mechanism to resonate the tower with the earth.


    What about Christopher Lane’s performance did you like?

    It was good!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I tried but not really exciting like that.


    Any additional comments?

    I would like to meet the author and pick his brain about what he really knows of Tesla.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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