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Fantastic Adventures, December 1941





"FANTASTIC ADVENTURES", December 1941

----------------------------------------------

David V. Reed
"Death Plays a Game"

© Fantastic Adventures, Dec 1941

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Don Wilcox
"Mr. Eee Conducts a Tour"

© Fantastic Adventures, Dec 1941

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Robert Moore Williams
"The Reformation of Joseph Reed"

© Fantastic Adventures, Dec 1941
--/ fourth place f story
--/ humour award
--/ rare find

One of the better examples of pulp fantasy humour, very light-hearted and oh-so-enjoyable tale about 1940s reporter and his sweetheart arriving at unusual marital agreement with help of two very charming miniature demons. These demons are rather like gremlins - but less mischievous and more cuddly, so they would rather fall into category of Borrowers, or some such (almost harmless) category. What's so enjoyable about this tale, is how typical and hilarious it is, a great romp (including usual cast of characters: an evil boss, mafiosi, smart blonde, etc) that would feel at home in "Unknown" pulp, or even if written by Henry Kuttner. So far the best Robert Moore Williams story I've read.

----------------------------------------------

David Wright O'Brien
"The Beauty and the Beasties"

© Fantastic Adventures, Dec 1941
--/ cool f story
--/ humour award
--/ rare find

Another great find of pulp-styled humor. So far, one of the best stories about humans transformed into pet animals. Funny interaction between a dog, a cat and a mouse, who are actually people in desperate need to return to their proper selves. Worthy of being turned into a "Babe"-like movie, or a neat "Toy Story"-like animation.

----------------------------------------------

William P. McGivern
"Rewbarb's Remarkable Radio"

© Fantastic Adventures, Dec 1941
--/ cool f story
--/ humour award
--/ rare find

In the 1940s the radio, not movies was the focus of everyday entertainment, and a lot of pulp humour rotated around that - radio equipment and radio personalities became a subject of choice for many urban fantasy stories. This cute tale follows the journey of self-discovery and self-assertion of one very meek and shy man - with the help of an obnoxious radio set, which suddenly finds its voice... literally. The radio box speaks back, and not only its own mind, but the opinions of all popular radio hosts, amplified - in the meantime spoiling (or improving) our hero's miserable marriage. Cool story, smoothly told.

----------------------------------------------

William P. McGivern
(as by P. F. Costello)
"People of the Pyramids"

© Fantastic Adventures, Dec 1941
--/ cool f novella
--/ adventure award
--/ style award
--/ rare find

I long suspected that Indiana Jones character was basically lifted from the adventure pulps of the 1930s, but this is the first time I've read a story where the lead guy looks like Indiana Jones, speaks like Jones, and has fantastic adventures in exotic desert just like in the Lucas-Spielberg movies. Even the Indy's hat is prominently featured here. Total sense of deja vu - only of course, this novella was written in 1941, supposedly by William McGivern. But is he the real author? P. F. Costello was a "one pen name fits all" in Ziff-Davis pulps, and I doubt that McGivern had written it. The writing is smooth, the adventure is tightly plotted - more masterful hand seems to be at play here. So here's what transpires in this "lost prequel" to the Indiana Jones series:

Harrison Ford goes on a treasure hunt in the desert, saving a damsel in distress, captured by an evil archaeologist. There are fights in the crowded market, kidnappings, super-technology of the lost race, chases and double-crossings... enough plot and action to fill a movie script, complete with CG special effects in the end. Not bad for a totally forgotten pulp "lost world" fantasy.

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