cover image All Frontiers Are Jealous

All Frontiers Are Jealous

L. Ron Hubbard, Galaxy, $9.95 paper (140p) ISBN 978-1-59212-254-7

Uncooperative geography, wild animals, and hostile natives stymie the future route of the Sudan Railway in this above-average pulp-era reprint of a novella from Hubbard (1911–1986). Complications ensue when American surveyor Dan Courtney discovers that Barbara, a beautiful white woman, has been kidnapped by the Dinka, the very same ferocious warriors whose strategic fortification is both crucial for and an impediment to the success of the railway. Hubbard shrewdly allows Barbara to be plucky without being so competent that she can save herself. The author also shows a fine grasp of the conventions of this now problematic genre: action-filled tales in which daring white men, uninhibited by concerns about African autonomy, force the trappings of civilization down the throats of reluctant Africans, who are portrayed as primitives by turns savage and cowardly, ultimately mere cat's-paws of their white superiors. (Oct.)