cover image The Dive Bomber

The Dive Bomber

L. Ron Hubbard. Galaxy, $9.95 trade paper (129p) ISBN 978-1-59212-311-7

First published in the pulp magazine Five-Novels Monthly in 1937, this intriguing tale of aerial derring-do offers up a big patriotic chest thump for American aviators on the eve of WWII. Lucky Martin, the “Number One test pilot in the United States,” is trying to sell the military a fleet of customized dive bombers, but his test planes keep crashing suspiciously. When smarmy businessman Joe Bullard offers to pay Lucky to convert his fleet to “sporting planes,” Lucky recognizes a dodge to circumvent the U.S. government’s neutrality laws and sell the planes abroad, where they could be used as weapons against American ships. Facing blackmail by Bullard—who has also kidnapped Lucky’s gal Dixie—Lucky has to find some way to prove the mettle of his innovative planes, in order to keep them in America. Hubbard (Mouthpiece) grounds his cliffhanger adventure firmly in aeronautical details that make its thrilling events seem plausible. (Mar.)