cover image The Falcon Killer

The Falcon Killer

L. Ron Hubbard. Galaxy, $9.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-59212-313-1

At the start of this “golden age” pulp novella, Hubbard (Dead Men Kill) describes the effect of a Japanese attack on the fictional Chinese port city of Nencheng: “First there had been a city; then there had been bright and hungry flame; now there was nothing but a corpse-gutted ruin where men moved with dazed determination to refuse the shambles all about them.” Unfortunately, the rest of this dated action yarn doesn’t live up to the power of the opening. Bill Gaylord, a typical two-fisted and resourceful Hubbard hero who’s known as the Falcon Killer for his success in shooting down Japanese aircraft, makes a dramatic entrance by parachuting to earth near Nencheng after his plane is hit. Gaylord takes refuge with the household of American Henry Thompson, complete with impending love interest in the form of Thompson’s daughter, Marion. Gaylord’s efforts to evade capture aren’t particularly exciting, and even newcomers to the genre will anticipate every major plot development. (Oct.)