Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage #36


This adventure starts with another great Doc Savage story opener. A fully clothed man comes ashore on Long Island Sound and refuses help. He manages to grab a train into the city and escapes his would be rescuers. Shortly thereafter, a boatload of pursuers arrives at the same beach.

After a number of chases and an unpleasant journey on an ocean liner, Doc and his men Monk, Ham, and Renny arrive at the destination just after two factions of sea borne skallywags. There is much fighting and underwater adventure in this novel. I found the premise far more compelling than the telling and the rich treasures more interesting and clever than usual. The femme fatale, Diamond Eve is also charming and interesting.

What is beginning to bother me about some of the stories (like this one) is that just when we finally get to some wondrous place, in this case a lost city called Taz, the story is almost over. There is little time to explore, no time to enjoy the incredible place the writers have (at least partially) imagined. There is often far too much getting there and not enough there. I will have to remember this in my own stories.

The ideas within this story are fantastic and I wish we could have spent far more time in these fantastic undersea ruins. Further research shows that 30 issues later, Doc returns to the underwater lost city of Taz...

Here are the paintings that Walter Baumhofer and James Bama did for their covers of the February 1936 issue of Doc Savage Magazine. It is rare that I can find the paintings for both publications of the novels.
For this review I read my copy of the Bantam paperback from August 1968 that I bought used for $2 in the late 1970s...

I'll give Mystery Under The Sea a 7.5 out of 10. The story had much promise and some good ideas, but just didn't get there... Research for this post was aided by Chris Kalb's great site and by a new to me post on SCRIBD that is great.