By: L. Ron Hubbard
Publisher: Galaxy Press
Pub. Date: June 28, 2010
Running Time: Approx. 2 hours 30 minutes
Many famous writers got their start writing countless short stories that appeared in Pulp Magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. These magazines were made from pulpwood paper, which were the complete opposite of the higher-class magazines of the time period. Pulp magazines didn't need fancy designs as all they needed were amazing stories written by great authors. Times were tough back then with the depression, and readers were looking for cheap adventures to take their mind off their problems.
Galaxy Press was nice enough to send me five audiobooks last month from their Stories from the Golden Age collection. A Matter of Matter is my last audio from these five, containing four science fiction shorts - A Matter of Matter, The Conroy Diary, The Planet Makers and The Obsolete Weapon. The voice actors in these stories are Josh R. Thompson, Corey Burton, R.F. Daley, Jim Meskimen (He also was the director.), Tait Ruppert, and Michael Yurchak.
A Matter of Matter first appeared in the August 1949 issue of the Astounding Science Fiction Magazine. In this tale, Chuck Lambert is a dreamer as he wants to own his very own planet. A planet can be bought through the Interior Department of the Outer Galactic Control for a high price. For eleven years, Chuck works hard and saves his money to buy a planet, but it is not enough. All hope is lost until he meets Madman Murphy, a Planetary Realtor who sells him a planet for a cheap price. Chuck uses the rest of his money to buy a rundown spaceship and supplies. When he lands on Planet 19453X, he is surprised at how beautiful the planet is as there are bushy trees and water to drink, but there is one problem - the planet's gravity is messed up. Without his spacesuit boots on, he would be floating in space. And there is also a problem with the air; he cannot use it without chocking. The water looks great, but he cannot stand the taste. Chuck believes he has been conned out of his money, but there may be some hidden treasures on the planet.
The Conroy Diary first appeared in the May 1949 issue of the Astounding Science Fiction Magazine, and features an author named Mallory who wrote the adventure book titled The Conroy Diary. Everyone who read the book laughs at him as the stories in the book are so outrages. The book does not sell well on Earth, but Mallory has a significant amount of income coming in. The government starts to investigate him for unpaid taxes, resulting in the world finding out how he became rich from the unpopular book.
The Planet Makers first appeared in the October 1949 issue of the Thrilling Wonder Stories, in which a large company is having a planetoid terraformed and if they finish before the deadline there will be a huge bonus for everyone. One would think that every employee would be giving their best effort, but not for the head engineer, Sleepy McGee, who is doesn't care about the schedule, all he cares about is playing a poker game over a radio link with another engineer.
The Obsolete Weapon first appeared in the May 1948 issue of the Astounding Science Fiction Magazine, where a young American solider, from Texas, is thrown into a WWII prison in Italy. There is one cellmate with him and he begins to tell the man how he happened to get thrown behind bars. When he arrived in Italy, he was all excited about taking on the Germans, but he mysteriously finds himself in the middle of a Roman Colosseum belonging to Nero Caesar. I guess you can see his sudden appearance wasn't appreciated by Nero. Gladiators, slaves, lions and an elephant are thrown into the ring, but the Romans are in for a surprise as the Texan has brought along his WWII guns.
Even though these tales are consider science fiction, there are some clever humor thrown in, especially in The Obsolete Weapon as the Texan solider knows how to tell a tale. A Matter of Matter is the best in this audiobook, featuring another funny science fiction tale with great sound effects. The Conroy Diary started out slow, but once the poor author was being investigated for tax fraud, it became another great story. The Planet Makers was extremely boring in a few spots, but it was interesting that Sleepy was addicted to playing poker via a radio link way before the invention of the internet.
With great writing and a talented voice cast, these four tales are entertaining, and I recommend them to other science fiction readers, or should I say listeners.