Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Review - If I Were You

If I Were You
Written by: L. Ron Hubbard
Published by: Galaxy Press  
Pub Date: September 8, 2008
ISBN: 978-1592122905
Running Time: Approx. 2 hours

    Some of the best writing came out of the 1930s and 1940s, or known as the golden age, in which writers would publish their works in Pulp magazines, which was the opposite of the glossy magazines at the time. A few of these great authors were H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Buroughs, Robert E. Howard, Max Brand, Elmore Lenard, L. Ron Hubbard, and Ray Bradbury. The economy was tough back then, well it still is today, and these provided a much-needed income for the writers.

Recently I had a chance to work with Galaxy Press who publishes a line of audiobooks from the stories by L. Ron Hubbard called Stories from the Golden Age. Galaxy Press sent me a few audiobooks in exchange for an honest review.

If I Were You originally appeared in the February 1940, issue of Five-Novels Monthly and is about 90-minutes, in which the main character is a midget named Little Tom Little or otherwise known as The King of the Midgets. Tom hates being a little person and a sideshow freak. He has a wonderful attitude toward everyone else, except for the ringmaster Herman Schmidt, who is a terrible human being and treats Tom like dirt.

On one odd night, the Professor summons Tom to his quarters. The strange Professor is on his deathbed and he wants to give Tom his mysterious collection of ancient magical books. Shocked to receive the gift, Tom accidentally walks into Herman’s chambers. Herman is outraged and throws Tom into the mud. Tom is furious and demands revenge!

Tom finds his revenge inside one of the books. No one will ever look down at him again. He uses his new found magic and switches bodies with Herman. Now he can be the ringmaster, but things are not as perfect as he thought they would be. The circus people that once smiled at him now frown at his sight. He quickly finds out that Herman was having affair with an acrobat, even though he was engaged to the circus owner.

A deadly situation occurs in which Tom must jump from body to body, until he is in the body of the tiger trainer with forty bloody thirsty tigers after him. Will Tom survive?

Tom Little is voiced by Nancy Cartwright, aka Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz and Todd Flanders, giving the character depth. I was a little skeptical about the tale at first, but once Tom had the books, my ears were practically glued to the headphones as I was hoping for the best for Tom.

There is one other story in the audiobook, and a short one at that, called The Last Drop, which originally appeared in the November 1941 issue of Astonishing Stories and co-authored with L. Sprague de Camp. Euclid O’Brien receives a strange potion from his brother. His friend Harry McCloud mixes the potion in a drink and takes a few sips. Nothing happens. Then out of nowhere, a fly lands on the drink and grows to the size of a dog! The two mix the potion into other drinks and find an antidote that reverses the fly’s size.

A situation occurs resulting in the two getting involved with a mob boss, and giving him a certain drink.
The Last Drop fits in with the other story as it involves a person, well really there are two, who become small and then really big. It is a mob story with a fantasy twist in the style of the Twilight Zone.

If I Were You flies by quickly even though it is a long tale, covering the first CD and half of the second. Nancy Cartwright lead the talented voice cast of Lynsey Bartilson, Corey Burton, Bob Caso, R.F. Daely, Jennifer Darling, John Mariano, Jim Meskimen, Phil Proctor and Tait Ruppert.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to every minute and I recommend it to other fantasy fans.

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