Thursday, August 11, 2016


The August 11, 1934 Argosy is part of the online pulp trove. Cover story author Gordon MacCreagh specialized in African stories and went on a real safari there for Adventure in 1927. His Kingi Bwana series, also from Adventure, has been brought back into print by Altus Press. "Zimwi Crater" comes with all the racial baggage you'd expect from a pulp story set in Africa, particularly on the touchy subject of maintaining white "prestige," but it's still raw, thrilling pulp fiction. It's noteworthy as an early echo of the pop-culture impact of King Kong, which had been released the year before. The menace of the story is described as "an immense ape. Like that moving picture, Kong. Not that enormous, of course; but --" In practice, however, the "ogre" of the crater reminds me more of the hellacious ape-thing from the movie Tarzan, The Ape Man -- a monster I can't help but admire for the way he beats the stuffing out of Cheetah -- or was it proto-Cheetah? I lose track. Anyway, guilty or not, "Zimwi Crater" is a pulp pleasure. It was more entertaining than "The Honest Forger," a silly Gillian Hazeltine "complete novel" (35 pages) from George F. Worts. To be fair to Worts, I think he meant this one to be silly, but with the Hazeltine stories it's sometimes hard to tell. You also get one of H. H. Matteson's Aleutian island tales and a hillbilly crime story by Hapsburg Liebe, as well as serial chapters from Ray Cummings (sci-fi), Hulbert Footner (Madame Story) and Charles Alden Seltzer (western). Note that Seltzer is a big enough name that he only needs one name on the cover. This isn't an issue I would have bought but "Zimwi Crater" definitely makes it worth checking out.

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