Doc Savage: "Land of Always Night" and "Mad Mesa"

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Press:Nostlagia Ventures Nostlagia Ventures; abridged edition edition (April 2005)
Publication Date:2007-2-15
Author Name:Kenneth Robeson,Will Murray


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  •     Nostalgia Ventures and Anthony Tollin have teamed up to do a comprehensive reprint of several Street & Smith pulp heroes. At present, they are doing double reprints of The Shadow and Doc Savage. Shortly, they will start new series reprinting The Avenger and The Whisperer. All have complete pulp texts (no edits or removals, like past reprints), tho reset so its easier to read, the original illustrations, reprinted covers (one is used as the cover of the book, but both original pulp covers are shown on the back), and several additional articles and additions.Hopefully, they can succeed to reprinting all these characters in these new editions, they are all excellent.While all the Doc Savage novels were reprinted by Bantam, for those (like me) who have these reprints, the reason for getting these new volumes is the chance to read the original stories (WITHOUT the editing that occured in the Bantams, including in a few rare cases a LOT of text), see the original illustrations and covers, and the great additional articles.This volume (#4 in their series), reprinting "Land of Always-Night" (March 35) and "Mad Mesa" (Jan 39). We get the cover of "Land of Always-Night" as the cover of this volume, and both original pulp covers are on the back."Land of Always-Night" had Doc and friends deal with an underground civilizations. This novel was actually written by Ryerson Johnson, who ghostwrote 2 Doc novels for Dent, and is one of the better of the 2. Its considered on of the most popular Doc novels."Mad Mesa" had Doc awakening in a prison in another man's body. He must then figure out what's going on.Extras in this volume include:An Intermission article by pulp historian Will Murray, on the writing of Land of Always-Night, and Ryerson Johnson's work on Doc.A Postscript by Murray, on the writing of Mad Mesa.Brief bios of Dent and Johnson.
  •     Okay, the first thing I want to know is why a picture of an old time radio collection of detective shows is used to advertise this product? This is not an audio product. This is a book, one of Nostalgia Ventures series reprinting the legendary original Doc Savage novels of the 1930's.A warning is in order for the first story in this collection, "The Land of Always-Night". This novel is not written by Dent, but by a close friend of his named Ryerson Johnson that Dent hired to ghostwrite some of the novels of the series. That said, "Land of Always-Night", involving Doc and his gang discovering a subterranean civilization whose existence spells trouble for the civilized surface world) is a pretty good one (Johnson's other Doc Savage novel, "The Fantastic Island", is absolutely awful). "Land" is also popular among Doc fans, although it does have its detractors (distinguished science fiction author and leading Doc scholar Philip Jose Farmer, in his "biography" of Savage, flatly declared "Land" to be non-canonical, although he curiously did accept the canonicity of an even more outlandish tale of an underground world, Laurence Donovan's "Murder Melody")."Mad Mesa", the second novel in this collection, IS by Dent, and it is one of the finer examples of his work. The mystery which opens the novel is engaging (a penniless drifter suddenly seems to have inexplicably exchanged minds with an escaped convict), but the rationle behind it is ingenious. Dent later recycled the central gimmick of this novel for the farl less satisfying "According to Plan of a One-Eyed Mystic" several years later. The ultimate plan of the villians of this novel seems to owe a heavy debt to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost Special". As with all the other issues in this series, the original pulp format with illustrations has been faithfully reproduced.
  •     I remember reading Doc Savage when I was in Elementary School.This book brought those memories back. A return to times past.

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