Friday, May 13, 2011

Read: "Night Over the Solomons" by Louis L'Amour

Read: Night Over the Solomons by Louis L'Amour, 1986, 0553063073.

I was weeding the large print collection a month or so ago and withdrew our copy of this. I looked through the copy and decided to try out the regular print version. This edition is part of the faux-leather covered L'ouis L'Amour Collection advertised on television in the '80s.

L'Amour was of the Unemployable Author Generation. Those guys who plugged the numerous and brief jobs worked during a traveling youth. I don't see that as much in author bios: Bob has been a truck driver, miner, bartender, smuggler, encyclopedia salesman, longshoreman, and manwhore. Bob lives on a ranch in Montana and has sex with many beautiful women. This is his first novel. As if the author writes from adventurous personal experiences and isn't sitting in a dank room, typing on a third-hand typewriter with a sticky "e". How many of those guys were a gussied up Harvey Pekar?

L'Amour did travel about in his youth or, as he writes, his "knockabout days". L'Amour's forward talks about how the stories evolved from some of those travels and the tales of acquaintances.

Hell, why beat around the bush? I've always thought of L'Amour as a hack. A bestselling hack but still a hack. That opinion is not backed up by much research and I know it is unfair. So it's best you read that caution because I think the stories in here are mostly crap. Entertaining in a old-time, pulpy way but still crap.

Most stories involve pilot-for-hire Turk Madden. Madden flies into adventures on his Grumman Goose amphibian plane in South America, South Pacific, and Siberia. He's a tall, broad shouldered and "rugged" man. All L'Amour's heroes are "rugged" and tough and broad shouldered. With dense, coiled muscles. Those muscles must be pheromone production factories because hot babes appear out of nowhere and fall for the manly man.

1. Many exclamation points!
2. Characters say "brother" a lot and lay down tough guy lingo.
3. A focus on aviation. This is paralleled in Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps. Heroes in airplanes rather than horses and police cars.
4. Madden flies around in a specially modified Grumman Goose carrying several machine guns. Madden takes on fighter planes in several stories. Bullshit. Look at some pictures of the Goose.
5. There is a reason these magazines and books were called pulp. There were gems in there and then there was this.
6. Where do these beautiful women come from? If they are Asian or Latin American they are taken away to a better life with white men.
7. I do love the sense of adventure and exploration of unknown wilderness. Indiana Jones has had a hell of an impact on me and this touches that nerve.

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