Read The Devil—With Wings Online
Authors: L. Ron Hubbard
Tags: #fiction, #adventure
The Case of the Friendly Corpse
The Indigestible Triton
Slaves of Sleep & The Masters of Sleep
Typewriter in the Sky
The Ultimate Adventure
The Conquest of Space
The End Is Not Yet
The Kilkenny Cats
The Mission Earth Dekalogy*
Ole Doc Methuselah
To the Stars
The Hell Job series
Guns of Mark Jardine
Hot Lead Payoff
A full list of L. Ron Hubbard's
novellas and short stories is provided at the back.
*Dekalogy: a group of ten volumes
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ISBN 978-1-59212-554-8 ePub version
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ISBN 978-1-59212-310-0 audiobook version
Library of Congress Control Number: 2007927529
a golden age.
The 1930s and 1940s were a vibrant, seminal time for a gigantic audience of eager readers, probably the largest per capita audience of readers in American history. The magazine racks were chock-full of publications with ragged trims, garish cover art, cheap brown pulp paper, low cover pricesâand the most excitement you could hold in your hands.
“Pulp” magazines, named for their rough-cut, pulpwood paper, were a vehicle for more amazing tales than
could have told in a million and one nights. Set apart from higher-class “slick” magazines, printed on fancy glossy paper with quality artwork and superior production values, the pulps were for the “rest of us,” adventure story after adventure story for people who liked to
Pulp fiction authors were no-holds-barred entertainersâreal storytellers. They were more interested in a thrilling plot twist, a horrific villain or a white-knuckle adventure than they were in lavish prose or convoluted metaphors.
The sheer volume of tales released during this wondrous golden age remains unmatched in any other period of literary historyâhundreds of thousands of published stories in over nine hundred different magazines. Some titles lasted only an issue or two; many magazines succumbed to paper shortages during World War II, while others endured for decades yet. Pulp fiction remains as a treasure trove of stories you can read, stories you can love, stories you can remember. The stories were driven by plot and character, with grand heroes, terrible villains, beautiful damsels (often in distress), diabolical plots, amazing places, breathless romances. The readers wanted to be taken beyond the mundane, to live adventures far removed from their ordinary livesâand the pulps rarely failed to deliver.
In that regard, pulp fiction stands in the tradition of all memorable literature. For as history has shown, good stories are much more than fancy prose. William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumasâmany of the greatest literary figures wrote their fiction for the readers, not simply literary colleagues and academic admirers. And writers for pulp magazines were no exception. These publications reached an audience that dwarfed the circulations of today's short story magazines. Issues of the pulps were scooped up and read by over thirty million avid readers each month.
Because pulp fiction writers were often paid no more than a cent a word, they had to become prolific or starve. They also had to write aggressively. As Richard Kyle, publisher and editor of
the first and most long-lived of the pulps, so pointedly explained: “The pulp magazine writers, the best of them, worked for markets that did not write for critics or attempt to satisfy timid advertisers. Not having to answer to anyone other than their readers, they wrote about human beings on the edges of the unknown, in those new lands the future would explore. They wrote for what we would become, not for what we had already been.”
Some of the more lasting names that graced the pulps include H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Max Brand, Louis L'Amour, Elmore Leonard, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner, John D. MacDonald, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinleinâand, of course, L. Ron Hubbard.
In a word, he was among the most prolific and popular writers of the era. He was also the most enduringâhence this seriesâand certainly among the most legendary. It all began only months after he first tried his hand at fiction, with L. Ron Hubbard tales appearing in
Detective Fiction Weekly,
He could write on any subject, in any genre, from jungle explorers to deep-sea divers, from
and gangsters, cowboys and flying aces to mountain climbers, hard-boiled detectives and spies. But he really began to shine when he turned his talent to science fiction and fantasy of which he authored nearly fifty novels or novelettes to forever change the shape of those genres.
Following in the tradition of such famed authors as Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Jack London and Ernest Hemingway, Ron Hubbard actually lived adventures that his own characters would have admiredâas an ethnologist among primitive tribes, as prospector and engineer in hostile climes, as a captain of vessels on four oceans. He even wrote a series of articles for
called “Hell Job,” in which he lived and told of the most dangerous professions a man could put his hand to.
Finally, and just for good measure, he was also an accomplished photographer, artist, filmmaker, musician and educator. But he was first and foremost a
and that's the L. Ron Hubbard we come to know through the pages of this volume.
This library of Stories from the Golden Age presents the best of L. Ron Hubbard's fiction from the heyday of storytelling, the Golden Age of the pulp magazines. In these eighty volumes, readers are treated to a full banquet of 153 stories, a kaleidoscope of tales representing every imaginable genre: science fiction, fantasy, western, mystery, thriller, horror, even romanceâaction of all kinds and in all places.
Because the pulps themselves were printed on such inexpensive paper with high acid content, issues were not meant to endure. As the years go by, the original issues of every pulp from
continue crumbling into brittle, brown dust. This library preserves the L. Ron Hubbard tales from that era, presented with a distinctive look that brings back the nostalgic flavor of those times.
L. Ron Hubbard's Stories from the Golden Age has something for every taste, every reader. These tales will return you to a time when fiction was good clean entertainment and the most fun a kid could have on a rainy afternoon or the best thing an adult could enjoy after a long day at work.
Pick up a volume, and remember what reading is supposed to be all about. Remember curling up with a
âKevin J. Anderson
KEVIN J. ANDERSON
is the author of more than ninety critically acclaimed works of speculative fiction, including The Saga of Seven Suns, the continuation of the Dune Chronicles with Brian Herbert, and his
New York Times
bestselling novelization of L. Ron Hubbard's
The DevilâWith Wings
CAPTAIN ITO SHINOHARI
HERO IN KILLING OF
TOKYO, JAPANâMay 9 (Tekko News Agency)âGeneral Ytosho Shimokado, commanding Japanese Imperial Troops at
, announced today that
infamous white pilot, was killed last week near the
Captain Ito Shinohari, famous and gallant figure of the Imperial Japanese Military Intelligence, was credited with the slaying.
“The Devil With Wings,” has long conducted his lawless operations against the Manchukuo government and, it is reported, recently attempted to bring about the overthrow of the
Son of Heaven
, whose gentle rule of Manchukuo is well-known.
It is also rumored that
was in the pay of Russia and played considerable part in instigating the recent clash of arms between Japan and Russia in the unknown reaches of the Amur River.
figure, the as yet unidentified renegade will long be remembered for his three-year reign of terror.
The details of the slaying have not been reported. It is said that Captain Ito Shinohari will be rewarded with the
Order of the Rising Sun
The Night Marauder
and silence lay like velvet paws upon the Japanese Intelligence Headquarters at Port Arthur.
The far-off midnight hum of the city did not reach into these musty, tomblike corridors or touch the dungeon files wherein lay the yellowing bones of countless “Asiatic incidents.”
The blue chill of moonlight seeped cautiously in through a grimy window to touch a pencil of shining steel, the bayonet of the sentry.
The Japanese dozed against his rifle, mustard-colored cap pulled down to leave only the highlights of his cheekbones visible.
He was dreaming, perhaps, of glory to be won in Manchukuo. Or of the fair ladies of
. More probably he dreamed of nothing, trained as he was until he marched and ate and talked like a life-size military doll.
A tread softer than a cat's sounded below him on the steps. He did not look up. Mice were too frequently out in patrols to forage through the gloom of this dingy building.
A board creaked forlornly and still the sentry did not turn.
A shadow crossed the gleaming pearl of the moon and melted against the dark silence. The sentry shifted his gun and looked up, conscious of a curious prickling sensation along the base of his skull.
A hand in a black glove came over the sentry's shoulder and touched the insignia there. The Japanese stiffened, whirled. His strap slapped and his boots grated as he brought his rifle up.
Moonlight sparkled on the butt of a .45 automatic. The bayonet lanced upward toward a space of white throat.
The sentry grunted and sagged back. The black glove caught the released rifle in midair before it could clatter against the floor and then laid it down beside the relaxed Japanese soldier.
Gary Forsythe wasted no time inspecting his handiwork. He stood up in the patch of moonlight and looked down the steps up which he had come. To a Japanese, Forsythe would have looked like a giant, though he was only half an inch over six feet. He would have given any observing yellow man a shock in other ways besides size.
, the sight of this black-garbed white man had, for three years, been occasion for various types of heart failure among the soldiers of the
Of his face only his nostrils and mouth were visible. The black leather flying helmet and the huge goggles were more effective than any mask. The black artillery boots looked staunch and solid but he could walk like a panther in them.
There were only three spots of light about him: the lens of each goggle and the large silver buckle of his belt.
His lips curved downward into a chilly grin as he stepped noiselessly over the Japanese and slid silent as a thundercloud along the black passageway.
He turned a corner and came to a stop. The glazed glass of one door exuded a thin yellow light, diffused until it spread like a saffron fog through the gloom. The
on the door said, “Records.”
Forsythe reached toward the knob but an instant before he touched it, a shadow became sharply outlined on the other side. The cap and profile of a Japanese, the silhouette of a fixed bayonet.
Instead of touching the knob, Forsythe stepped closer and made a fist of his glove.
He knocked sharply and the sound of it went booming through the brooding structure like a war drum.
The silhouette straightened and turned. The knob rattled. Yellow light spread from top to bottom in a long, widening line. The sentry stood there with bayonet at ready, peering into the gloom.
He saw the tall black shadow before him, caught the terrifying glitter of the goggles. The sentry needed no time for decision. He lunged and light streaked down the cold steel.
Forsythe stepped nimbly aside. He knew bayonets.
The gloves gripped the barrel as the bayonet dashed past. With a wrench, Forsythe whipped the weapon out of the sentry's hands and delivered a vicious butt stroke to the jaw.
Forsythe placed the rifle against the wall and stepped over the Japanese and into the Records room.
An unshaded electric light was burning above a littered, scarred table. The walls were lined with the tarnished brass handles of the files.
Without hesitation he strode to a cabinet and jerked it open. The black gloves gathered up large handfuls of paper to throw them upward and back. The sheets rustled and settled like enormous snowflakes over the rug.
Forsythe located the file he required and chuckled softly as he read his name blazoned in large ideographs across the top of it: THE DEVIL WITH WINGS.
He stepped to the table and started to sit down. A sound held him crouched for an instant and then he straightened up and paced to the window and studied the street below.
A chunky Japanese car had drawn up to the curb before the office and now three officers were getting out. They looked squat and bearish in their greatcoats under the hard light from the street lamp.
Looking down at their precise round hats, Forsythe tried to recognize them. They stood talking for several seconds and then the leanest one of the lot started toward the entrance of the building. He looked up just before he stepped inside.
Forsythe drew hastily back.
It was Shinohari of the Japanese Intelligence.
The other two officers stayed by the car.
Forsythe paced again to the table and ripped into the file he had found. He tossed papers to the right and left until he came upon a thick wad of posters. He crammed a number of these into his jacket and then raced his glance across a clip of letters, singling out a pair, one of which read:
Captain Ito Shinohari
Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters
The American engineer Robert Weston was murÂdered yesterday near
on the Amur River. Evidence indicates that he was killed by The Devil With Wings,
N-38 at Aigun
Decoded by Lt. Tatsu
The other said:
Enclosed herewith a letter from Robert Weston to one Patricia Weston, his sister, mentioning value of a Confucius image. Original letter forwarded to Patricia Weston. As image may contain some secret document, suggest you follow lead to Patricia Weston. The hand of
is quite plain in this.
He wadded these into a small packet and slipped them into the heavy money belt at his waist.
For a moment he stood listening, looking at the door. He knew that Shinohari would find the unconscious sentry at the top of the steps, but
preferred to let events take their own course.
Again he shuffled through the papers, watching for any detail which might serve him well. He missed the copy of the original letter to Patricia Weston though he tried hard to find it.
Another communication came under his hand:
Captain Ito Shinohari
Imperial Japanese Army Intelligence
May this unworthy agent be allowed to report that, after two days of constant watching, Patricia Weston has not yet contacted
May this one humbly request relief from his post, knowing he can better serve the gallant Captain in other departments better.
In information it has been learned that Patricia Weston is without funds and it is not likely that she will leave Port Arthur. As ordered, this one has carefully undermined her credit at her hotel and at the cable station. There is therefore no likelihood of her leaving, or communicating with any possible friends in the United States.
This one suggests that it might be prudent to cause her to be deported at government expense.
N-16 at Port Arthur
slid this with the others into his money belt. He slapped the file into chaos about the room and strode to the Records office door, .45 drawn.
Before he could reach the knob it slammed toward him!
in hand, was framed in the opening. Three feet from him Forsythe had centered the muzzle of the .45 automatic upon the yellow greatcoat.
They stood there, deadlocked, glaring at each other.
It was Shinohari who first recognized the stalemate. His small pockmarked face wreathed into a smile which was no deeper than his teeth. His metallic, obsidian eyes remained very calm.
“The Devil,” said Shinohari, “With Wings.”
Forsythe bowed mockingly from the waist. “The gallant Captain Shinohari.”
“Of course. I am so sorry I did not know you were coming. I might have arranged a suitable reception for you, worthy of your fame.”
“I grieve that I did not apprise you of the fact, Captain. May I extend my apologies for being delinquent in paying my respects recently, Captain?”
Shinohari bowed and clicked his heels. “It has been so long since I have had the pleasure of meeting you, sir.”
“My regrets for your sometimes, shall we say, hasty marksmanship, Captain.”
“If I could but match your excellent accuracy, sir, I should be a most happy man.” The black eyes never left Forsythe's face, the Luger did not waver an inch. “You have doubtless been amusing yourself against my coming?”
“Quite,” replied Forsythe. “You have a great deal of correspondence. You must be as busy as you are great, Captain.”
“Thank you. I am rarely bored, sir. Your health? It is excellent?”
“Quite, Captain. I regretâ”
“Oh, no, no, no. Regret nothing, sir. I am desolated that I was not here to receive you more properly. Iâ¦erâ¦have been taking considerable interest in your recent itinerary, sir.”
“You flatter my poor efforts, Captain.”
“I am prostrated not to be able to attend your various calls in person. The Imperial Japanese government is quite attentive to your goings and comings, sir. You areâ¦shall we sayâ¦a very great man. A power, as it were, in Northern Asia.”
“You flatter me,” replied Forsythe with a slight bow. “If my fame were only a tenth of your own, I should be content.”
“These guns,” said Shinohari, “are rather foolish, don't you think? When the great meets the great, they should not demean themselves with common brawling.”
“I suggest,” said Forsythe politely, “that we unload together. I regret that I did not have time to put a shell under my firing pin.”
“Strange coincidence,” said Shinohari. “I was too startled to think of it and my Luger is in a like condition.”
They bowed together and then each one placed his left hand before him with great ostentation and slowly curved it in under his automatic.
“Shall we say at the count of three?” said Forsythe.
“Splendid. Shall we count together?”
Twin clicks were sharp in the room. Two magazines slid out of the butts and into the reaching hands. Timing their movements exactly, they each placed the clips in their belts and lowered their automatics.
“I regret,” said Forsythe with a smile as brittle as the captain's, “that I cannot stay. I have an urgent appointment elsewhere.”
“I also must extend my regrets,” said Shinohari with a bow. “I only came for the files of a new incident.”
“May I wish you success?” said Forsythe, moving toward the door.
“Thank you. And may great success attend your endeavors, dear sir.”
At the sill they bowed again, black jacket toward yellow greatcoat. They smiled as they went around until Forsythe had his back to the hall and the captain's to the room.
Still bowing and still backing, Forsythe went toward the corner and halfway around it.
Abruptly the captain raised his Luger. He had carefully forgotten the shell under his firing pin until now.
Forsythe saw the motion and dodged around the corner. The bullet slapped the plaster close beside his face.