Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Review of Doc Savage: Python Isle

As a fan of pulp magazines, Doc Savage and radio drama, I was the perfect audience for Radio Archives' new series of pulp audiobooks. So when they sent me a copy of Doc Savage: Python Isle, I was prepared to be entertained.

Python Isle was the first Doc Savage novel written by Will Murray, based upon an outline by original Doc scribe Lester Dent (this is all covered in a nice featurette accompanying the audiobook, sort of like the extras on a DVD). As a Doc Savage story, Python Isle is nearly perfect. It contains all the ingredients of the best Doc Savage novels: high adventure, a lost civilization and humorous interplay among Doc’s aides. Radio Archives has produced an unabridged version of the novel that encompasses 8 CDs (well, seven and a half).

The narration is key to any audiobook, and Michael McConnohie does a fine job. He makes each character distinct and individual, and he carries the narrative without sounding too announcer-y, if you’ll excuse the made-up word.

Roger Ritner produced and directed Python Isle. He was involved with the Doc Savage radio series on NPS in the 1980s.

My complaints about the package are minor. Sometimes McConnohie pronounces Python as PY-thun, which was a little distracting.

And the musical cues took a while to grow on me. At first, they struck me as generic cuts from a production library. If they were, then the cuts were more carefully chosen for the second half of the book.

All in all, listening to Python Isle was a very satisfying experience. Radio Archives has already released a second Doc audiobook, as well as that NPR series. And audibooks of other pulp characters are on the way, including The Spider. It’s a great time to be a pulp fan.

Check out the offerings of Radio Archives at their site.

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