----

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Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr., 1924

A Holiday to Matheran

As we left our holiday cottage, to return home in the city, my wife said, "Look over your shoulder before you leave so that we come back again." Read about our recent trip to Matheran, the forest on the head, and the smallest hill station in India, at B+ve.

August 31, 2012

BOOK REVIEW

To The Last Man by Zane Grey

Another comic-book contribution for this Friday’s Forgotten Books edition over at Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinase. Don’t forget to read the fine reviews of forgotten books by other bloggers over there. 

Much of my reading of western fiction in early days was shaped by Oliver Strange, Zane Grey, Louis L’amour, George G. Gilman and J.T. Edson. British writer Strange remains a favourite to this day. His ten Corgi paperbacks about Sudden, the heroic two-gun Texas outlaw, captured my youthful imagination of the Wild West like little else. His compatriot Frederick W. Nolan did a terrific job by writing five more books in the Sudden series. There have been no reprints since.

Zane Grey came next and one of his novels that I read very early on was To The Last Man which he wrote in 1921. Unlike Strange and Nolan, I haven’t read all of Grey but I remember liking this novel a lot. It had an original storyline, I’d assume, of love between a young man and woman caught on the opposite sides of a blood feud between their two frontier families. 


The theme soon became staple diet for subsequent books and movies, both western and non-western. Bollywood still thrives on it.

Young John Isbel and Ellen Jorth are loyal to their families and at the same time hopelessly in love with each other. They realise the futility of the range war sparked by rustling by one of the two families and played out in Tonto Basin, Arizona.


Grey first serialised To The Last Man in The Country Gentleman magazine during May-July 1921. But then, many of his stories were serialised in various magazines before they were published into books. 

A couple of days ago I downloaded To The Last Man comic-book by Dell and was pleased to find that it stayed true to Grey’s story based on the Pleasant Valley War or the Tonto Basin War. Having read the comic-book, I now want to reread the book and see if I feel differently about it. I doubt it, though.

August 28, 2012

FILM REVIEW

Twister (1996)

Twister is my contribution to Tuesday’s Overlooked/Forgotten films and television over at Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom. Don't forget to check out the other fascinating reviews over there.

Dustin Davis (Philip Seymour Hoffman): Jo, Bill, it's coming! It's headed right for us!
Bill Harding (Bill Paxton): It’s already here!


Two of my blog friends, writers Charles Gramlich and F.T. Bradley, are taking evasive action in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac which is expected to cut through the US Gulf Coast sometime Tuesday. The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Florida, warned that Isaac was on the verge of becoming a full-blown hurricane and advised hundreds and thousands of residents from low-lying areas to evacuate to high ground which, the way I see it, could be anywhere.

Evacuation, either due to a natural disaster or a manmade catastrophe, is never easy. It's one thing to pack up a few prized possessions, bundle your family and your pets into a car, and drive away to safety. It’s quite another to live in your temporary accommodation with fear and uncertainty, wondering if the beautiful home you left behind is still going to be there when you go back. This is no vacation.

I hope Charles Gramlich and F.T. Bradley and their families and everyone else in the path of Storm Isaac are safe and sound and there is no recurrence of something even remotely close to Hurricane Katrina.

For Tuesday's Overlooked Films and Television, I write about films and serials I watched over the weekend. While I can recall a face I saw wedged between two boxes of Betty Crocker pancake mix in the grocery section of a packed mall two years ago, I can’t remember everything about a film I watched, say, nine months ago. I usually need a refresher. So, last Saturday, I watched parts of a film I had seen before, Twister, and decided to write about it after reading the storm-related posts by Charles and F.T. Bradley, both published authors. 

A tornado in Hardtner, Kansas, in 1929.


Before I touch upon this film, however, here’s a question: do hurricanes or typhoons (known as cyclones in the Indian subcontinent) cause tornadoes or twisters? Apparently, when they make landfall, they do. 

The computerised twisters in Dutch filmmaker Jan Le Bont’s action-adventure film don’t look as terrifying as they obviously do in real life. There is something surreal about tornadoes, especially multiple tornadoes, particularly those swaying eerily far off at sea and heading for the nearest shore. You know where Spielberg got the idea for his giant alien tripods in War of the Worlds.

 
Tornado chasers Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) and Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) are in the middle of a ridiculous divorce, he chasing her for her stamp of approval on the divorce papers but not really wanting to divorce her, and she chasing twisters that killed her father. Vengeance can be a stormy affair. Caught between Jo and Bill is his new girlfriend Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz) whose look throughout the film can only mean two things—“no one loves me, sniff,” or “what the hell am I doing in this place?” I’ll opt for the former.

Accompanying Jo and Bill on their reckless adventure are half-a-dozen fellow researchers and weathermen including the eccentric Dustin Davis, played by the talented Philip Seymour Hoffman who looks older than his age, currently 45, in most of his films (somebody’s got to check out his BC). 
Hoffman  has “lost it” in Twister as his loud persona and inane comments fail to evoke laughter. For instance, when a particularly nasty twister gobbles up a truck and throws it right back into the path of his own truck, Davis tells a petrified Melissa in the driver's seat, “Did you just miss that truck? That's awesome!”  Hoffman  was equally obnoxious as Ben Stiller’s sidekick in Along Came Polly which, of course, is not to take away his stellar performance in Capote and Doubt, to name a few. He's got to junk these silly roles. Leave them for Jack Black.


Twister is an average film, entertaining nonetheless. Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton act well though you can’t help thinking the film owes more to Hunt than Paxton. I have never seen a real tornado in my life (they don’t occur in India) though I know that real-life twisters are scarier as hell. The romantic interlude between the couple overshadows the terrifying realities of tornadoes swirling around them. I should know better: this is a romantic drama, not a climate documentary.

August 24, 2012

I can't leave a comment...

Blogger has tweaked something, somewhere. Google's blog-publishing service has been rejecting my comments on other blogs that require word verification. I have no problem commenting on blogs where I don't have to prove I'm not a robot. I tried to leave comments through a PC and two laptops just in case there was something amiss with the one I use. No luck. There are no such issues with Wordpress, though. I can't think of a solution at the moment. Do you have one? Many thanks...

August 23, 2012

BOOK REVIEW

Comic-books on economy

A not-too-insignificant contribution to this Friday’s Forgotten Books edition over at Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinase. Don’t forget to read the fine reviews of forgotten books by other bloggers over there.

Back in school, comic-books gave me more education than text-books, starting with Amar Chitra Katha (Immortal Picture Stories), India's largest and most popular comics imprint. In spite of their often mediocre artwork, these comics retold captivating stories from the great Indian epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana, history, mythology, fables and folklore, and the Indian freedom movement, apart from easy-to-read profiles of noted social reformers, political leaders, freedom fighters, and spiritual gurus—all in comic-book format.

I don't know much about economy, so these days I'm brushing up my knowledge of this rather tiresome subject by reading the comic-book series brought out by the publications division of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. You can read and learn the basics of economy in comic-book format and enjoy it too.

Here are introductions to six comics from the series, courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Public Affairs Department.



Learn the major functions of the Federal Reserve System, the tools of monetary policy and how they work, and the other ways in which the Fed helps the US economy and financial system to function.


A history of the US monetary system and events leading to the establishment of the Federal Reserve System.


This comic-book explains the meaning and purpose of monetary policy, how the Federal Reserve makes monetary policy, and how the tools of monetary policy work.


Find out the causes and effects of inflation.


Illustrates the importance of savings, how it benefits all of us, and the various types of savings instruments and institutions.


Three young entrepreneurs use sophisticated bank services over a 23-year period. It also explores the role of checking deposits and lending in money creation.

August 13, 2012

VINTAGE ADS

Unknown World


This is the ad that Fawcett Publications, Inc. of Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, published in its inaugural issue of Unknown World, released in June 1952, to advertise its new comic magazine. Will Lieberson was the executive editor and Al Jetter was the art editor.

According to his obituary in The New York Times, published January 17, 1995, William H. Lieberson, 79, was a successful director and playwright before he became editor-in-chief of Fawcett Comics, "where he oversaw the production of such monthly comic books as Captain Marvel."

Fawcett published comics across many genres including horror comics in the 1950s, a string of titles which, apart from Unknown World, also included This Magazine Is Haunted, Beware! Terror Tales, Worlds of Fear, and Strange Suspense Stories.

Lieberson and Jetter also collaborated on other horror comics from the Fawcett stable, notably This Magazine Is Haunted, which resembled EC's distinct brand of horror comics.

August 10, 2012

BOOK REVIEW

A Prayer for the Dying by Jack Higgins (1973)

A Prayer for the Dying by Jack Higgins is my contribution to this Friday’s Forgotten Books edition over at Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinase and Todd Mason's blog Sweet Freedom. Don’t forget to read the fine mix of reviews of forgotten books by other bloggers over there.

What took place then was like something out of a nightmare, frozen in time, no reality to it at all. As the man in the dark overcoat glanced up, the priest produced an automatic with a long black silencer on the end. There was a dull thud as he fired. Fragments of bone and brain sprayed out from the rear of the victim’s skull as he was slammed back against the gravel.

Father da Costa gave a hoarse cry, already seconds too late, “For God’s sake no!”
 


Father Michael da Costa witnesses Martin Fallon kill gangster Janos Krasko, kneeling before his mother’s grave, in cold blood. The ex-IRA bomber, disguised as a priest, looks up and aims the deadly Czech Ceska at Father da Costa but doesn’t fire. Instead, he lowers the gun, turns around and quietly walks out of the cemetery.

Fallon doesn’t kill the innocent even though he once murdered for a cause and is now on the run from his former associates in the Irish Republican Army, British Military Intelligence, and Special Branch.

With nowhere to run, Fallon reluctantly accepts the contract from Jack Meehan, whose respectable funeral business is a front for drug-pushing, prostitution, gambling and protection, to bump off his hated rival, Krasko. The contract killing is Fallon’s route to freedom, with some hard cash and a passport to Australia.

But, before he goes away, Fallon does something unusual for a hired assassin: he makes a confession in Father da Costa’s rundown church, because “the secrets of the confessional are inviolate.”

Father da Costa, who was imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese during the war, is a man of honour and swears by Fallon's confession even as an exasperated Detective-Superintendent Nick Miller, head of the CID, threatens legal action that will force the priest to speak out as a witness.

Miller has been on Jack Meehan’s tail for years but hasn’t been able to nail the gangster for lack of evidence. He is convinced of Meehan’s role in Krasko’s public murder and sees an opportunity to bring the undertaker to justice.

The very evil Meehan orders Fallon to kill the priest but the gunman refuses, saying he has taken care of the matter. The crook, who hammers nails into the palms of his own men as punishment every time they fail him, decides to get rid of both Fallon and Father da Costa.

With Fallon still around, that’s easier said than done.

Irishman Martin Fallon is one of several popular fictional characters created by Harry Patterson who 
widely wrote as Jack Higgins. Two others, Paul Chavasse, who works undercover for The Bureau, a secret arm of British Intelligence, and Sean Dillon, ex-IRA turned hired mercenary, figure in many of his novels. There is, of course, the charming Liam Devlin, the Irish patriot with a poetic touch, and the hero of his best-known work The Eagle Has Landed. In fact, nearly all of Higgins’ quiet, brooding and intelligent heroes are assassins with a big heart. They stick around to protect those who become unintentional victims in their sinister games, are often gifted, poetically and musically, and are hopeless romantics. 

A priest and his church and vulnerable women are a given in many of Higgins' novels. For instance, in A Prayer for the Dying, Father da Costa has a niece called Anna, a blind girl who is rather lovely. Though Higgins doesn't say so outright, she is “one of those plain faces that for some strange reason you found yourself looking at twice,” as Fallon muses. There's also another young woman called Jenny Fox who is forced into prostitution by Meehan to keep his clients happy. She must now "take care" of Fallon but the IRA gunman gently turns down her overtures as he is too old for her and because he is a "walking corpse," a common refrain among all the heroes who often address the women with a "girl dear" and a gentle caress of the cheeks. The girls, inevitably, fall for the men though that's not how it usually ends.

Higgins is also big on religion with battle-scarred priests, who, having taken lives during the war, take to healing souls in the church. It's probably an Irish thing but the Catholic priests often dish out advice to other Catholics, good men and bad men like Fallon and Meehan, in a vain bid to reform them to the ways of God. 

So, when you read a Jack Higgins novel, be prepared to be affected by the Stockholm syndrome. There is no hostage situation but you’d rather be standing beside his hero than in front of him, looking down the barrel of his Browning or Walther PPK. I strongly recommend all his novels.

Many of Jack Higgins’ novels have been made into films including A Prayer for the Dying starring Mickey Rourke as Martin Fallon, in the 1987 film directed by Mike Hodges. It also stars Bob Hoskins as Father da Costa, Sammi Davis as Anna, and Alan Bates as Jack Meehan.

My earlier reviews of novels by 

Jack Higgins:
A Fine Night for Dying &
The Keys of Hell

both Paul Chavasse  stories.

August 9, 2012

VINTAGE PICTURES

Ten Thousand Cattle Straying (Dead Broke)

Ten thousand cattle straying,
They quit my range and travell'd away,
And it's “sons-of-guns” is what I say,
I am dead broke, dead broke this day.
Dead broke. 



There is some confusion over the exact year in which Owen Wister, the American writer and pioneer of western fiction, wrote and composed the music of Ten Thousand Cattle Straying (Dead Broke) for the stage version of The Virginian, his epoch-making western novel that gave shape to the quintessential cowboy.

Some say 1888, others say 1904.

If Wister did, indeed, pen the song in 1888, he would have been only 28 years at the time and would have, remarkably, composed it 14 years before he wrote his famous novel, in 1902. 

© American Heritage Center
Further reading on the subject revealed that Wister (left) actually wrote the song in 1904, for theatre man Kirke La Shelle’s stage production of The Virginian. It was to be one of the last three successful plays of La Shelle, the other two being The Education of Mr. Pipp and The Heir to the Hoorah. La Shelle died in 1905 at the age of 43.

Ten Thousand Cattle Straying (Dead Broke) was the inspiration for American folk singer and writer Katie Lee’s best-known book Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, A History of the American Cowboy in Song, Story and Verse, a study of the music, stories, and poetry of the American cowboy. The book, published in 1976, has illustrations by cowboy artist William Moyers and was also recorded as an album. 

US actor Dustin Farnum (pictured left in the poster) was cast as the first Virginian in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1914 film adaptation of Wister’s novel. The role was reprised by several actors, most notably Gary Cooper, in the first sound version of the film directed by Victor Fleming in 1929. There have also been a couple of television series based on The Virginian.

John D. Nesbitt, the author and teacher, has written a splendid article on Owen Wister titled "Inventor of the Good-guy Cowboy" and describes him as the creator of “the classic Western hero and the popular western novel.” You can read it here.

The Western and Cowboy Poetry Music & More at the Bar-D Ranch has carried an interesting article on Owen Wister’s Virginian on its website.

August 7, 2012

FILM REVIEW

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast is my animated contribution to Tuesday’s Overlooked/Forgotten films and television over at Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom. Don't forget to check out the other fascinating reviews over there. 


Gaston: How can you read this? There’s no pictures! 
Belle: Well, some people use their imagination. 

There are two kinds of films that have a special charm—animated and musical. Many animated movies are musicals too. Animated films transport you into a magical world you linger in long after you’re back in your own. They will rarely disappoint and are absolutely delightful to watch.

Last weekend, I saw Tangled (2010) and The Prince of Egypt (1998) on television and enjoyed both animated films immensely. Tangled, which is about a lost princess who finds love and her parental kingdom in the end, is the sort of film you ought to watch on the big screen: it’s one of the most colourful animated movies I’ve seen in recent years. The Prince of Egypt is the story of Moses who delivers his people from slavery and torture under the king of the pharaohs. 

While this post is not about Tangled or The Prince of Egypt, the two movies got me thinking about my favourite animated film—Beauty and the Beast—the musical fantasy from the Disney stable. Everything about this film is wonderful: from the animation and music score by Alan Menken, who composed music for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Pocahontas to the sad story of a cursed prince whose salvation lies in loving a woman and receiving her love in return. Only then will the spell of an evil enchantress break and turn the hideous beast back into the handsome prince he really is.

Since you already know what this award-winning animated film is about, I’ll touch upon just one aspect of the film that I really liked: Belle’s love of books.

The pretty-little peasant girl has little to do in her village except look after her father, an eccentric inventor, take care of their small cottage, and read books. She visits the local bookstore, rather impressive for a small village where people are anything but bookish, and is disappointed when she doesn’t find a new book to read. So she picks up a book she has read before and makes her way back home—singing along the way.

As Belle (Paige O'Hara) walks back, she meets Gaston (Richard White), the local hunter and the village narcissist, who thinks he owns the girl and has the right to marry her without, of course, asking her or her father, Maurice (Rex Everhart). The egomaniac has no brains and so he doesn’t understand books. On the other hand, the Beast (Robby Benson) delights in listening to Belle read out to him, in his dark and foreboding mansion where he holds her captive in exchange for her father’s freedom, because he’s learning to fall in love with her.

Beauty and the Beast is an enchanting film with a sad beginning and a happy ending, like all fairy tales are, and leaves you with a nice feeling. See it if you haven’t yet. Now then, sit back and take a trip with Belle and her books…
 










Source for images: Walt Disney Pictures

August 6, 2012

Stamp of a Director: Alfred Hitchcock

On Films and Filmmaking
"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."

"To me Psycho (1960) was a big comedy. Had to be."

"A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it."

"Our original title, you know, was 'The Man in Lincoln`s Nose'. Couldn't use it, though. They also wouldn't let us shoot people on Mount Rushmore. Can`t deface a national monument. And it`s a pity, too, because I had a wonderful shot in mind of Cary Grant hiding in Lincon`s nose and having a sneezing fit." — On 'North by Northwest', 1959

"For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake."

"To make a great film you need three things—the script, the script and the script."

"Always make the audience suffer as much as possible."

"Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints."

"Give them pleasure—the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare."

"I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach."

"Self-plagiarism is style."

"Cary Grant is the only actor I ever loved in my whole life."

"There is nothing quite so good as burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating."



On Murder
"Some of our most exquisite murders have been domestic, performed with tenderness in simple, homely places like the kitchen table."

"Man does not live by murder alone. He needs affection, approval, encouragement and, occasionally, a hearty meal."

"In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man."

"One must never set up a murder. They must happen unexpectedly, as in life."



On Fear
"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them."

"I am scared easily, here is a list of my adrenaline-production: 1: small children, 2: policemen, 3: high places, 4: that my next movie will not be as good as the last one."

"There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

"I'm frightened of eggs, worse than frightened, they revolt me. That white round thing without any holes... have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and spilling its yellow liquid? Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow, revolting. I've never tasted it."
— On his lifelong fear of eggs.

"Luck is everything... My good luck in life was to be a really frightened person. I'm fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn't make a good suspense film."


On Television
"Television is like the American toaster, you push the button and the same thing pops up every time."

"Seeing a murder on television can help work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some."

"Television has brought back murder into the home—where it belongs."


On Books
"The paperback is very interesting but I find it will never replace the hardcover book—it makes a very poor doorstop."


Note: You'll find 18 other Celebrity Stamps under Labels. On October 31, 2011, I wrote a short piece on Hitchcockian humour that includes some of the quotes reproduced above. You can read it here.

August 5, 2012

Who is Nevada Carter?

Dallas Wayne…a voice that rustled like silk…a gun that spat sudden death.

It’s been a while since I wrote about the new and used books I have added to my ever-growing collection. 

Last week, I picked up a secondhand western paperback called Frontier Steel by Nevada Carter. I liked the cover image and the blurb on the back promised a tale of intense action and adventure, set in Nevada Territory just after the war.

It says, “Dallas Wayne was a Texan who’d come out of the war with nothing more than a powerful urge to make up for lost time. He settled north-west of Virginia City and within four years was a rich man. Then out of the past one blustery day rode a rider who told the men in the Green Door Saloon a grisly tale of murder…”

I’m not going to spoil the fun by revealing the rest of it. However, I’m intrigued by the writer, Nevada Carter, who appears to have no presence in cyberspace. A few sites, including Amazon (see below), have a list of his novels written between 1965 and 1997, assuming that Frontier Steel is his first book. I’m not sure that it is.


1965: Frontier Steel
1966: Hangtown Sheriff
1972: Gunsight Range
1973: The Green Hills
1974: A Man Called Faro
1975: Badlands Trail
1975: Fugitive Trail
1977: Lost Trail
1979: The Outsiders
1980: Buffalo Range
1981: Perdition Range
1981: Chaparral Trail
1985: Texan Fast Gun
1986: Horse Camp
1993: Cedar Valley
1996: Perdition Wells
1997: Bear Paw


Frontier Steel has managed to push its way up my current list of to-be-read books chiefly because I read a couple of pages and liked the way Carter writes. He has me hooked. It sounds like your traditional western novel with a small-town saloon, a ranch named Circle S, a pretty girl on horseback, cowhands, bushwhackers, and gunslingers, miles of cattle drag, and a range boss who hates Indians, even half-breeds.

In case I’ve tickled your curiosity, about Carter’s writing style, here’s the opening paragraph.

“He was almost a courtly man the way he tipped his hat and softly spoke, the way he smiled easily and laughed noiselessly with his blue-steel eyes, and this was part of the competence a man acquired on the frontier where other men were sensitive to slight and quick to react to insult.”

So who is Nevada Carter? Any answers?


Note: For earlier posts on Book Buys, see under Labels.

August 3, 2012

BOOK REVIEW

The End of Time by Wallace West (1933)

This week Todd Mason is the generous host of Friday’s Forgotten Books in place of Patti Abbott. Check out the entries at his blog Sweet Freedom and the previous FFB posts at Patti’s blog Pattinase.

“By millions of millions the creatures of earth slow and drop when their time-sense is mysteriously paralyzed.” 

A few remained standing like statues.

Dr. Frank Manthis, a brilliant chemical researcher, June Manthis, his lovely daughter, and Jack Baron, a young enterprising radio engineer and protégé of the chemist, are presumably the only people alive in New York and in the rest of the world.

Everyone else is in suspended animation, as it were. Something, or someone, has paralysed their sense of time as they stand rooted where they are or fall to the ground—“like characters from The Sleeping Beauty.

“There is no doubt of it! Time will come to an end at six o'clock this morning.”

The bespectacled chemist discovers the mysterious phenomenon—of one’s perception of time slowing down before it stands still—while figuring out a chemical formula. He finds that both he and June are affected.
 

The discovery prompts Dr. Manthis to inject himself, June and Jack Baron with the drug, hashish, by neutralising its deadly effects but retaining its time-expanding effects. Thus, the trio manages to remain normal but is unable to help the people of New York because there’s not enough of the drug and not enough time.

“There's nothing we can do for them now,” he said. “But we must learn all we can. Let’s go down and watch the city die.”

It doesn’t take Dr. Manthis very long to realise that only interference with the thought-waves could paralyse time-sense on such a terrifying scale. He suspects that someone inside or outside the known universe is breaking into the human thought process so as to turn humankind into zombies.

The chemist, the radio engineer and his girl embark on a do-or-die mission to trace the source of the short waves which, they find, is in India and intercept them in a desperate bid to render the waves powerless so as to reawaken the people.

“…if someone is broadcasting such a devilish wave from an earthly station we may have a chance to stop it.”

The task, however, is not easy as the three saviours have to fight a sinister looking Russian, a hashish addict, and end his evil designs to conquer the world.
 

The End of Time is quite a readable story if you overlook the fact that the theme, of time slowing down and stopping altogether, is a fairly common one. Wallace West makes two interesting observations in the story: one is Kant’s axiom that “time is purely subjective” and that “it exists in the mind only” and the other is the reference to ganja, the Indian word for hashish, the users of which “develop homicidal mania” and “run amuck” as they do in India. I quite liked that bit.

The author
American sf writer Wallace West first wrote this story for Astounding Stories, March 1933. He also contributed stories to Weird Tales. West initially wrote short fiction and reworked those into novels, many of which had 'time' as their theme. He also novelised at least four motion pictures and authored some non-fiction as well.

One of his more popular books is The Bird of Time (1959) comprising four of his short stories which had previously appeared in Astounding Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories. It relates the adventures of Yahna, a Martian bird-woman, and Bill Newsome, an 
Earthman, and the conflict between their worlds. 


Bibliography (incomplete)

Novelised versions of films
1. Alice in Wonderland, a novelised version of the motion picture Alice in Wonderland, 1934
2. Jimmie Allen in the Sky Parade, 1936, a novelised version of Sky Parade starring Jimmie Allen
3. Betty Boop in Snow-White, 1934
4. Paramount newsreel men with Admiral Byrd in Little America: the story of Little America with pictures by Paramount newsreel cameramen and the story of their adventures, 1934
 

Novels
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, 1936
Thirteen Hours by Air, 1936
The Bird of Time, 1959
Lords of Atlantis, 1960
The Memory Bank, 1962
River of Time, 1963
The Time-lockers, 1964
The Everlasting Exiles, 1967
Outposts in Space, 1969

Click this link for a complete list of Wallace West’s books.