Friday, October 15, 2010
Forgotten Books: Golden Blood by Jack Williamson
For Forgotten Books this week James Reasoner discussed some of Gardener Fox's sword and sorcery-science fiction work. As much as I liked Fox's comic book work (he was my favorite DC writer from the late Forties through the early Sixties) I never quite took to most of his novels.
But mention of him made me pick up one of my all-time favorite adventure novels, GOLDEN BLOOD by Jack Williamson. I'm now about a hundred pages in and I'm enjoying it as much as I did in my early teen years. It's set in the Arabian desert right after World War One, features a fabled city that has been whispered about for longer than five centuries, and is protected by fanatics who must guard a selected few who may or may not be immortal. Williamson's descriptions of the desert and fights and pursuits across the sands at night are spectacular. And so are his people. I don't mean in any Chekovian way but for adventure fiction stereotypes they're memorable simply because each of the major players plans to double-cross all the others as soon as they find the fabled city of gold. Williamson brings everything alive; everything.
I'm enjoying this in a way I haven't enjoyed simple pure storytelling in a long time. For those who like adventure, I'm sure you can find an inexpensive copy on line. Lancer did two editions of it in the Sixties, one for sixty cents and one for seventy five. Williams was always one of my favorite sf-horror writers. Darker Than You Think still ranks in my top ten werewolf novels of all time. This was pure pulp at its best.
The book was originally a two-part Weird Tales serial in 1933. The famous John Allen St. John did both the covers and the interior illustrations.