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“Vulture Coast” by Lester Dent

Link - Posted by David on January 15, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

Lester Dent is best known as the man behind Doc Savage. But he wrote all number of other stories before he started chronicling the adventures of everyone’s favorite bronze giant. Here we have one of his earliest stories to appear in the pulps. From the pages of the September 1930 issue of Air Stories, it’s “Vulture Coast!”

It started as a test flight for the new amphibian. Then came the offshore rescue, pirate craft out of the China Sea, and a grim, terrible test for Power O’Malley, pilot.

 

If you enjoyed this story, Black Dog Books has put out an excellent volume collecting 8 of Lester Dent’s early air adventure stories! Dead Man’s Bones: The Air Adventure Stories of Lester Dent includes “Vulture Coast” as well as seven other two-fisted sky adventures! It has an introduction by historian Will Murray and appendices featuring background material, outlines and story submission notes from Dent’s personal papers! A great read! Pick it up from their website! It’s Dead Men’s Bones by Lester Dent!

And as a bonus, here’s a short plucky article from the Norman, Oklahoma Sooner State Press!

 

Fiction Field Beckons To Tulsa Tribune Man

Sooner State Press, Norman, OK • 20 December 1930

Lester Dent, who for the past four years has been an Associated Press operator and maintenance man detailed to the Tulsa Tribune, writing fiction on the side, has received an offer from Sky Riders, fiction magazine in New York, suggesting that he join the staff of this publication, according to the Tribune of December 8.

Less than two years ago, Dent turned his attention to fiction writing. He sent out 13 stories, all of which were rejected, then wrote the fourteenth, and found a market for it. He has sold to Popular Stories, Air Stories, Top-Notch, Action Stories and Sky Riders.

Some of the earlier titles were: “Pirate Cay,” “Death Zone,” “Buccaneers of the Midnight Sun” and “The Thirteen Million Dollar Robbery.” Later he wrote “Vulture Coast,” “The Devil’s Derelict,” “The Skeleton From Moon Cay,” and most recentlv “Hell Hop.”

William E. Barrett: Sign In and Tell Us About Yourself

Link - Posted by David on November 2, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

William E. Barrett is one of our favorite authors. Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—writing all matter of stories from Mystery to Detective to Aviation and War. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

Sign In

Recently I picked up a couple of issues of Dime Detective Magazine from 1935—May 15th and October, both featuring William E. Barrett’s unconventional crime solver, tattoo artist Needle Mike. And both featuring great Walter Baumhofer covers! Pretty decent shape for their price aside from the fact someone had to write their name across the guy’s chest on the May issue.

As I looked at it, I was thinking it looked familiar. . .
It couldn’t be . . .
. . . but I think it is.

Matching it up with other examples I have . . .

it matches pretty well—I think it’s William E Barrett’s signature scrawled across the chinaman’s chest! I got me a surprise signed copy!

And Tell Us About Yourself

SINCE William E. Barrett’s birthday is on the 16th of this month, we’re celebrating Barrett all month long with one of his stories each of the next three Fridays. To lay a little ground work, here is an autobiography Barrett had in the first and only issue of the digest-sized Swift Story Magazine (It fits in your pocket!) from November 1930:

I VENTED my first squawk at life in the City of New York on November 16, 1900. It was snowing like blazes that day, if I remember rightly. Anyway, 1 managed to survive the hazards of Manhattan boyhood until I was sixteen, then, while the native New Yorkers of my age were pouring in from Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota, I followed the family star of destiny to Colorado. I had prepared at Manhattan College Prep in New York for an engineering career, but this proved to be a misdeal and I took a whirl at reporting for a Denver daily. I never progressed past the cub stage and was fervently advised by a harassed city ed. that I never would. After that I became one of the young men who signed the coupon.

I took a correspondence course in engineering and went to work for a power company, continuing the engineering studies at night. After several years of misery at the drafting board an engineer, who took pride in his profession, intervened.

“Get thee into publicity work,” he said. “I’ll help you. Anything which reduces the quota of rotten engineers is a blessing, even if it adds to the ranks of the press agents.”

A publicity job with a big electrical manufacturer took me all over the West—mining camps, oil towns and every place where spectacular installations were made.

But presently some base deceiver told me about the big pay and easy hours in fictioneering and I tried my hand. By the time I found out the horrible truth, I was too badly bitten by the bug ever to escape. I learned to fly with the idea of writing air stories that would be authentic, then took a publicity job with a large aircraft company for about a year. Derek Dane was evolved out of the experiences of that year which brought me in touch with many characters fully as picturesque in background as Dane—men to whom the dramatic is daily fare.

Not because Mr. Patten is the boss when I write for you, but because it is so, I want to acknowledge him as one of the biggest influences in my life—that before I even knew his name was Patten. His Merriwell stories dominated my youth, and nobody ever toiled harder to be like some one than I did to be like Frank Merriwell. Not at all athletic, nor inclined to “big” effort, I still managed to make four school letters struggling to be Merriwell. Many other decisions were Merriwell colored, too—and a career is only a series of effects from a multitude of small decisions. I have two trunks of Merriwells—every one published—and will have my boy read them some time.

My total published stuff, if any one cares, is 263 short stories, 10 complete novels, 18 novelettes and countless articles. In Derek Dane I am not trying to create a detective of the master-mind school. Great thinkers are not lions for courage—thought convinces them of the folly of risk. I am thinking of the men who brought the law to the wilderness in the first place (the same type who will bring it back when it strays). Most of them were men who sought escape from the law some place else— not sticklers for the fine points of the written law, but foursquare for a square deal and for the rights of human beings to live their lives and keep what they have. Derek Dane stands for that and, if he steps outside the statute book to get results, he has fundamental laws to justify him.

I hope that the readers of Swift Story Magazine will like Derek Dane, and I’ll give them my pledge that as they get to know him better with succeeding yarns they will find him developing an increasing ability to entertain them. He is too complex a character to put across in one story.

My wife made her first short story sale this week and we are in a celebrating mood. She has helped me with so many of mine that it is a big kick to see her push across a yarn of her own. I’ve got a boy and a girl—to round out the personal narrative—and I’m still in love. . . .

Sorry there isn’t more plot or drama or excitement in this—but if there was, this being a sordid age, I’d probably stick a name like Pete Jones on myself and sell the darn thing.

Hasta luego,

“Challenge of the Cuckoos” by Alexis Rossoff

Link - Posted by David on October 23, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a fun tale of the Cuckoo’s Nest from the prolific pen of Alexis Rossoff. The Cuckoo’s Nest stories ran in War Birds in 1930. The Cuckoo’s are an outfit a lot like Keyhoe’s Jailbird Flight—a group of hell cats who found themselves afoul of military rules who have been given another chance to die fighting rather than rot in a Blois cell.

With the Germans stepping up their patrols in the Vosges in hopes of stumbling upon the Cuckoo’s hidden nest, “Limey” Barrow stacked the deck and left his fate to Lady Luck when he wrangled the mission to try to stop new recruits from trying to find their way to the Cuckoo’s Nest and inadvertently lead Jerry pilots to their front door as well! From the June 1930 issue of War Birds it’s Alexis Rossoff’s “Code of the Cuckoos!”

Boche eyes pierced through the skies, and that band of forgotten buzzards huddled with the only fear they knew— discovery and then return to the rotten disgrace of Blois. But out of that strange group of outcasts came “Limey” Barrow ready to play that shivering game with death on the last hunch that his sweetheart. Lady Luck, would not turn him down. Another sensational yarn of those renegades of the air—the Cuckoos!

“Code of the Cuckoos” by Alexis Rossoff

Link - Posted by David on August 7, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a fun tale of the Cuckoo’s Nest from the prolific pen of Alexis Rossoff. The Cuckoo’s Nest stories ran in War Birds in 1930. The Cuckoo’s are an outfit a lot like Keyhoe’s Jailbird Flight—a group of hell cats who found themselves afoul of military rules who have been given another chance to die fighting rather than rotting in Blois cell.

Twenty saddened Cuckoos stood with heads uncovered and bowed in the eerie ghost dampness of the new dawn, paying their last respects to all that remained mortal of Jerry Coyne. A sorrowful grease-ball smoothed the surface of the fresh mound while Johnny Walker—his voice husky with emotion—intoned the war-bird benediction. “God, be kind to Jerry Coyne. He was a good scout and our buddy.” The Cuckoos added their earnest “Amen,” and the ordeal was at an end. One more of the flock had gone West to paradise on spirit wings. Who would be the next to follow Jerry Coyne? That was the question. From the April 1930 issue of War Birds it’s Alexis Rossoff’s “Code of the Cuckoos!”

Already the throbbing sky in the distance was heavy with dire promise. It was a grim, spectacular game—the cards were dealt out to a strange group of fighting war birds—as strange as that part of the Front had ever heard of, and the stakes were the now-worthless lives of those men. Johnny Walker winged on to an ominous rendezvous with death. A yarn about an outfit you will never forget!

“The General’s Glasses” by O.B. Myers

Link - Posted by David on July 3, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week, he have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author O.B. Myers! Myers was a pilot himself, flying with the 147th Aero Squadron and carrying two credited victories and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

When the visiting General sent Jake Munns back to his headquarters to fetch his binoculars, he had no idea that t would be those same glasses that would save his life! From the June 1930 issue of War Birds, it’s O.B. Myers’ “The General’s Glasses!”

The cockeyed general sent Jake Munns winging for his field glasses. But when Jake went to look for the general again he found him in the center of No-Man’s-Land, and what they didn’t find out about those glasses!

“The Cloud Cracker” by Frederick C. Davis

Link - Posted by David on June 19, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a short story by renowned pulp author Frederick C. Davis. Davis is probably best remembered for his work on Operator 5 where he penned the first 20 stories, as well as the Moon Man series for Ten Detective Aces and several other continuing series for various Popular Publications. He also wrote a number of aviation stories that appeared in Aces, Air Stories and Wings. “The Cloud Cracker” was published in the September 1930 issue of Air Stories magazine.

A phantom flew with the Fourteenth’s patrols. Norton laughed when Fokkers lashed with fangs of steel at another Yank—for he played a double game to win doom wings.

“Test Flight” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on June 12, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air.

After Captain Ted Strang, Yankee Flight Commander, is injured in a crash—he fights his way back to being able to fly again. Thinking it may be his best chance, he makes the most of a test flight in hopes of getting back in the game! From the August 1930 issue of War Aces, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Test Flight!”

They clipped his wings and sent him to the rear. When the black menace of the enemy reached out to spread it’s venom over London he knew that only the magic of his guns could prove his valor.

“The Cuckoo’s Nest” by Alexis Rossoff

Link - Posted by David on May 8, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a fun tale from the prolific pen of Alexis Rossoff. Rossoff started out in the ’20’s writing air and war fiction for the various magazines. By the mid-30’s he had shifted his focus away from tales of WWI intrigue to sports stories. Here we have the first of his Cuckoo’s Nest stories that ran in War Birds in 1930. The Cuckoo’s are an outfit a lot like Keyhoe’s Jailbird Flight—a group of hell cats who found themselves afoul of military rules who have been given another chance to die fighting rather than rotting in Blois cell.

Jerry pilots with victory in their grasp but seconds before, looked up and fear feathers brushed their spines. They had heard of the Cuckoos from wounded comrades lucky enough to escape the previous furious attacks of the wild birds that now hovered above them. From the March 1930 issue of War Birds it’s Alexis Rossoff’s “The Cuckoo’s Nest!”

Into the hell of forgotten men, otherwise known as Blols, plunged that king bird of the war brood, “Wild Bill” Barry. The shell-ripped,”battle-torn world heard no more of him officially he was listed as a deserter—but from that moment a new bird sprouted wings out of the stench of Blois. And that new war bird was part of the lousiest, stinkin’est outfit of bums that ever slashed the belly out of an enemy crate.

“Kilauea or Crash” by C.M. Miller

Link - Posted by David on April 10, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of C.M. Miller! Miller is known to Age of Aces readers as the author behind Chinese Brady, an old war horse who’s fought in most every scrap there’s been.

This week it’s nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thrills as young Jimmy Barton flies through falling ash and sulpheric fumes to try and to save Old Whippersnapper’s daughter from the crater’s edge of an erupting volcano! From the pages of the August 1930 issue of Wings, it’s “Kilauea or Crash!”

Crashed in the crater! Barton was trapped. But the volcano had spouted its challenge, and there was a girl to rescue . . .

The Three Mosquitoes battle “The Squadron from Nowhere” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 8, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

“LET’S GO!” Once more, The Three Mosquitoes familiar battle cry rings out over the western front and the three khaki Spads take to the air, each sporting the famous Mosquito insignia. In the cockpits sat three warriors who were known wherever men flew as the greatest and most hell raising trio of aces ever to blaze their way through overwhelming odds—always in front was Kirby, their impetuous young leader. Flanking him on either side were the mild-eyed and corpulent Shorty Carn, and lanky Travis, the eldest and wisest Mosquito.

Were back with the second of three Three Mosquitoes stories we’re presenting this month. The Three Mosquitoes have been dispatched to the Scottish Highlands to investigate sightings of German Gothas! Equipped with brand new Sopwiths, the Three Mosquitoes take on The Black Raiders and try to fathom how these planes could even be this far from their Fatherland and so perilously close to the shipbuilding yards of Deemsgate! It’s a mystery whose answer lies in the craggy mountains of Scotland!

An awed gasp broke from the tense watchers, for at that moment they saw a red light glow into sudden livid brilliance directly above them, until it became a ball of red fire which illuminated the whole sky. A parachute flare with a message from the mysterious raiders! Who were they? How did they get there? These and a hundred other questions baffled the Three Mosquitoes as they prepared to do battle with—black shadows.

If you enjoyed this tale of our intrepid trio, check out some of the other stories of The Three Mosquitoes we have posted by clicking the Three Mosquitoes tag or check out one of the three volumes we’ve published on our books page!

Humpy & Tex in “Flight of the Goofus Bird” by Allan R. Bosworth

Link - Posted by David on January 4, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of the Navy’s own Allan R. Bosworth. Bosworth wrote a couple dozen stories with Humpy & Tex over the course of ten years from 1930 through 1939, mostly in the pages of War Aces and War Birds. The stories are centered around the naval air base at Ile Tudy, France. “Humpy” Campbell, a short thickset boatswain’s mate, first class who was prone to be spitting great sopping globs of tabacco juice, was a veteran seaplane pilot who would soon rate two hashmarks—his observer, Tex Malone, boatswain’s mate, second class, was a D.O.W. man fresh from the Texas Panhandle. Everybody marveled at the fact that the latter had made one of the navy’s most difficult ratings almost overnight—but the answer lay in his ability with the omnipresent rope he constantly carried.

Humpy & Tex find themselves down in the ocean with a dead motor, their only hopes of rescue depend upon their beloved Goofus Bird! From the pages of the une 1930 issue of War Aces it’s Allan R. Bosworth’s—”Flight of the Goofus Bird!”

Down with a dead motor on the cold waters of the Atlantic they were at the mercy of the U-boat that lay in wait. Humpy and Tex faced a terrible death, but then there was their beloved Goofus bird—

“Sausage Men Are Crazy” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 2, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

NOVEMBER 16th is William E. Barrett’s Birthday, so all this month we’ll be celebrating some of Barrett’s contributions to the pulps! Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—and nowhere more so than in War Birds and it’s companion magazine War Aces where he contributed smashing novels and novelettes, True tales of the Aces of the Great War, encyclopedic articles on the great war planes as well as other factual features. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

We’ll be featuring four of Barrett’s aviation themed tales—one each Friday—and a few of his factual features—Famous Firsts and Is That a Fact?—peppered throughout the month. First up we have a tale of Tommy Curtis and Sergeant Clymer, observers with the 4th Balloon Company. Clymer was old and grizzled—as hard as they make them, and born to army life. He had hooted at first, when they teamed him with Tommy “That weak sister!” Curtis—nothing in his experience had prepared him to understand a man who blushed and stammered and carried another man’s picture in his watch! Curtis was a slender hundred-and-forty pounder, to whom no talk was fighting talk and Clymer had been prepared to dislike Tommy Curtis and to make his life miserable. That was before he took to the air with him!

Four crashing jumps from a flaming sausage in one day were enough for one man. When Eddie met the pilot who knocked them down and boasted—Sausage Men Are Crazy!

From the June 1930 War Aces, it’s William E. Barrett’s “Sausage Men are Crazy!”

“The Ceiling Ace” by Raoul Whitfield

Link - Posted by David on October 19, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by Raoul Whitfield! Whitfield is primarily known for his hardboiled crime fiction published in the pages of Black Mask, but he was equally adept at lighter fair that might run in the pages of Breezy Stories. We’ve posted a few of his Buck Kent stories from Air Trails. While the Buck Kent stories were contemporary (1930’s), “The Ceiling Ace” from the August 1930 issue of War Aces is set in The Great War.

Every time the ships of the black cross ripped their lead at him he ran to the ceiling. They called him yellow, but that day when the heavens shrieked at man-made fury he held the fate of the squadron on his wings.

“Night Bird” by Syl MacDowell

Link - Posted by David on September 21, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by Syl MacDowell! MacDowell is probably best known for his westerns. Here, MacDowell gives us a aviation yarn with a western twist—the title character is an albino Navajo who is able to see clearly in the dark! From the December 1930 issue of War Aces, it’s “Night Bird.”

He was an Indian and proud of the red blood than ran in his veins. When other wings failed to smash the force of that attacking horde, he tried in his own way and showed them that the redman knew the meaning of courage.

Humpy & Tex in “Hell and Highwater” by Allan R. Bosworth

Link - Posted by David on August 31, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of the Navy’s own Allan R. Bosworth. Bosworth wrote a couple dozen stories with Humpy & Tex over the course of ten years from 1930 through 1939, mostly in the pages of War Aces and War Birds. The stories are centered around the naval air base at Ile Tudy, France. “Humpy” Campbell, a short thickset boatswain’s mate, first class who was prone to be spitting great sopping globs of tabacco juice, was a veteran seaplane pilot who would soon rate two hashmarks—his observer, Tex Malone, boatswain’s mate, second class, was a D.O.W. man fresh from the Texas Panhandle. Everybody marveled at the fact that the latter had made one of the navy’s most difficult ratings almost overnight—but the answer lay in his ability with the omnipresent rope he constantly carried.

Humpy & Tex find themselves in “Hell and Highwater” when they find themselves heading toward the front in a seaplane looking for some water to land in! From the pages of the May 1930 issue of War Aces

Action was slow over the English Channel and the demon sea plane pilots had a yen for the Front and hot combat. When their gas ran out there was only one river to land on, and that was lined with machine guns. They couldn’t land, and they couldn’t fly, so—

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