015 11/35 Murder Melody

by

It began with a series of quakes which tore huge, gaping holes in the surface of the earth. Soon the sky over the Northwest was filled with the bodies of strange floating men playing a weird melody of death. Was the world doomed? Could Doc Savage and his Fabulous five save it from almost certain destruction? Join them as they race to the center of the earth for a titanic battle with the power-crazed leaders of a fantastic super-civilization.


3511.jpg 015.jpg

Tags

Share This

11 Comments

  1. Andrew Salmon

    This one has always been one of my favorites though I seem to be in the minority on this. One reason is because it’s set in Vancouver where I live and Stanley Park (where the early action) takes place is well rendered. I also like the Murder Melody and the men swooping down from the sky. It’s outlandish and campy and I love it.If you’ve missed this one, give it a try.

  2. Scott Kimball

    I agree with the previous post… Murder Melody is worth reading just for the images of the silvery-faced guys playing “death flutes” while using gravity belts to descend from the sky, hover in mid-air, or fly wherever they please. Doc and his crew’s fight-and-get-captured-break-free-only to get captured again gets kind of old as it does in some of the other books. Pretty cool if you like goofy sci-fi action from the 30’s, and when it involves Doc, of course, it only makes it better.

  3. Scott Kimball

    I agree with the previous post… Murder Melody is worth reading just for the images of the silvery-faced guys playing “death flutes” while using gravity belts to descend from the sky, hover in mid-air, or fly wherever they please. Doc and his crew’s fight-and-get-captured-break-free-only to get captured again gets kind of old as it does in some of the other books. Pretty cool if you like goofy sci-fi action from the 30’s, and when it involves Doc, of course, it only makes it better.

  4. Barry Ellis

    A lot of Doc fans HATE this story, but I’ve always loved it. One of THE most far-fetched Doc tales, and enjoyable just because of that fact. Not quite ‘Land Of Always-Night’, but right up there with that pinnacle of the Doc “lost civilization” stories.

  5. Todd Pence

    “Murder Melody” marks the debut of Doc Savage ghostwriter Laurence Donovan (also known as Norman Danberg), who wrote nine Doc novels during this period. Although Donovan has a pretty good handle on the concept and characters of the series, his Doc stories are quite different from Dent’s. Donovan went for a more blockbuster-action type of epic on a scale even grander than Dent’s. Although Donovan’s stories are enjoyable to Doc fans, their canonicity must be seriously called into question. Doc is shown as having devices which are not present in the Dent tales. For example, in many of the Donovan novels, Doc’s radio is equipped with a televisor so he can see the person he is communicating with. Yet in Dent’s “The Yellow Cloud”, which supposedly takes place several years after the Donovan books, we learn that Long Tom had just devised the first experimental model of a radio equipped with television capability!! How, then, could Doc have had such a device during the time of the Donovan tales? One can best enjoy Donovan’s Doc tales if one views them as occuring in an alternate universe slightly different from that of Dent’s Doc.

  6. I read this book right after “Land of Always Night” and “Fantastic Island” and they all seemed of a piece to me: exciting adventures, exotic locals, even touches of science fiction. I also liked the Bantam cover though Doc does seem to have a few wrinkles under his chin. Since I had already read “Pellucidar” and “Tarzan at the Earth’s Core”, I was already prepped for the “civilization inside the earth” trope and found myself enjoying this novel (though later being quite willing to dismiss it in favor of the canonical Docs). Still, I can recommend this book for its escapist pleasure (even if parts of it seem silly). As for Donovan’s writing style, it’s a bit more wordy than Dent and more lyrical and descriptive, but that wan not a deterrant for me.

  7. Mark Carpenter

    This is a typical Donovan tale

  8. Well, I typically am the big naysayer about Donovan tales because of their outlandish qualities. He tends to dwell in SF/fantasy realms moreso than Doc’s grounded scientific reality. But I decided to reread this because of all the positivity abounding. It is (if you just throw out canonical realism and enjoy) a fun read. Reminds me I really liked this one as a kid. There are some great descriptions of the underworld, Subterranea, its society, and its vast mineral wealth. Doc’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.

    Completely ignoring all the complaints I have, I’ll mention a few positives: in these Donovan tales Doc is completely superhuman: stronger, swifter, smarter than everyone. He rips a door off a car without even grunting. He can dodge and lunge superfast and jump super high. He can climb walls like a fly and in one scene leaves fingermarks all the weay up a wall of solid gold. Once, he is falling so fast that when he grabs a rope it smokes all the way down. Here his memory is not just photgraphic, his senses are too, with tactile and visual recall. Also he masters flying the extremely advanced inner-earth uniships (like spaceships moving through solid rock) at a single glance. When he revives he is not groggy but becomes instantly conscious. It is 0 to 100 with this guy.

    There are some nice moments in this book for the aids also. Johnny is in awe at his surroundings. It is paradise for a geologist to fly in a clear-walled ship down through the crust of the earth and explore all its layers. Renny knocks an entire panel out of a deck housing and is so angry he rips free of a straight jacket affair wihen inprisoned. And Renny’s skill at one point is said to be exceeded only by Doc’s (natch,) but hey, nice going Renny. That’s a hell of a comparison. Monk has a very rare running war with the female lead in this book instead of falling for her. The stunningly beautiful/intelligent Lanta shoots them (with their own weapons no less) and captures them repeatedly so that Monk outright hates her and distrusts her throughout the entire book. He says, “everytime she gets a chance she shoots us.” Very rare to see him vehemently dislike a girl, or at least not eventually soften his opinion sometimes due to her beauty.

    Finally, a great point is made. Near the end a weapon is unleashed in Subterranea and the horror of a civilization’s first touch of explosive destruction is shockingly portrayed and prefigures quite well the shock of the world when the first atomic weapons were unleashed on Japan during WWII. Utopian ideals are promulgated and of course promptly obliterated by the hatemongering warriors of the world. But such is life.

  9. Joe Salamone

    I read a few Doc Savage books when I was a kid and I loved them. Years later, I have been able to piece together a large collection of these old Bantam books . . . I think I have about 125 – 130 of them (including some of the doubles and omnibus books). I am in the process of reading them in sequence (the Bantam sequence – – not the original magazine sequence). I am currently reading #24 THE GREEN EAGLE. So far, MURDER MELODY is the one I have enjoyed the least. I couldn’t get into it and I ended up reading the first 2 or 3 chapters several times because my mind was wandering so much while I was reading. I think it took me about a month to finish the book because I could never force myself to read more than a few pages at a time. Another one I had trouble with was THE SPOOK LEGION. I’m sure that I will eventually go back and read these books again. Maybe I’ll like them better the second time around. My favorites so far have been THE THOUSAND HEADED MAN, METEOR MENACE, QUEST OF QUI, THE SARGASSO OGRE, and THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE. When I was a kid, I enjoyed THE METAL MASTER, THE LIVING FIRE MENACE, and THE MYSTERY ON THE SNOW. I’m looking forward to reading them again.

  10. Good choices there, Joe. I quite agree with you about MURDER MELODY, though… it was bloody hideous! Like you, I struggled with it too; however, unlike you, I was unable to finish it. I find it hard to believe, even now, that it was written by Laurence Donovan, my favourite Dent ghost-writer – he was certainly having a very bad day when he tore off this dog!

  11. Mike Adkins

    I think this was among the first doc books I read, perhaps even the very first, purchased new right off the Wal-Mart paperback rack. I remember little of it, have never read it since, but I do recall that it was rather out there compared to the rest of the stories. Another on the list of re-reads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *