034 05/37 Mad Eyes

Chuck Welch
May 17, 1997 - 1937 / bama / Bantam 025-036 / donovan / harris / nanovic / novel / pulp

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Suddenly the air was filled with a thousand glistening reptiles. Suddenly Doc Savage became the cruelest of mass murderers. Suddenly the world was threatened with extinction by the contamination of its water supply. In the space of twenty-four hours the Earth became a seething storm of agony as the menace of the slithering madness struck in all its fury!

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  1. Barry Ellis says:

    I have to admit that I enjoy many of the Doc stories that were “ghosted” by Donovan precisely because they ARE “darker” than Dent’s tales. I love the atmosphere of mystery and REAL danger present in this story. Admittedly, there seems to have been some sloppy editing somewhere along the line as some of the plot turns seem to make no sense (maybe when Bantam issued it?). But, I DO love this story and put it in my top 20 Docs.

  2. Scott Kimball says:

    For a Donovan novel, this one is amazingly well crafted. Sure, there is the occasional incomprehensible sentence or paragraph that leaves the reader floating in space, rather than in the flow of the story, but I could actually understand most of this book…, well, sort of, anyway. Thomas Thortenberry mentioned in his recent post about THE BLACK SPOT, that in that book ANYBODY could uncannily imitate ANYBODY else, and completely fool EVERYBODY. Well, Donovan is up to the same tricks in this book. Right from the beginning, one of the villians is disguised as Doc and easily fools everybody, including the cops, Renny, Long Tom, Monk, Ham, and Johnny. Hell, he even makes a darned good imitation of Doc’s eerie trilling noise. While the fake Doc is running around causing all kinds
    of mayhem, the real doc is tied up in a sewer dungeon somewhere under New York. Huge, viscious rats are surrounding him, and occasionally biting off hunks of Doc’s flesh. Truely a terrible, creepy scene, but of course, totally ridiculous at the same time… this is a Donovan novel after all. The fake Doc pays the real Doc one last visit in the dungeon, just to gloat and taunt him a bit. When the fake Doc finally leaves, the real Doc decides to let the rats chew off his ropes. He is mauled all to hell in the process, and loses a lot of blood. Then, to escape the rat hoardes, Doc takes a deep breath and swims underwater along the sewer, only to be confronted by an iron grill that he cannot budge. But just before Doc drowns, a big steam shovel kind of a thing, which just happens to be dredging the river at the same time, scoops up the iron grate with Doc still attached, and hauls him out of the water. Just minutes after this ordeal, Doc is perfectly disquised as Renny… he meets up with MOnk and the real Renny, kicks the real Renny out of the car, leaving him in the middle of nowhere, then drives off with MOnk. MOnk is the only one that knows the fake Renny is the Real Doc. Finally at the end, the gang notices that something isn’t quite right about the fake Doc’s trilling noise, and they figure it out. The fake doc turns out to be nobody of any importance, just that he had been an actor, and “probably a poor one.” Poor actor? Maybe they meant poor-finacially… anyway… MAD EYES is also loaded with great inventions that are straight out of an eight year old’s imagination, rather than an adult action/science fiction novelist. Not that I am complaining… this is some great stuff: “Super-lensed” binoculars that “show all objects in four dimensions at any distance.” This whole book is written in four dimensions, and I don’t even know what that means. There is also the “paralysis ray.” Another cool invention is the “air car.” Doc explains the operation of the air cars toward the end…”These cars are a type of super-diesel, which draws nearly all of its energy from the stratosphere.” Wow! I have also noticed that Donovan really likes big spheres, globes, metallic balls of all sorts. This whole story centers around some “magni-globes” that make people think they are going isane, hallucinating all kinds of bizzare monsters swirling all around them (won’t say any more about that.. I have probably given too much away allready. He likes black rods, too. I think in HE COULD STOP THE WORLD the bad guys pointed rods at peeps and they became zombies. The Bad guys in MAD EYES also have some black rods that they zap people with. All in all a cool book. Thumbs way up for this one! *****5 stars.

  3. Paul Cook says:

    At the 2003 Arizona Fans of Bronze Doc Con, we voted Mad Eyes as the worst Doc Savage novel ever. It’s got a dynamite Bama cover and a great R.G. Harris cover, but the book just doesn’t come up to the standards that Dent set for the series . . . or even up to the standards that were set by the other ghosts. This just isn’t “Doc”.

  4. Michael Bloom says:

    I have to agree with Paul… this IS the Worst Doc Ever.

    Well, maybe it’s tied for worst with THE MEN WHO SMILED NO MORE.

    Read this only if you plan to read the entire series of novels.

  5. Tom Gallagher says:

    Renny comments toward the end of the book “This is about the nuttiest set-up I ever encountered!” And I have to agree. Although the first half to two-thirds of the book moves quickly, this is the most confusing, plot-less book of the series so far (reading them in order of publication). If this had been book number one, there would be one less Doc Savage fan in the world.

    Some of Donavon’s work has interesting and inventive sci-fi type aspects that provide a certain appeal, even if not very well written nor well-plotted. Mad Eyes, though, is a complete waste of paper and the reader’s time.

  6. Richard Cording says:

    Sorry, guys, but this novel gets five stars from me. Taste is, perhaps, one of the least understood qualities in the human experience — I’ve barely been able to finish Doc Savage yarns that other fans have raved about, and enjoyed tales that others considered bad. Also, Laurence Donovan aka Norman Danberg is my favourite Doc ghost writer. Several touches made MAD EYES a supreme reading experience for me. Firstly, the menace of the slithering evil was an exceptionately terrifying one. So simple when Doc explained it at the end, but, oh, so effective! Secondly, I can’t remember ever reading a Doc yarn where he had been rendered helpless for a good third of the story by the sinister mastermind. This was a good ploy — usually, whenever Doc is rendered hors de combat in the course of an adventure, the reader knows instinctively that The Man Of Bronze will be back in action in two shakes or so. But in this novel, I felt a definite building of suspense once it had been revealed that Doc was securely imprisoned in the sewer under New York. And, lastly, the ultimate identity of the aforementioned sinister mastermind! I won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t yet read the story, but it certainly came as a total surprise to me. An excellent read!

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