Quite a few years ago there was a shenanigan perpetuated by Doc Savage fans. Well, not all of the fans. Just a few. At dinner during a Pulpcon, a few of us marveled over the lists of Jay Ryan. In a homemade collection of sheets Jay has assembled all sorts of information about the various […]
Quite a few years ago there was a shenanigan perpetuated by Doc Savage fans. Well, not all of the fans. Just a few. At dinner during a Pulpcon, a few of us marveled over the lists of Jay Ryan. In a homemade collection of sheets Jay has assembled all sorts of information about the various editions of Doc Savage. We wondered, “What if Jay has missed one?” Many eyes lit up and we agreed…there had to be a novel that Bantam had planned to publish. One that had been announced. Cover art commissioned. Maybe even a few copies were printed for book reviewers.
And Jay had missed it.
What follows is the timeline of that shenanigan. Written almost 14 years ago, the timeline has been resurrected for DocSavage.Org. As for Bleeding Sun itself, ask around at Pulpfest. Maybe someone has a copy you can borrow.
First, we had the idea for the shenanigan. Next we had a cover. Then we had the back cover blurb.
8-4-1998 Doc and his courageous crew race to the Far East to combat the Axis plague! Can they solve the mystery of an insidious new weapon certain to turn the tide of the war? What causes the sun to turn red and ships to disappear? Can mere light really turn a man to smoke and ashes? Will Doc and Monk save Ham in time or will he too die under a bleeding sun?
Then, Bill had a story idea.
Email 8-6-98 This is my idea on the story line. Doc and Long Tom are in Norfolk working on a new radar system for the Navy in preparation for the invasion of Japan. The head of Naval intelligence, Admiral J. Ryan, disappears after a strange red cloud appears in the Navy base in Norfolk and causes ships to melt and turns men to ashes. Doc analyzes the remains and discovers a rare element that is only found in the coastal islands of Japan. Doc and Long Tom immediately take off for Japan in hopes of finding Admiral Ryan before he reveals the secret plans for the invasion.
We didn’t have a real novel though. Bleeding Sun might have ended then and there. Then another email from Duane.
Email excerpt 8-13-98 Meanwhile, I have a weird idea: If you think it’s worth trying, I’d like to take the ideas everyone’s thrown out about #127 and actually take a stab at writing the “unpublished novel.” (Okay, okay, I’ve always had a grandiose dream of wanting to be one of the Kenneth Robesons.) You could serialize it on your site as the Chapter of the Week or something like that.
A great idea! Which led to a lot of hard work. Two years of hard work. Using the barest bones of the blurb he began writing Bleeding Sun. I promised to publish each chapter as he finished it. At a chapter per month I figured we’d have the novel finished by Pulpcon 2000. Of course, neither one of us counted on family and careers delaying the project.
I doubt Duane let Bill’s idea and my cover blurb dictate his novel. We didn’t discuss how he planned to plot the novel and my editorial interference was limited to a couple of suggestions.
Email 10-29-1998 After reading the two adventures that supposedly precede and follow “Bleeding Sun” — “Trouble on Parade” and “The Screaming Man” — it’s clear that the Doc who appears in 1945 is quite different from the Doc of the early 1930s. Even the language and tone that Dent uses is quite different. So I’ve tried to combine a little of both the early 1930s and 1945. I hope it works. — Duane
I know he had planned the tone and timing of the novel pretty early on. There are a few familiar names used as character names and I want to state emphatically that all characters in this novel are fictions and any resemblance to persons living or dead is unintended.
It was wonderful reading each new chapter as Duane mailed them to me. Even more I enjoyed being able to read the complete novel in one weekend last week. I hope you’ve enjoyed this welcome addition to the Doc Savage cannon as much as I have.
Now if I can just convince Duane to start writing Terror of the Death Devil