This was originally published on Larry Widen’s website.
A Message from Will Murray
In the Fall of 1992, I hit a snag writing my 7th Doc novel, The Forgotten Realm. I had a very heavy schedule and couldn’t afford any down time. I expected to be writing three Docs, as well as the usual four Destroyers, in 1993. I had to keep going.
I didn’t want to start my next Destroyer early and lose the Kenneth Robeson mood. So in anticipation of my next Doc contract I started three Docs, The Infernal Buddha, The War Maker and The Phantom Lagoon, which was then titled Hell Cay, putting them aside when I solved my problems with The Forgotten Realm. I figured these chapters would give me a head start on my next three Docs.
As most Doc fans know, Bantam chose to put the Man of Bronze on another infamous hiatus, and I never got to finish those Docs, though I did the next spring write the opening chapter to a fourth Doc, The Ice Genius, when inspiration got the better of me.
I don’t know whether or not I’ll ever get to finish these novels, as well as the others I had planned, including The Smoking Spooks, The Nullifier, Grotto of Spiders and Terror in Gold. That’s up to Bantam Books. But I remain optimistic.
Rather than letting them languish on my hard disk, I thought I’d share them with my fellow Doc fans.
While they speak for themselves, a few words about their positions in the chronology of the series.
The Infernal Buddha is set in 1937, during the time of the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. It takes place after my The Whistling Wraith, which follows Lester Dent’s The Sea Angel.
Phantom Lagoon takes place circa 1939, as does The Ice Genius, which will feature the return of a major Doc Savage foe. I haven’t placed them exactly in my Doc chronology, which is based on the order Dent wrote the novels as opposed to the Street & Smith publication order.
The War Maker is based on the unused portions of the outline to The Devil Genghis–which is most of it actually!– and falls neatly between Fortress of Solitude and The Devil Genghis. It’s designed to tie up a lot of loose ends left dangling when those novels were spaced apart, defeating Dent’s plan to run them as consequtive adventures
I hope Doc fans will enjoy these glimpses of unfinished Docs and excuse any early-draft flaws they might find. I’d enjoy hearing comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you’d like to read the complete stories, for heaven’s sake, don’t tell me… tell Bantam Books. I’m just the latest in a long line of writers who take pride in signing himself– –Kenneth Robeson