2 thoughts on “The Angry Canary

  1. This is one of the few Doc pulps I own, and I read it in its pulp format, rather than in the Bantam paperback reprint. (One illustration by artist Edd Cartier accompanied this digest-sized tale.) This story is quite different from the sort of supersagas of the 1930s that most Doc fans prefer. THE ANGRY CANARY is more of an adventure tale. The style is more understated, and the dilemmas and escapes are not so spectacular, as in the early Doc novels. But there is some mystery that held my attention, and it was more enjoyable than some of the post-War Doc novels that I’ve read.

  2. This one is an excellent example of how a work of fiction can bridge the gap from between generations. Inspired by actual historical events (India’s independence), this one manages to deal thematically with what was going on in that part of the world in 1948 and yet still be just as relevant today. To see Doc, Monk and Ham journeying to Afghanistan to stop a madman from teaching religious zealots to hate resonates with our generation as much, if not more, than it did back then. This one is also fast paced and has moments of reflection not usually part of adventure fiction. And there is some good insight into what the post-WWII world was like as far as the common man. In Chapter 2, there is an excellent passage on the new cynicism of the “grounded” survivors of that terrible conflict and how all Doc stands for has been cheapened by charlatans and is no longer relevant in the world of ’48:
    “Doc Savage’s work was itself out of place in a currently war-cynical and distrustful civilization to make it the subject of disbelief, of ridicule. That sort of thing perhaps had been believable in the days of Galahad, but it had become as unfashionable as tin pants, rescuing damsels in distress and knighthood in general. In plain words, the gag had been worked to death. Too many politicians had instigated wars to save humanity, until it was becoming pretty clear that what the world needed was saving from the leaders who were continually getting control of the masses. The world was getting wiser, or at least more cynical, about the whole saving business with its iron curtains and goose-stepping. Do-gooding was out of style these days. A guy was supposed to have an angle. And if the angle wasn’t at once apparent, the thing to do was to be disbelieving and hold an air of ridicule. Doc Savage’s ‘angle’ wasn’t apparent, and for a pretty good reason. He didn’t have one. He did good, righted wrongs, punished evildoers, did scientific work so completely for the benefit of humanity as a whole that money-minded corporations, or publicity-minded ‘foundations’wouldn’t finance it, and the only return he received was inner satisfaction. It was well that he expected no other return, too. Satisfaction was frequently all he got.”
    This are sad, tragic words that unfortunately are as true today as back then. And the nature of what Doc is trying to stop in this adventure needs stopping today as well. Too bad Doc isn’t here to remind us of the best we are capable of. Don’t let the title of this one fool you. This is a great story and one of the best Docs I’ve ever read.

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