7 thoughts on “The Majii

  1. Okay, so when I first read the Bantam cover blurb for “The Majii,” I thought it sounded like bad ’60s adventure. I mean, “drugs and advanced hypnotism,” come on! But it was still a cool adventure. Doc and the crew face an opponent that can seemingly leave their “company” whenever he wishes (even out of locked rooms) and they can’t get a hold on. And, of course, they must enter a dangerous country and face the real enemy, who can’t die. Or can he? Excellent adventure.

  2. Another one of my absolute favorites. Everything just came together so well in this tale, a perfect combination of advenutre, mood and and atmosphere. The Bama cover is incredible.

  3. WOW!!! Now this is the stuff! I’ll go ahead and give this my hands-down vote as my favorite Doc Savage story as well as one of the greatest pulp novels ever written! Compelling from page one and with several unforgettable scenes (like the one early on in the book where the Rama makes the two gunmen shoot themselves in the head), this is an example of the Dent formula at its best. It starts out with several of the most bizarre plot elements in any Doc Savage story, but this is only a build up to the fantastic finale – the reader wonders how all the strange stuff in this one is going to be explained logically, yet it is and hangs together in the end. If you’re a Doc Savage fan and you haven’t read this one yet – well, it’s like being a Shakespeare fan who hasn’t read “Hamlet”. What are you waiting for? Best Doc ever!!!

  4. It was weird seeing Monk take this adventure over. But refreshing. This was a good adventure, lots of twists and turns and an interesting mystery. What took away from all that was the writing. I found it just didn’t flow and was choppy in parts. Perhaps time constraints prevented one last revision. With a little polishing, this one would have been one of the all time best. Still a good read though.

  5. The Majii is a good Doc, though of course not one of the top tier. The hoodoo of the villian is just magic and hypnosis, so we don’t find here a fantastic superscience threat or the like. This is one of the upheaval in a third world nation hidden behind the mysticism of the common people type tales.
    What is interesting from a geopolitical point of view is that here we find Doc once more drawn into international intrigue in southern Asia, in the Himalayan kingdom of Jondore on the northern border of India. It is a small, rugged kingdom beside Nepal which has a beautiful central valley wherein lies the capital Dacal, beside a pristene lake, and high above it — vitally important to the later action of the book — lies the ancient, sacred tomb of the Majii. This tomb I shall explain in a moment, as another great Doc-ism. To finish the point about Jondore, it is an English protectorate trying to break free (no doubt inspired like other books in the series by the subcontinent’s strife arising from the independence of India and its fractioning into Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The villain specifically states that he is reacting to the oppression of brown peoples by the whites of the West, specifically the English. That is pretty enlightened thinking for its era (1935) and shows again how far ahead the Doc series was in portraying subtle shades of grey in the stories’ villains and their motivations. At one point Doc is kept out of the kingdom by the British because the Jondorean king orders it and the Brits do not wish him to spark the powder keg that Jondore has become for the Empire. Doc gets in by pretending to leave India on a ship, which he then leaves at sea and rows back secretly (the ship covers for him because he owns the entire ship company) so that he and his aids can then sneak into Jondore.
    A Long Tom note. He isn’t in the beginning of the adventure (Johnny and Renny aren’t already on jobs elsewhere), but when Doc calls him to join in he complains he just got a $50,000 contract and is about to leave overseas for some South American work. Doc telsl him to go ahead and take the money, but then tempts him with the lure of the current mystery which prompts Long Tom to instantly blow his own contract out of the water and join in. His reward? He gets captured, beat up, hypnotized, and shot in the shoulder in Jondore. Life’s hard and exciting with Doc, but it sure isn’t a moneymaking easy lifestyle. Their resumes all must loook funny. Job: Electrical engineer and chief designer of hydroelectric dam — didn’t show up; got shot in another country chasing genies.
    An interesting thing about Doc Savage tales is how they rejuvenate or retell ancient myths. Dent was a master of reinventing older tales, cliches, and/or using literary/cultural allusions in new, unique, and exciting ways. He does so again here. First, the story starts out with some Madame Blavatsky-esque occult clubism amongst the uber-wealthy in NYC. The people are, naturally, being duped out of their money so we can fund rebellion in Asia — but hey, what they are too stupid to comprehend they need not worry about. The bad guy, Rama Tura, also utilizes a little Dracula convention as he is carried around in a coffin and is supposed to be ancient and undying. He rises out of it for his shows and returns to it after a la the Count. Next, the entire plot hinges around the legend of the Majii. He is an ancient mystic that lived thousands of years ago in Jondore and was buried there atop a mountain. it is explained that Majii is the English transliteration of the Jondorean version of Genii. And the cave he inhabited on the mountain is said to be the original genii cave of Aladdin. This brings us to the root, the 1001 Nights, and the fact that it is a Muslim book. From this connection Dent seems to have drawn the mausoleum constructed atop the cave. Because it is a massive cube carved on dense black stone, just like the tomb of Mohammed in Mecca. But transporting this holy shrine to the Himalayas, adding in the magic of Aladdin, his lamp and the genii, and covering it all with Eastern Tibetan-esque mysticism makes for a unique, riveting pulp yarn. This is the same level of reinterpretive magic that Robert E. Howard was able to pull off by recycling myths, literature, and history into an ancient barbarian past.
    A note on Doc Superman: Doc Savage performs a series of inhuman tasks in here that is breathtaking. At the end they say he is nearly exhausted on his feet and no wonder! After getting captured and thrown into a deep well, Doc and Monk escape by holding hands, pressing against each other and walking up the walls of their deep prison. This takes almost an hour and they fall back eleven times before they reach the top and get the lid off to escape. Even then Monk falls down when Doc moves to grab the grate at the top and lands thirty feet below or something horrific like that. If he weren’t a bullape, he’d never survive. Next, Doc follows the criminals out of that prison village back to their lair. one small problem: they are on horseback and he is barefooted. What the hell, he runs behind them for not one, not three, but five straight hours. Five. And then they reach the valley of the capital and the tomb. they take a trail and he ascends the mountain. Then they fight and have the final showdown inside the temple with a huge mob of baddies, during which he is beaten and knifed and gased, etc. Oh yeah, and in the end, by morning, trying to help his men escape, he is shot in the leg. He doesn’t even acknowledge it and keeps fighting until he is about to faint. Then Monk and all notice he is bleeding and tired. Oh, you think? The man is truly Hercules. Of course he explains it is just good conditioning from the two-hour workout all his life. But hell. That’s amazing in any book. They state at one point he doesn’t ever enter atheletic competitions because he doesn’t want all the press attention. Yeah, that’s because he’d beat every living athlete into the ground and not even break a sweat.
    One final note on Monk: Monk is a bloodthirsty mofo. Twice in this tale he kilsl or causes to be accidentally killed crooks and then looks at Doc and goes whoops! It was an accident. He gets away with it but you come away knowing that not only can he fold silver dollars with his fingerss, but he would just as happily twist off your head. What a brute this guy is. But, who else would you rather be at your side in a fight to the death?
    Thomas Fortenberry

  6. I’ve always loved the Bama cover of this strangely violent Doc novel. But overall, it’s one of the better written adventures and Monk does shine in ways that I later came to miss in the latter novels of the series.

  7. Another of my top ten Docs. This is Dent at his very best. The plot is strong, the writing is crisp, the action is constant and the villains are wonderfully realized (the image of the Majii rising from his golden crypt has stayed with me for years). The author scrimps on nothing here. Great fun from cover to cover.

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