Reviews by Henry L. Ratliff

The Flyers

by George Barr McCutcheon

(1907) Humor (Situation) / Romance (Elopement)

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

  • These flyers, have taken flight . That is to say, that no airship is involved, just a train, The Flyer, and a double elopement.

  • We have two separate elopements on one night. Each taking the same train to escape their over controlling family.

  • How nice you say. Two supportive couples to give each other aid and comfort. Not so. The soon to be bride of the first couple is the supposed fiancee of the groom of the second couple. The bride of the second couple is employed in the house of the bride of the first couple.

  • The confusion of the proposed and imposed on couples is not easily fixed. The two couples meet on the train and each is sure that the other has been sent by their families to stop the others marriage.

  • They finally reach their destination after some problems both with the train and each couples efforts to loose the other.

  • Conspiracy is heaped on complication as both couples are to be wed at the same church on the same night.

  • It gets more and more complicated for the couples who have become, \'The Flyers\'.

Reviewed on 2014.08.12

The Strange Adventures of Eric Blackburn

by Harry Collingwood

(1922) Adventure (Survival) / Nautical (Ship Wreck) / Thriller (Treasure hunt)

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • Eric is rescued from his lifeboat, as the sole survivor, after his sailing ship is sunk by a one-in-a-million hit by a meteor.

  • The ship that saves him has had it's own trouble. The captain and navigator are dead. Eric is taken on-board as a navigator.

  • The ship was on a cruse to find hidden treasure. Eric is promised a share of the treasure, but all does not look well and some of the crew do not look trustworthy.

  • This ship is also wrecked in a storm, as they approach the island on which they hoped to find the treasure. Eric and a young boy, the captains son, appear to be the only survivors. The island is one of a group and seems to support animal and plant life.

  • The treasure is found. The two get on well with the natives and help them battle vicious beasts. Eric and the boy plan their return home after constructing a small boat from the ruins of the former ship..

  • There are many adventures with unusual beast and two of the crew reappear later and become Eric's nemesis.

  • Life on the island has been good, but sometimes perilous. There is much to write in the log about 'The Strange Adventures of Eric Blackburn'.

Collingwood is known for his 'Young Reader' books, but this story
stays a level above that classification.

Reviewed on 2014.08.12

The Machine That Saved The World

by Murray Leinster

(1957) Sci-fi (Invention) / Conspiracy / Short story (Magazine)

From 'Amazing Stories', December 1957.

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • In 1972, mysterious and receiver-busting broadcasts are received from someone who claims to be in the future, 2180.

  • The broadcasts, when deciphered, warn that unless action is taken, a deadly virus will devastate most the the world's population.

  • Is it a hoax or a real attempt to save the current time and provide for the future?

  • The Mahon-modified machines of 1972, have made life easier. They become more efficient the longer they are used. The modification can be made to almost any machine.

  • The most famous of the machines, is the military's Betsy. It is lovingly operated and cared for by Staff Sergeant Bellews.

  • The warnings from the future become graver and increasingly puzzling. Some believe them, and others mistrust them.

  • Something must be done soon. Bellews and Betsy are put to work to untangle the situation. Will Bellews and the Mahon-modified machines save the day. Will Betsy be 'The Machine That Saved the World'

Reviewed on 2014.07.27

The Haunted House

by Walter Hubbell

(1879) Ghost story

R: * * * *
Plot bullets

  • A Poltergeist makes life miserable for a young girl.

  • A man documents the occurrences and wants to help.

  • He documents all, but can he save her?

Reviewed on 2014.07.25

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