Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Those Two People Died of Cosmic Radiation!"

"The Veiled Woman."
By Mickey Spillane (Frank Morrison Spillane, 1918-2006).
First appearance: Fantastic, November-December 1952.
Novella (46 pages).
Online at SFFAudio HERE (PDF).
(Parental caution: Sexual situations, strong language, and extreme violence.)
"No modern-day writer is more widely cussed and discussed than Mickey Spillane. Critics regard him as most of us regard the atom bomb, leading maga-zines dissect him with unloving care. Why? Because the Spillane emphasis is on sex and sadism, his milieu the boudoir and the underworld, his men ruth-less, his women svelte, passionate and immoral. That's why everyone hates Spillane — except his millions of readers and his banker! The editors of Fantas-tic take pride in presenting the first science-fiction story by Mr. Spillane."
. . . but, if some sources are to be believed, it's almost certain he didn't write it. The ISFDb credits Spillane with only three stories that could remotely qualify as SF/Fantasy; according to the SFE:

   "Spillane's one outright sf credit, the unremarkable novella 'The Veiled Woman' (Novem-ber/December 1952 Fantastic), was ghost-written by the magazine editor Howard Browne; he claimed that Spillane's own sf submission was unusable."

Wisely, it seems in retrospect, Spillane stuck with the genre he knew best, over-the-top, sex-and-violence-drenched crime fiction, and mercifully left fantasy and science fiction to the experts.

She had an interesting face, the kind that turned men's heads, attracted Russian spies like flies, and set off Geiger counters . . .

Principal characters:
~ Karl Terris (can you say "Mike Hammer"?):
   "The country's richest, handsomest, most eligible bachelor had returned from the dead! Only the bachelor part no longer applied . . ."
~ Lodi Terris:
   ". . . you had brought back as your bride the world's most beautiful woman."
~ "Sadie":
   "You may now turn around and lower your hands. Any more than that and I'll shoot you through the knee."
~ Granger:
   "You're making a serious mistake, Mr. Terris."
~ Eddie Treeglos:
   "If I never see a sweet innocent school-girl face again it'll be fine with me."
~ Senator McGill:
   "Karl, you young idiot, are you trying to ruin me?"
~ The lookout:
   "A thin flat-faced kid with horn-rimmed glasses and a mop of black hair was propped up on a backless kitchen chair outside a freight elevator, buried to the eyebrows in a battered copy of Marx's Das Kapital."
~ "Sam Parks":
   "I think you had better lift your hands quite high and turn around. Both of you. Slowly."
~ Luke Ritter:
   "You smell like a cop to me!"
~ Nekko:
   "You want I should rough him up some more, Luke?"
~ Millard Cavendish:
   "Possession of this secret, judging from what you say, would make America so powerful that no other nation, or coalition of nations, would dare launch a war."
~ Winston Blake:
   "Mr. Cavendish, will you order this woman to remove her veil?"

   "I tried to lift an arm. Somebody had tied an anvil to it. The City Hall was glued to my feet. The room clouded, wavered, then slowly dissolved. I fell face forward into the ruins. . . ."

- Gallons of ink (and possibly blood, who knows?) have been spilled concerning the contro-versial Mickey Spillane, but we're not going to pursue that any further; instead, let us direct you to these bio/bibliographical sources: Wikipedia HERE, The Thrilling Detective HERE, the SFE HERE, and the ISFDb HERE.

The bottom line: "Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book."
— Mickey Spillane

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