Thursday, August 07, 2014
The Chariots of Ra, by Kenneth Bulmer
From the description page:
"The chariots came on at great speed and there was no mistaking their purpose. Tulley wondered if they were using this place as a base. . . Then an arrow plunked into the parapet of his chariot. Oolou lashed the reins. The nageres sprang forward. With suicidal speed the two chariot groups closed in on each other.
"Tulley swallowed down, feeling the dryness in his throat, loosed a shaft at the oncoming mass. There must be twenty chariots out there. . .
"He glanced at Oolou, shouting. She stared back at him with a ghastly grin, the blood pouring from her neck above the corselet where an arrow stood, stark and brutal."
Chariots is a solid, exotic and action-relentless science fiction novella that recalls the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs for its blunt physical action and many of John Wayne's films for its masculine/man's gotta do. . . tone. In it, two friends (Graham Pike and Roy Tulley) are kidnapped and shuttled (via portals) into other worlds, where they encounter strange creatures, slavers, warriors, queens and other bristling characters. Will they be able to return to Earth, whence they came? That question is secondary when survival is a moment-to-moment challenge.
Chariots was packaged as a reverse-bound "Ace Double" novel, which means that if readers flip the book upside down and over, there was another science fiction novel, penned by another author, on the other side. (Considering that these books sold for 95 cents a pop, this seems like a great deal, even back in that less-expensive, Seventies economy.)
In this case, the flipside novel is John Rackham's Earthstrings.