Lord of Atlantis by John Russel Fearn (Wildside Press, 2012)
In Lord of Atlantis, we have Violet Ray Brandt now ruling Earth as the Supreme Matriarch. This book was first published in 1949 and reprinted in 2012. Once again, it is necessary to point out that the book is listed as the second novel in the Golden Amazon saga, but it is in fact the eighth book in the series. The introduction is by Golden Amazon expert Philip Harbottle.
The book opens with the captain of a space liner watching a spinning globe headed toward Earth. He radio’s mission control to let them know what is in store, but the globe quickly finds a parking orbit in the sky.
After the events described in the previous Golden Amazon book, Violet Ray Brandt (AKA The Golden Amazon) has set her self up as ruler of Earth. Ruling as an enlightened Matriarch, her plans for the rebuilding of human civilization after the Big Freeze is cut short when the lost city of Atlantis rises out of the Atlantic ocean. And with the lost city appears the lost continent of Mu. Atlantis, protected by a dome no one had noticed over the millenia, surfaces intact. The resulting oceanic displacement creates a rash of floods and tidal waves across the coastal regions around it, threatening to un-do all the work the Golden Amazon has accomplished since thawing out Mother Earth.
Air flight over the risen Mu shows something else: dinosaurs. Placed over Atlantis, the dome protected all kinds of lost species on the inside. Somehow the dinosaurs took over and emerged as the dominant species. To up the stakes, there is a thin strip of land connecting Mu with North America and the dinos are headed toward the remnants of the U S of A. The G-Amazon deduces these actions are revenge from Alba, the love-sick Atlantean whom she spurned in the previous novel. He may live on Jupiter, but the pieces of his broken heart have struck Earth.
After a parley with Alban and his staff, the G-Amazon threatens dire retribution if he does not vacate planet Earth immediately. Of course, Alban refuses. What else can a lovelorn Atlantean Superman do? He wants to marry Violet and is willing to destroy the human race if he doesn’t have his way with her. And just to show he means business, Alba kidnaps the golden matriarch’s adopted niece Ethel, Ethel’s fiance Barry, and 4 other couples to start a new race on Jupiter under a dome on the planet’s surface. The Golden Amazon heads to planet Jupiter in her personal ship, the Ultra.
I’ve got to stop with the plot description here because I’m giving it all away. And I want you to know, the plot of this short novel has more confusion than string theory. Fearn was not big on the tortured inner dialogue of his characters. But he knew how to keep the plot spinning along. Who cares if the last problem was solved with a proton gun? There will be another one coming down the road involving an ammonia-breathing alien who eats crystals. I’m convinced the man looked at each chapter, decided the plot was slowing down, and popped in another weird menace.
Have a problem locating an Atlantean on Earth? Introduce “auras” and state that the men from Jupiter have a higher aura rating than normal humans. Problem solved. Are prehistoric monsters attacking major cities? Launch an all-out attack with fighter planes. There’s no MacGuffin wild enough it can’t be added to the plot. Does one character need to cross the vast void of space quickly? Suddenly announce a matter transmitter is available.
Which is why I find this series an absolute delight. It’s cheese, but not the kind you’ll find at the local supermarket. Hell no, you have to go to the chantiller on the posh side of town to find this cheese.
Feast your eyes upon this paragraph:
“She was no longer the scarlet-costumed ruler of Earth, queen of the inner solar system, but a black-suited adventuress, the negativity of her attire relieved only by the solid gold belt about her slender waist, a belt packed with every needful instrument and weapon. Such an attire she always wore when on business bent. In any moment of crisis making demands upon her physique, the close-fitting elastic-glass mesh of which the suit was made gave her absolute freedom. Her golden hair was swept back now from her forehead and held in place by a gleaming band with twin rubies at either end. A stray hair in her way when she needed absolute clarity of vision might prove fatal. To the Amazon no detail was too trivial to be overlooked. She had learned from hard experience the need of precision and deadly accuracy”
Or the Golden Amazon’s split morality decision:
‘“I’m not going to argue with you, Quorne,” the girl stated flatly. “I’m going to kill you, here and now, because 1 believe that is the safest thing for everybody. A man of your criminal tendencies and scientific skill is too dangerous to remain alive.”‘
How did I manage to miss this series? Somehow it never attained the ranks of pulp eminence bestowed on Doc Savage, The Shadow, and Captain Midnight. My best guess has to do with the format in which it was published. As a Sunday novel supplement in a Toronto newspaper, The Golden Amazon didn’t register on the same radar as the Manhattan pulp empire which had distribution all across the United States. Written in the 1950’s, for the most part, it is outside of what most experts consider the age of hero pulps.
Somehow I can’t see a series of novels about a genetically modified superwoman stomping men to have been a big hit in the lower 48 states. At least not to the average science fiction fan in the 1950’s. OK, there was a fan base for this sort of thing during those years, but they bought their reading material in plain brown paper bags.
I plan to continue reading this series and eventually finish it.
Good super-villainnesses aren’t common, but the Golden Amazon was one of the best! There was actually a brief reboot of her on Moonstone Comics, but they were awful and dropped all the fun atompunk elements of her world.