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Bantam Books decision to reprint all of the Doc Savage adventures as mass market paperbacks has created more Doc Savage fans worldwide then ever existed while the original Doc Savage magazine was still publishing. The popularity of the reprinted Doc adventures led to Bantam's decision to commision new stories to add to the Doc Savage lexicon.

The first of these adventures to be published was Phillip Josˇ Farmer's Escape From Loki. Set during World War One, it told the story of how a young Doc met his five companions for the first time (and all in the same day, it seemed!) Farmer opted to use his own name on the book, eschewing the Kenneth Robson house name that had graced all the paperbacks and pulp stories.

After Escape from Loki, Will Murray, a pulp historian and writer, who had written an afterward to a lost Lester Dent Doc Savage novel, The Red Spider, in 1979, discovered the outline to Lester Dent's unwritten Python Isle and decided to take a shot at writing it. Bantam initially passed on the novel but them came back and made Murray an offer for it and they asked for two more Doc Savage adventures.

Writing under the famous Kenneth Robson byline, Murray wrote seven Doc Savage novels. The last one published by Bantam was The Forgotten Realm. After that, Bantam called a halt to the series.

The problem was, Murray was still writing them.

"In the Fall of 1992, I hit a snag writing my 7th Doc novel, The Forgotten Realm." Murray states on his web page (http://www.execpc.com/~lw/dsfile/murray.html) "I had a very heavy schedule and couldn't afford any down time. I expected to be writing three Docs, as well as the usual four Destroyers, in 1993. I had to keep going.

" I didn't want to start my next Destroyer early and lose the Kenneth Robeson mood. So in anticipation of my next Doc contract I started three Docs, The Infernal Buddha, The War Maker and The Phantom Lagoon, which was then titled "Hell Cay", putting them aside when I solved my problems with The Forgotten Realm. I figured these chapters would give me a head start on my next three Docs.

"(When) Bantam chose to put the Man of Bronze on another infamous hiatus, and I never got to finish those Docs, though I did the next spring write the opening chapter to a fourth Doc, The Ice Genius, when inspiration got the better of me.

I don't know whether or not I'll ever get to finish these novels, as well as the others I had planned, including The Smoking Spooks, The Nullifier, Grotto of Spiders and Terror in Gold. That's up to Bantam Books. But I remain optimistic."

Murray posted chapters from The Infernal Buddha on his web page. Unfortunately Conde Nast, the company who owns the rights to Doc Savage, noticed the chapters and asked Murray to remove them. Murray removed them.

"I hope Doc fans enjoyed these glimpses of unfinished Docs," Murray posted. "and excuse any early-draft flaws they found.

"And if you'd like to read the complete stories, for heaven's sake, don't tell me... tell Bantam Books. I'm just the latest in a long line of writers who take pride in signing himself... Kenneth Robeson."

You can e-mail Will Murray at willmurray@delphi.com. You can write to Bantam Books at

Bantam Books, Inc.,
666 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.
10019

Michael Dean
July 22, 1997



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