“The Green Master” by Kenneth Robeson

In a secret fortress high in the Andes, Doc and his crew are enslaved by a race of extrasen­so­ry super-blondes who wor­ship a green stone with a life of its own!

In this Doc Sav­age nov­el, Doc and his aides Ham and Monk face a race of beings with the pow­er to influ­ence any­one they meet, and who are in New York with a mis­sion that brings them into con­flict the the Man of Bronze!

Descrip­tion: Monk is being tailed, rather clum­si­ly, but three men and one woman, all tall with blonde hair. Their appear­ance and way they seemed uncer­tain of mov­ing in the bustling city of New York made them stand out, espe­cial­ly to Monk’s well-honed per­cep­tion. But when he man­aged to cor­ner one of them, he got a shock: he found him­self agree­ing to every­thing the man said!

“You were fol­low­ing me.” …

The man looked Monk straight in the eye.

“I was not fol­low­ing you.”

“You –” Monk’s mouth came open, and remained open. Not because he had been lied to. That was­n’t what sur­prised him. It was some­thing else.

It was anoth­er thing, and the more Monk thought about it, the more stunned be became. Monk real­ized that he believed the man was­n’t fol­low­ing him.

Now here, Monk thought wild­ly, is an impos­si­bil­i­ty. This guy was trail­ing me. There was anoth­er doing it before him, and a girl before that. They were teamed up, and they were trail­ing me. I’ve got eyes, I saw. But now the fun­ny look­ing guy tells me a bald-faced lie and I believe it.

The moment Monk is able, he gets as far away from them as pos­si­ble, head­ing to tell Doc all about the encounter. Soon he, Doc and Monk’s least favorite of their fel­low assis­tants, Ham, are caught up track­ing down these mys­te­ri­ous super-blondes until he, too, is cap­tured by them and their mys­te­ri­ous pow­er. Yes, even the great Doc Sav­age with a mind and will as strong as his body, is unable to resist the effects of their powers.

 There was­n’t any doubt of it. He had been curi­ous about the phys­i­cal sen­sa­tions which would accom­pa­ny the pro­duc­tion of the influ­ence — influ­ence wold be the only lay word he was pre­pared to apply to it, although it was cer­tain­ly an inad­e­quate one — and he was dis­cov­er­ing that there was very lit­tle phys­i­cal com­mo­tion. The same thing couldn’ t be said for his mind. There was def­i­nite­ly an effect. Strange, unex­pect­ed, it was hard to define; in some respects it resem­bled the effect of cer­tain anes­thet­ics. It was, of course. intan­gi­ble, in the sense that it could­n’t be seen. He felt, gen­er­al­ly sum­ming up, quite help­less. He knew ful­ly, of course, that he did­n’t want to be influ­enced. But he was powerless.

Doc knew one thing now. The resem­blance this stuff bore to hyp­no­tism was damned small. No one, as faras Doc knew, had been able to induce any state of hyp­not­ic trance as def­i­nite­ly com­plete that the vic­tim would per­form any act com­plete­ly against his nature. True, hyp­not­ic oper­a­tors some­times grinned know­ing­ly and said that, if a hyp­not­ic sub­ject had ever been induced to com­mit a rob­bery or mur­der, who would hear about it? The sub­ject would­n’t know what he had done, prob­a­bly. And the oper­a­tor would­n’t risk get­ting jailed. But Doc him­self, in his exper­i­ments, had found quite well-defined lim­i­ta­tions to hypnosis.

Grant­ed, it takes a supreme effort on the part of his cap­tor to keep Doc under con­trol, but its enough to last until Doc and com­pa­ny are back in the Andes. Which is where they are need­ed: the super-blondes civ­i­liza­tion has exist­ed for hun­dreds of years with­out dis­cov­ery, yet now an out­sider has learned not only of its exis­tence and its trea­sures, he has also obtained one of the green stones that negates the pow­ers of the super-blondes on whomev­er car­ries them. Once these stones were held only by select mem­bers of the civ­i­liza­tion but now out­siders hold sev­er­al of them, who are com­mand­ing a force that seeks to gain the treasure(s) that are held with­in the civ­i­liza­tion’s remote Andean home. Now that Doc Sav­age is present, though, what­ev­er plans made by the unknown assailants (who are nev­er real­ly seen or iden­ti­fied) will be defeated.

And the Green Mas­ter? Despite the fla­vor text, its actu­al­ly a green stone of mys­te­ri­ous ori­gin and pow­ers, but it does have the abil­i­ty to block the pow­er the super-blondes pos­sess. That’s one of the unex­plored mys­ter­ies of the story.

Com­men­tary: For all that the set up for the action is pret­ty good, the con­clu­sion leaves a lot to be desired. The ulti­mate res­o­lu­tion of bring­ing in a group of out­siders, even if they are pro­tect­ed by the green stones, to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion is still ask­ing for trou­ble, and its cer­tain­ly not the way Doc would have han­dled the sit­u­a­tion in ear­li­er years. Of course, this is one of the last Doc Sav­age nov­els writ­ten (pub­lished Win­ter, 1949) so it does indi­cate that the series was show­ing signs of aging, or maybe the author was final­ly get­ting tired of writing.

Plus there was only the per­func­to­ry attempt at arm-wav­ing to explain the ori­gin of the pow­ers the super-blondes pos­sessed, and no attempt to explain how it was passed down from the orig­i­na­tor, how the “green stone” with the mys­te­ri­ous prop­er­ties was dis­cov­ered, even how their civ­i­liza­tion began or man­aged to exist, undis­cov­ered for so long. Even the out­sider who threat­ened the Andean hid­den civ­i­liza­tion was­n’t iden­ti­fied or even seen, let alone much of the rest of invad­ing forces. So many loose ends and neglect­ed avenues here …

His­to­ry: “The Green Mas­ter” was one of the last Doc Sav­age nov­els writ­ten for the orig­i­nal series and is rather short, cer­tain­ly short­er than the full-length nov­el as its pre­de­ces­sors. It has been reprint­ed in #47 of the reprint series and in the Doc Sav­age Omnibus series #13.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: Not par­tic­u­lar­ly rec­om­mend­ed except for a demon­stra­tion of missed oppor­tu­ni­ties and loose ends. Ken­neth Robe­son has done the hyp­not­ic mind con­trol plot line bet­ter in the past, such as “The Majii” or “The Men­tal Wiz­ard” although this time the peo­ple using it are a lit­tle bet­ter at using it, but the sto­ries men­tioned here are much longer and bet­ter at explain­ing how it was done or accomplished.

[amtap book:isbn=1608770516]

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