Fan fiction (as evidenced by the countless fan stories penned by followers of the Talos character-inspiration, Doc Savage) has always been an exciting and fun way to connect with a pulp character and his myth. Amateur (and even professional) authors have a rich enthusiasm for characters they enjoy, and fans are often iconoclastic, thinking outside of the box to create uniquely inspired tales.
This is a call to authors who might enjoy plunging into the Doc Talos world. One does not have to be thoroughly versed in Talos canon to be able to take part…the characters are pastiches of classic Doc Savage figures, and familiarity with those is enough to serve as a story springboard. Did you ever have a story about those characters that you would love seeing, but know would never happen? Those are the types of stories you can create here.
There’s a great grand prize up for grabs — the best story submitted (to be chosen by Doc Talos author R. Paul Sardanas) will win its author a copy of the 1968 first edition paperback of “The Czar of Fear”, signed by cover artist James Bama! (images are of the actual book and signature)
Here is a list of characters from the Talos saga that should be quite familiar:
Doctor James Talos, Jr. (born 1901) – Surgeon, scientist, adventurer
Doctor James Talos, Sr. (Formerly James Wilder, 1848-1932) – Victorian era medical man, explorer
Andy “Kong” Kingman (1888-1968) – Ape-like chemist
Theo Jacob (1885-1968) – Fashionable lawyer
John Renner (1890-1964) – Big-fisted engineer
William “Bill” Johnson (1886-1966) – Erudite geologist/archeologist
Thomas J. White (1890-1967) – Scrawny electrical researcher
Patricia “Rickie” Talos (born 1914) – Cousin of Doc Talos, with the same exotic skin and hair color, and also a love of getting into trouble
Story guidelines are very open. Anything from a short vignette to a more involved short story is welcome. Story ideas can come from many sources, including Doc Savage stories (extrapolations into the Talos world only…all copyrights must be respected, make sure all names are changed…and classic scenarios, if used, are just for inspiration), historical events and figures, or, as mentioned, scenes with these basic characters that you have always wanted to see, but know you never will unless you write them yourself.
By submitting, you give permission for your story to be posted here on the Doc Talos website. There will also be a privately-printed paperback collection of the stories which will be given as a souvenir to all participants (every person submitting to the contest will receive one as a personal collector’s item — they will not be sold to the public).
The tone of the Doc Talos saga is adult, sophisticated fiction. Characters are portrayed realistically, they have sex lives, careers, and emotional scope and depth. Explicit content to the stories is fully permissible if you enjoy writing adventure erotica. Simple slice-of-life stories about the characters (more realistic than pulp adventure) are welcome. Experimental writing styles are also acceptable. Don’t feel you have to write something that is “Talos canonical”…these stories are meant to be fun for writer and reader, so they can veer into any unique or interesting storyline or characterization you would like.
Here is a sample to give you an idea of thematic tone of Doc Talos short stories/vignettes: a tale of Rickie Talos screen testing for the role of Pat Savage in the 1970’s Doc Savage film sequel that never happened:
Here’s another sample from the series…a short scene where Andy, Theo and Rickie hang out together for a late dinner the night before the 1939 World’s Fair opens:
Another sample is at the bottom of this page…an excerpt from Talos, in which Doc and his “wife” Mona discuss life and love. (This excerpt was also printed in The Bronze Gazette #85)
Other guides to feel your way into the Talos world can be found by reading the synopses in our Bookstore and Downloads sections, as well as the origin story for the series in the About section here on the site. No purchase or fee of any kind is required to enter the contest.
If you still feel a little at sea and would like to float a story concept to series author/contest judge R. Paul Sardanas, you may feel free to drop him an email at: admin@gromagonpress to chat about your idea before you write it.
The contest will run through the summer of 2021, with a winner announced on September 1 of this year. The contest prize will be shipped at no cost to the winner at that time.
Submissions may be made in Word format or pasted into the body of an email to email@example.com. Please put the words DOC TALOS FAN FICTION SUBMISSION (or INQUIRY, if you have a question) in the title of your email.
Good luck to all!
SAMPLE EXCERPT FROM “TALOS” Conversation between Doc and Mona at Point Nord, Greenland (AKA The Fortress of Solitude). Doc is working on a “resurrection project”; a concept based on the 1936 novel “Resurrection Day”. Doc and Mona are husband and wife, but not really…she is a Virtual Reality construct that he has created. Nevertheless, she is as real in many ways as the woman he once loved, and they discuss life and death together…
She leaned down and kissed me on the cheek, her loose black hair brushing my shoulders.
“Thank you for making my tea, love.”
“You’re welcome. I heard you stirring.”
Mona moved to the side of the table and settled there, extending one hand toward me while she lifted her virtual teacup and took a sip. I placed my hand over hers, and she curled it under, encouraging our fingers to intertwine.
“Ahh,” she said, “that’s good. You are up early this morning, darling.”
I looked into her still-sleepy brown eyes. She had on her warm, red wool robe. When Mona had been with me in New York, she’d always disliked the cold. Despite the comfortable environment inside the domes, I often saw her respond with a brief shiver when she looked out of a window at Point Nord’s frigid landscape.
For an instant as I looked at her, my eyes blurred, causing her to appear doubled.
More eyes…it seemed that they hovered about her. I blinked, and her normal appearance returned.
“I had some ideas that I wanted to pursue.”
“And you can never sleep when in their grip, I know,” she smiled. “Do you want to tell me about them?”
“Complicated subject for before breakfast.”
She lightly laughed. “How many times have we unraveled the weave of the world over our coffee and tea?”
I smiled in return. What was Mona’s secret, to unlock my perpetual poker face with such ease?
“I vacillate, as you know, between absolute conviction that the fundamental structures of life are concrete and quantifiable, meaning they can be understood…guided…”
“Or not. I know. So you are once again pursuing your personal white whale.”
She squeezed my hand, and as always in such moments, a part of my heart ached, on the edge of a pain that I was, perhaps, an idiot to constantly subject myself to.
She released my hand, leaned back, and took another sip of her tea. “I’m not the best choice for a research partner.”
“But you are. I want…well, I want science to stop being something that’s cold.”
“And so here we are, in the Arctic?” She mock-clutched the robe tighter around her.
“It needs art…it needs faith.”
“You’re such a puzzle. I wish we’d gotten married when we were twenty. I’d at least have had a head start in figuring you out.”
“I would have liked that.”
“The shy boy and girl, eh?” She reached forward again to pat my hand. “Did you look at the eagle this morning?”
“I look at it every morning.”
I could see that the simple statement moved her. Her gaze clouded, very briefly, with a mixed pleasure and a subdued but deep-reaching joy. A look that I would call love, in the subtle promise it held of our ability to touch one another.
“You asked me to make it in malachite.”
“When you choose spiritual things, I admit I don’t know what to make of it. It’s a beautiful stone in and of itself, but that’s not why.”
“Yes…the Egyptian paradise was called ‘The Field of Malachite’…it has death and resurrection in its layers.”
“Green is for the Holy Ghost…life eternal, and hope.”
“A rare interpretation with agreement among Catholics and polytheistic nature worshipers.”
“Rarer still for an atheist to commune with. I always assumed you went along with our Catholic wedding to indulge me.”
“Honestly, I did.”
The corners of her lips turned up slightly. “Making your primitive girlfriend your primitive wife?”
“I don’t think belief is primitive. There’s beauty in it…and power too, that’s difficult to understand.”
“Father Rodriguez would say it’s not meant to be understood. Reason not being always conducive to the soul’s experiences.”
“But they can find harmony.”
“As we do, darling? Yes, I believe they can.”
“Somewhere in that harmony, is a key, or keys.”
“Remember twenty years ago, the theory that Bill had? That with electrical and chemical science you could potentially raise the dead?”
Twenty years ago. Of course for Mona, it was still the 1950’s.
“His theory was really very sound in some of its foundations. Of course it was equal parts science and wish-fulfillment. Bill would have loved to apply such a procedure to mummified bodies, with an archaeologist’s fantasy of conversing with the giants of antiquity. Of course even a perfectly mummified pharaoh wouldn’t have worked. You can’t put viscera back in after they’ve been stored in canopic jars. He posited Solomon as I recall…at the time his researches were very much engaged with identifying the preserved bodies of the very dim past, and there was an intriguing story – never substantiated – that some Biblical figures, purportedly touched by God, did not decay, but were sealed in secret tombs with guardians that crossed the centuries.”
“So lacking those, who would you raise, dearest James? The tragic dead, restored to their families? The brilliant thinkers, the artists, the dreamers?”
“It’s a lovely fancy.”
“Or parted lovers.”
“But the spark of their minds, their emotions…would that be present simply through the restoration of a body?”
“Or would Bill’s pharaoh have to cross back over the river of the dead, or Papa come back from Heaven?”
“It sounds so absurd.”
“No…no, it doesn’t. I think there would be sadness in it, and joy too.”
Yes, there would be both.