Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Island Feud

Hugh B. Cave was a key contributor to the pulp fiction class of the 1920s and 30s. The British born writer relocated to Boston in his childhood, later penning nearly 800 stories across the genres of western, romance, crime and adventure. Wildside Press launched the debut issue of 'Adventure Tales' in 2005 and featured an interview with Cave as well as two short stories - “Island Feud” and “The Man Who Couldn't Die”.

“Island Feud” was originally published by Argosy Magazine in December of 1953. It begins auspiciously enough in the coastal village of Teala Town. Three men are waiting for the arrival of Matt Martinsen on his ship The Witch. In a flashback sequence we learn that Martinsen has cheated the islanders by purchasing their copra (dried coconut kernels) at a below market price. The island doctor, Harty, is the makeshift governor of the people and proposes that Martinsen will purchase the goods at an elevated and fair cost. Martinsen declares a feud and secretly spreads rumors that Harty is a rapist (and other dastardly things) all over the isles. Circling back to the present day, the trio are seeing Martinsen return to the island. Is he returning to fight Harty? Or, is there something amiss with the crew? Thankfully, all is revealed in this short-story that features a bit of mystery and a decent fight (but I won't say between who for spoilers sake).

Purchase a digital or paper copy of this issue here.