LAND OF THE GIANTS flight of fear novel: chapters 7111-6 review

Chase - Posted on 04 July 2009


TITLE: NECESSARY RISKS---page 99 to page 114


After leaving Bart, Jennifer walks along the parapet, hearing yells from an invisible man, growls from an invisible dog---all sounding as if they came from that pile of debris. She also encounters the running mongrel dog. She was sure there was something there and it might help Bart with his problems. At the same time, she began to recall all the horror stories about little people. Struggling MD Bart is visited by James Cartley. The patient, faking pain, had fallen in a parking lot of a chain drug company. Now, he wants Bart to phony his case up for insurance claims. Cartley threatens to ruin Bart's future business, referring to the little people no one has seen to give an example of how people's minds can be swayed.


Joking around, the others force Dan and Steve to rest. While they do, Barry, his dog, and Fitzhugh follow a breeze to an opening in the parapet: a drain to a street. Before they check it out fully, they report to Val at the ship. Barry calls Val nice, and then Betty, hoping to be as brave as all the adults--he thinks every one of them is nice. Fitzhugh tells Barry he is brave now but they are all scared about their predicament. Chipper finds a peanut and they return to the spaceliner where no one can crack it except Steve, who wasn't really asleep but overhearing all this. Mark had thought they were ganging up on someone before he came into the passenger room. Night falls: Betty worries when Steve and Dan go out to find food; Mark and Alex to find water. 






























TITLE: FORAY INTO DANGER--runs from page 115 to page 128


As the pilots find the drain to the street, they discuss Mark (who has kept the flashlights charged). Steve sums it up, "I think he's glad to get away from the desk. He'd become so big on Earth that he'd forgotten the sense of worth from working with your hands and creating. No wealth or power can take its place."  Mark and Fitzhugh have a similar discussion about Steve and Dan. Mark surmises: "It has been a release for them."   He explains how every decision the two men made, had to be reported and approved to the airport. No, while in the land of the giants, they only have to answer to themselves, even though they don't want to be here and would do anything to get back--they may like it in some way--just like cowboys in Old Westerns had to rely on themselves for survival. Mark jokes with Fitzhugh as they get the water. Aboard 703, Betty tucks Barry and Chipper under a blanket. Barry praises Fitzhugh, telling Betty the man must miss his Navy Command. "I think he's found a new command,"  Betty murmured, then added silently, "Maybe himself."


Cartley plans to get at Jennifer, who works at a drugstore he once also worked in. Steve and Dan (having to wait for Steve to catch up to his faster running) cross a giant street on a red light. They sprawl into an alley to avoid headlights. Searching the alley, the see Dr. Bart Enderle's box of supplies. Steve wonders what would happen if any of them should become ill or get injured. He will not have them eat garbage. Steve and Dan slip past mechanics in a garage, climb up to a work bench, sampling coffee and stealing a sandwich. They have a few close calls (such as when a giant returned to the work bench they were on) but escape just as it seems two giants begin arguing and then fighting.

























TITLE: DIFFICULT DECISION--runs from page 129 to page 138


Bart has Detective Sergeant Wollen and his aide Ackerman (a reference to Forrest J. Ackerman maybe?) over to discuss the problem with Cartley. Neither can help. Bart is called to stitch up a mechanic who was hurt in a fight over a stolen sandwich. He almost spotted the sandwich moving across the alley under its own power (!?!). The hurt mechanic was accused of eating it--and of having a tapeworm. The foreman shows Bart tiny footprints which were of Steve and Dan. Walking home, Bart smokes his pipe and discards the matchbook over the parapet. It lands at the pile of dirt (703). Bart calls himself a litterbug and leaves.


The others store the sandwich in 703's commissary while Mark and Fitzhugh bring water from a faucet in the part. As time goes by, Mark worked on the ship (fins, leverages, and gears) while the other three men made the expeditions into town. Mark needs tools and gears for the power train to extend and retract the fins. He feels he could make tools to make parts ("That's how I got my start--tool and die maker"). Mark tells them about a search he heard about on the radio--he couldn't tell them before since he felt it would have dashed their renewed hopes--all seemed to be going so good for once. There isn't time to make tools to make parts. Fitzhugh lifted his hands and let them drop, "This is a land of giants..."


Val cut in, "When did you discover that? Why didn't you tell us?"

They all figure a watch repair shop would have parts. Dan recalls the match box cover advertising a drugstore which has watch repair. The girls insist on going along to find material for clothes. Barry suggests doll and toy clothes. The girls are ready to mutiny so Steve agrees to let them come along, prompted by Fitzhugh.                        























These three chapters are filled with juicy character motives and interplay, especially during the peanut routine. The motivation of Steve and Dan, Mark and Fitzhugh (called Alex once in awhile) is expertly discussed in an exciting way, so as not to slow down the story. More bits move along the Bart-Cartley story with tones of menace--and nicely fit Bart into the little people story. The trip to the mechanics' place was really very scary. From Chapter Nine, readers can deduce that 703 has been here for awhile--but not very long. Even though there are many scares, humor and optimism prevail in these chapters but the humor is welcome, not buffoon-like as in many LOST IN SPACE episodes. The watch repair, the matchbook cover, and the idea of a trip to get tools and parts, as well as the women's concerns over clothing, all sound suspiciously like more than a few parts of OUR MAN O'REILLY in LAND OF THE GIANTS' second season.    Detective Wollen, for some reason in my mind when I first read the novel as a young child, seemed to evoke the image of Lt. Greyson so much that I always picture John Dehner in my mind when thinking of or reading about this character! Go figure.





































TITLE: PLAN OF ACTION-runs from pages 139 to page 151


Bart removes the mechanic's stitches while the man tells him he took Bart's advice and told about the little people. The garage has traps out. Cartley listens but only hears part of their conversation--incorrectly assuming Bart was telling about Cartley's own scheme. After the mechanic leaves, Bart tells him to get lost and Cartley leaves, threatening Bart. Cartley and a pal watch Jennifer at the drugstore; she in turn, spots them. Jen recalls Cartley was fired for inefficiency and possible pilfering. An irritated Mark, with Barry's help, reminds Fitzhugh about the radio and the amplifier. Steve was figuring Fitzhugh was already counting the hours. The girls had flat shoes and bandannas, Mark had  a suitcase. Then they cross the street; Dan and Betty go first. On the other side, Dan asks where she learned to run so fast. She answers, "In the land of the giants!"  Steve and Mark cross with Val, who stumbles. Even so, Mark roughly makes her continue. In the alley, Val explains how jets, that Mark helped build she reminds him as he scowls at her, have made her legs obsolete. When Fitzhugh calls, Mark tells him the women faired admirably, despite earlier anger at Val and at having both she and Betty along. Mark calls Fitzhugh, "Admiral."  Val thanks Mark, then says, "Well, I'm ready to stagger on."   As they pass the alley and garage, Steve motions for the other four to follow behind him---traps and poisoned food were put out. At a restaurant, Jen and Bart discuss Cartley and the little people. Jen believes they should report the ship. She also thinks he could prevent the death of the little people, knowing that is what is bothering him. Bart tells her he feels as little as the little people---his word wouldn't carry any weight. After Bart  takes her home, he jumps the parapet, uncovers the dirt pile, and finds a well constructed spaceliner--of the little people's.     

























TITLE: THE UNEXPECTED-runs from page 152 to 169


Noises awaken Fitzhugh and Barry who move out of the cabin to the flight deck. Fitzhugh seemed to gain confidence from Barry's holding of his hand and Barry gained bravery from the same. Chipper's barks draw Bart to look in at them (and for some reason the window is open) and quietly introduce himself to them. He did so, fighting an urge to resort to baby talk. Fitzhugh claims he is old enough to be Bart's father or big brother. Barry calls Fitzhugh a doctor and tells Bart he wished Fitzhugh were his father. At four AM, Steve's group rested at the corner of a drugstore parking lot. Mark, groggy, asked, "Whose idea was it, anyway, to come this far?"


"Yours,"  Val answers, "With a big assist from me."


Dan and Steve scout out the drugstore. Dan climbs into it via a mail slot. Steve brings the other three and in tandem, he on the outside, Dan on the inside, the pilots haul the others up and into the drugstore, then down. While the others rest behind a wooden magazine rack, Steve and Mark plot the floor plan of the store until the doors were unlocked for the day. The five would have to wait out the day and evening until the store closed again. Cartley and his pal discuss their own plan: to rob drugs from the store, possibly even receipts after delaying Jennifer before closing with a phone call.  With stolen keys, they will get inside, later plant drugs in Bart's office, and plant drugs and receipts in Jen's locker. Cartley's aide thinks they should sell the drugs to a pusher like one he knows who is getting a bunch of high school kids hooked by telling them there's no harm in getting an extra thrill now and then. In the morning, Bart found neighbors and police searching in alleys and talking about the little people as if they were rodents, bugs, infectious diseases, vermin and maggot like menaces. A policeman mentions cleaning up a dump heap in the park to eradicate them. Bart entices Jen for a picnic in the park, then asks her to trust him after revealing the incident with Fitzhugh, Barry, and Chipper at 703. They pretend to be looking for costume jewelry (Jen's idea). Fitzhugh had been trying to contact the others via radio with no success. He and Barry try to escape the cracker box ramp when Bart returns. Bart stops them and introduces them to Jen. Jen is quite taken with Fitzhugh's compliments. Barry tells her that she has eyes and hair like his mother used to. A policeman, from over the wall, questions Bart (who hides the little people and dog) and Jen (who covers 703 up again so the policeman doesn't see it). After he moves on, Bart puts the three in the picnic basket which Jen takes. He then blanket wraps the spaceship and puts it on top of the wall until he could get over. Then he puts it in the trunk of his car (which was just repaired) as the cop watches them, Jen warning Bart of this. Jen holds the basket on her lap, worried for her new friends.    








Chapter ten had many good lines, some of which are reproduced n the synopsis. The action involving both groups was exciting and unpredictable. It was a good idea to split the group up for the latter chapters of the novel. More social comparison exists in FLIGHT OF FEAR than in most other LAND OF THE GIANTS' spinoffs and even more than in almost any of the episodes from TV. The mechanics argue over stolen food, one being a moocher and loading up his gut; the giants are all panicky about little people with the park policeman in Chapter eleven calling the junk heap a "possible nest infested with little people" and all the giants seem to think the little people just want to do evil to them; Bart's littering and the littering of other giants; Cartley's pal mentions a pusher who sells to high school students; Cartley's own jealous plan of revenge using the drugs to get both Bart and Jen in trouble--drugs which his aide would rather sell rather than take out a vendetta against Bart; the mechanic covering his own job by reporting the theft as that of the little people. Fitzhugh's meetings with Bart and later Jen, are fine, giving us insight to the man's feelings as well as furthering his relationship to Barry---how they both draw power from the other. The mention of Barry's mother is not overdone and is a nice touch. Fitzhugh retains his roguish charmer personality when he wins over Bart and Jen. The novel takes a lead from the show by not making fun of Fitzhugh or making him some kind of silly clown (ala Dr. Smith on LOST IN SPACE).  








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