LAND OF THE GIANTS flight of fear novel: chapters 12-END review
FLIGHT OF FEAR--CHAPTER TWELVE--SYNOPSIS
TITLE: DISRUPTED PLANS--runs from page 170 to page 184
In the drugstore, the other five wait out the day during which boys, play fighting, knock into the rack. As he tries to radio the others, Fitz, in 703, is held up to a window by Bart, then the ship is put on a heat radiator. He is trying to reach them every half hour. Bart and the others try to figure out where Steve and the others are---as Bart slips his book of matches into his pocket. Barry and Chipper play tag around Jen's slippers and later, on the tabletop where she puts them. Barry spots the map as Bart is relighting his pipe. Jen, who called in sick, now goes to work---this drugstore is the place the 703 party went to. She began searching for the others, even dropping a magazine near the rack purposely so she could bend down to look. Jen receives a strange phone call just before closing. The manager has to wait for her before closing. The Earthlings eat first, then begin. Mark, alone, saw fallen ice cream---and a swarm of giant flies. At watch repair, he climbs up draw knobs and after a few close calls, manages to get up to the repair bench. This is by the window from which a family of giants came strolling by to look in. Mark hides in a mantel clock, avoiding a swinging pendulum which began to strike---deafening him for a few moments until the family moved on.
Before this, Steve and Dan made fun of the way the girls fussed and primped over their looks. Steve sighed, "Whom do they think they're going to meet?" To keep them free from dust, Steve orders Dan to go around the counter.
Dan says, "There's something wrong with the pecking order around here."
Betty demands, "Are you calling me a hen?"
"No chick," Dan replied. He surveys the counters, "This time it'll be a long haul. We shouldn't have let eat first." Before Betty could protest, Dan and Steve strode ahead. They use the nylon line and wrapping paper to get up to a doll and toy display. Steve heads to check on Mark; Dan explores the glass counter. The girls had to hide from the family who moved along the outside---and were peering in at them. Val, changing to wear a gown, was in bra and panties. She stood still as a doll. Betty dove into a doll box. After the family passed, Betty gets clothes for everyone--including a cowboy outfit for Barry. The family returns for a second look---and now see Valerie in an evening gown and Betty's new pile of clothes. After they move on, Val asks about private dressing rooms. Betty calls her box a coffin. Mark alerts Steve to the fact that they need a way to transport all of their finds back to the ship.
FLIGHT OF FEAR--CHAPTER THIRTEEN--SYNOPSIS
TITLE: DESPERATE MEASURES---running from page 185 to page 200
Steve and Dan get two batteries down. Dan, from above, uses a crane to remove a toy truck, then aides Steve to put the batteries in--all from above. Cartley waits for a patrolman to leave the area. Bart puts 703 on the back seat of his car--then drives to the park and the drugstore. Jen, unable to sleep, dresses and heads toward the drugstore. Mark puts all his tools and metals in a giant envelope and tosses it to Steve. Dan lowered Betty down with the crane. Steve and Mark, in the truck, pick her up; Steve, using hand signals. Betty tells them, "Val said she'd be right back."
Mark growls, "That doesn't mean anything." The clothes were loaded on the truck also. The trio hear a noise at the rear of the store. Steve drives them to the front and motions to Dan, who goes to Valerie. Val, trying to get the cap off lipstick, gets mischievous and squirts a perfume atomizer at Dan---who spotted a giant coming from the rear of the store seconds before he was blinded by Val. Steve tells Mark to get Betty to shelter, wondering if Wilson noticed he didn't include Valerie in his rescue thoughts--he'd seen what she did to Dan. It was only horseplay and Steve was sure it was unintentional trouble she caused: Val wasn't malicious, just unthinking at times. The giant has spotted the cloud of perfume, which stops his advancement into the store. He also saw a man--a giant man--outside the store. Mark and Betty beneath a rotary motor, tried to get Steve's attention: he would be seen by the giant outside the doors.
In 703 in Bart's car, Fitzhugh kept calling for the others. Val guided a recovering Dan behind a perfume bottle. Betty clanged Mark's radio onto the blade of the mower; this gets Steve attention and Mark's ire. Mark waved him to safety, then scolds Betty. He considered turning it on to test it but figures there was nothing to receive around here anyway. Bart Enderle was outside the glass doors, deciding to go look at the parking lot. Steve saw Mark was fussing with his radio and figured Mark was trying to reach him again. He turned on his radio and heard a voice---not Mark's voice---calling him, "Come in."
Steve asked, "Can you see Dan or Valerie?" Fitzhugh nearly fell off his chair on 703's flight deck when Steve's voice sounded loud and clear from a speaker, "Can you see Dan or Valerie?" Quickly, Fitzhugh called Steve and explained. Steve wondered if it was a giant trap and Fitzhugh had been captured and tricked or maybe Fitzhugh had talked after being captured. When Fitzhugh explains, Mark and Betty listen also, Steve signaling them to put their radio on too. Dan did not have his radio. Steve sends Fitzhugh to the car's arm rest to call Bart, who was now meeting Jen on the side of the store. The giant aide ran back to the rear of the store to find Cartley. Dan and Valerie climb down. Cartley changes his plan: killing Bart and make it look like he surprised burglars at the store where his girlfriend worked---while trying to get in himself to get drugs that he would peddle to dealers. Bart and Jen give up trying to see if little people are in the store and head toward the front door again. Dan uses a ceiling cord hung to advertise items, tied to a perfume bottle and to the back of the truck in a plan to break the front door glass. Mark spots a giant returning from the rear of the store---a giant with a gun. Betty sees Bart and Jen outside the front door. After a few tries, Steve sends the bottle crashing through the front door glass---and Dan knives the cord to prevent the truck from flipping over.
FLIGHT OF FEAR---CHAPTER FOURTEEN---SYNOPSIS
TITLE: TAKEOFF--page 201 to page 212
Steve drove over the glass and outside but the truck falls onto its side. "We tried. No one can deny that," he said. Bart pulled Jen back from the exploding door. Bart then bent over the truck--just as Cartley was taking aim with his gun. Cartley's two aides took their loot and ran out to their car once they heard the terrible sound of crashing and crunching glass. Cartley shot as Bart, then saw him go down (at the exact same moment he stooped to pick up the truck). Was he dead? Cartley, to find out, moved in closer to finish the job if he wasn't dead. Cartley then fled at the sound of loud police siren. Fitzhugh, before all of this, worried. Then he heard the sound of the crash. Barry recalled how Mark augmented Chipper's barks and now uses the method to all out his boyish imitation of a police siren. Fitzhugh, startled, fell off the armrest into the blanket folds. Police capture Cartley's pals. Bart picked up the truck before the arrival of the police---feeling a whanging projectile over his head (the bullet obviously the shot disguised with a silencer). Then alarms began. Fitzhugh finally stopped Barry's efforts at the mike with Bart wondering why Fitzhugh made all that noise. Bart was about to pull away with 703, the truck, and the little people all under the blanket on the back seat when Detective-Sergeant Wollen stopped him---with a gun out. Wollen orders him to wait, then rounds up Cartley. Under the blanket, Steve guides everyone aboard 703 and they shut off the lights. Steve and Mark, by the radio, listen to Wollen and Bart when the other giant returned.
Wollen had Cartley tailed and he and the police were close by. He explains everything to them: Jen was worried and nervous as reported by her store manager but Wollen figures this was due to the fact that Bart had taken it upon himself to tail Cartley for evidence. Wollen says Jen broke the front door to stop the crooks. He goes on to claim victims and crooks all use greed and situations to their own ends but he believes Bart was honest. Wollen, who kept looking at the back seat, tells Bart he doesn't want to catch any little people---he saw--or thought he saw little people prints in the powder near an atomizer in the store but claims as he got closer to it, a sneeze from him cleared it all away. As Bart wonders if Wollen saw him remove the 703 from the park, Wollen mentions not to get out of the car when the reporters question them---to stay in the car. He tells Bart they may "mess" with his medical kit, obviously referring to the back seat. He finishes with, "I haven't caught sight of the little people yet---and I'm sort of hoping I don't."
Mark spoke in 703's darkness, "Not all the giants are ogres."
"They're a lot like us," Steve agreed, "The good and the bad, the understanding ones, and those who misunderstand because they don't know or don't wish to know, preferring to believe rumors, old wives' tales..." He was silent for the remainder of the trip.
Later as dawn began, Steve tells Bart, "The police officer told you to avoid further risk on our behalf." Bart will put 703 down in a clear spot and they'll takeoff and make repairs in some other place. Bart and Jen try to mask their relief at this news. Fitzhugh says goodbye, Bart forgetting his doubts of Fitzhugh's MD. Fitzhugh hopes for a future meeting between them. The two giants shake hands with every member of 703's compliment. Bart tells them to head east toward a friend from medical school who planned on opening a practice. The friend is a radio ham and they can contact him. Mark asks for a code word.
At the same time, Val, smiling at Bart, said, "You're a doll." Steve pegs this as the code: "You're a doll."
Soon 703 took off. Barry, when it was in level flight, played lasso with Chipper. He wore a cowboy outfit. Fitzhugh laughed, wearing his new Navy uniform. Betty places clothes for Valerie beside her friend, who still had on the evening gown, "I don't think you'll want to wear that for the rest of the trip, for while we hope for the best, I don't think it will be one continual ball." Val calls Betty a doll. In the cockpit, Dan relaxed, "That was quite a stopover, Steve."
Mark spoke from the radio set up, "I wonder how many more we'll have to make."
Steve shrugged, "As many as necessary." He set course east, toward the new day and new hopes in the land of the giants.
FLIGHT OF FEAR--FINAL COMMENTS---
The last three chapters indicate a comedy of errors and a chain reaction of terrors, with more emphasis on the later. The way one character's action and reaction affects and or saves another character is fantastic. Such is Barry's siren saving Bart from Cartley's gunshot, even though Bart blamed Fitzhugh for making the sound and drawing too much attention to the area. There are more examples in the synopsis but the novel does it best. The last chapter gives us typical a LAND OF THE GIANTS climax with action and all. Both the last chapter and its previous chapter (14 and 13) give us the action on many levels--from Steve's viewpoint, Bart's, and Mark's, Dan's, Cartley's and even his two aides. Yet it is fast moving and exciting. When one event occurs, we wonder how it will be explained and resolved. The Fitzhugh radio call was another fine example or writing what could have been a dull sequence in an imaginative and entertaining way.
Wollen seemed like Lt. Greyson from THE DEADLY DART episode and I can imagine John Dehner in the role. It is really up for conjecture whether Wollen actually knew Bart was helping the little people or not. Steve thought so but from the novel it is difficult to determine what Wollen knew. Wollen's last speech is a good subtle moment--does he or doesn't he know? I'd say he does---it makes the character more likeable to think he knew what was happening and let Bart and the little people go. Cartley is the real villain, even his two pals don't seem all that bad even though they are.
The most important aspect of FLIGHT OF FEAR is its optimism. It is only my opinion but LAND OF THE GIANTS is an optimistic series more so than a dark one. Although there are dark episodes throughout its run (just as FLIGHT OF FEAR has dark moments and dark chapters) it is basically an "up" series. By Year 2, the jungle was less dangerous and almost pretty. The jungle sounds were changed to softer bird sounds. Dangerous insects and animals were encountered less. There were more daytime scenes, indeed entire episodes were filmed in daytime as opposed to Year 1 where entire night time episodes pervaded. Plots in Year 2 were a bit lighter. Year 1, with its emphasis on survival (hunger, death, brainwashing, betrayal, following rules), was optimistic. Through it all, the seven very different people managed to pull together, accept each other, and even change somewhat over time. They were, in fact, like a family by EVERY DOG NEEDS A BOY (more a family than the Robinsons on LOST IN SPACE by year three of that series). There were always some friendly giants: Dr. Brule, Gorak, the girl in THE BOUNTY HUNTER, the parents in RESCUE and SHELL GAME, Pepe, Andre, and Ben. Somehow, I kept thinking of Ben and Andre whenever I read about Bart. Both remind me of Bart's character and situation. Andre had to help the little people undercover in NIGHTMARE and Ben was somewhat of a doctor who liked the little people a lot and helped them dave Chipper, performing an operation in EVERY DOG NEEDS A BOY. The similarities to the mission in the finale of OUR MAN O'REILLY has already been mentioned.
In some ways, FLIGHT OF FEAR ignores some of the series's more friendly meetings but does so to present us with a first friendly meeting and does so credibly and magnificently. FLIGHT OF FEAR gets my nomination and vote for the best LAND OF THE GIANTS spinoff (and possibly the best LAND OF THE GIANTS story period!) for many reasons including magnificent writing, biting social notations, furthering relationships of both the series and original characters, and its eventual hopeful climax.