Realistic Fiction Books
ROLE OF RESEARCH IN REALISTIC FICTION
Mr. Hubbard understood the importance of research and accuracy of the story details in both authenticity and sincerity—the hallmarks of literary realism—as evidenced in his statement: “A man cannot write a story unless he is deeply interested in it. If he thinks he knows a subject, then he instantly becomes careless with his technical details.”
While preparing the story Phantom Patrol, Mr. Hubbard met with a Coast Guard commanding officer and a chief petty officer. He also spent time aboard a Coast Guard patrol boat to learn enough of their life and work to make the story live and breath with reality, as he described here:
“Summoning up my nerve, I walked up the plank and rapped on the commanding officer’s door.…
“He informed me with some heat that lieutenants were never in charge in seventy-five-foot patrol boats. Only chief petty officers captained them.…
“Another Coast Guard boat was in, a slim greyhound. The deck watch was headed by a chief petty officer, a grizzled soul with a salt tang to his speech. Johnny, another C.P.O., escorted me through the vessel. He explained about engines in terms which made me squirm. He showed me everything, including how to fire a one-pounder. He told me that dope runners were bad eggs. Why, once up in Maine he had… And so passed the afternoon.
“I skittered homeward, mentally afire.” —L. Ron Hubbard, Story Vitality
L. Ron Hubbard often took it a step further in researching realistic fiction—he did in-depth research to discover not well known, and often forgotten, aspects of a subject:
“I want one slim, forgotten fact. From there a man can go anywhere and the story is very likely to prove unusual. In one old volume, for instance, I discovered that there was such a thing as a schoolmaster aboard Nelson’s ships of the line.
“That was a weird one. Why should Nelson want a schoolmaster?
“When did this occur?
“Answer: The Napoleonic Wars.
“Ah, now we’ll find out how those old ships looked. We’ll discover how they fought, what they did.
“And there was the schoolmaster during the battle. Where? In the ‘cockpit’ helping hack off arms and legs.
“Next lead indicated: Surgery during the Napoleonic Wars.…
“Complete after a few days of search, I had Mr. Tidwell, Gunner, which appeared in Adventure.” —L. Ron Hubbard, Search for Research
This is only a glimpse of the more than 200 tales that appeared on the pages of the legendary pulp magazines, where for two decades L. Ron Hubbard created realistic fiction to educate and entertain people.
This was best summed up by the editor of Thrilling Adventures:
“I guess L. Ron Hubbard needs no introduction. From the letters you send in, his yarns are about the most popular we have published. Several of you have wondered, too, how he gets the splendid color which always characters his stories of the faraway places.
“The answer is, he’s been there brothers. He’s been, and seen, and done, and plenty of all three!”
Read The Phantom Patrol and enjoy the realistic fiction of L. Ron Hubbard for yourself. Download our free gift.