Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Looking for Bill Barnes

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Something funny happened – my character, Felice Sabatini, from The Ministry of Thunder and Cynical Little Angels, was compared to Bill Barnes.

Bill Barnes?
Now who the heck is this Bill Barnes chap?

I could say the name rang a bell – but I could not place the character.
Some research was needed.

Here’s what I found.

Bill Barnes, Air Adventurer was a pulp magazine first published in 1934 by Street & Smith, as by George L. Eaton. Most of the stories were actually penned by Charles Spain Verral and Harold P. Montayne.
Barnes was an aviation ace, but he was not a war hero like other previous characters – Barnes was a frelance pilot, an inventor and an adventurer.
The guy designed his own planes, and from his base in Long Island would go adventuring around the world – often getting into scrapes with criminals and pulp-style menaces, and sometimes simply having to deal with the problems a test pilot has to face when flying a new plane. Barnes had a team of companions, along the lines of Doc Savage‘s helpers.
Only, he did not have a steady supply of gold from South America – so Bill and his band sometimes had to find creative ways to make ends meet.

I’m trying to track down some Bill Barnes adventures, just to check out the character that seems to be my sort of hero.
In the meantime, here’s a small gallery of classic covers, including one from the Spanish edition of the series.

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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