Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Horse-Sense Hank. Horse-Sense Hank was created by Nelson S. Bond (Lancelot Biggs, Jessifer, Lobblies, Meg the Priestess, Pat Pending, Anne Rogers, Squaredeal Sam, Chip Warren) and appeared in five stories in Amazing Stories from 1940 to 1942, beginning with “The Scientific Pioneer” (Amazing Stories, Mar. 1940).
Horse-Sense Hank is a Superhuman. “Horse-Sense Hank” Cleaver is a rural hick who has a natural aptitude for mechanics and mathematics. He is entirely uneducated and not particularly intelligent, but he is a brilliant, unconscious human computer. He uses common sense to solve problems, but the best explanation he can give is “Just seems as if–“ He fixes broken cars just by jiggling the “thingamajig hangin’ on the whatchamaycallit.” He can plot a comet’s course, predict where a roulette wheel will land, and even travel in time. He is “a long cold drink of wisdom about thirty years old…given to lack of speech and habit of chewing tobacco.”
* I'm including the Horse-Sense Hank stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because they are fun to read. Humor, as a general rule, doesn't age well. There are exceptions, naturally, but as a rule of thumb what was funny for one group of people will be cliched for later generations. Nelson S. Bond was a humor writer, and most of his Pulp Era stories are stale and past their sell-by date. But the Horse-Sense Hank stories are an exception. The absurdity of the idiot savant Hank being inarticulately brilliant at science becomes so egregious that it becomes--and stays--humorous. And thus the charm of the stories. Of course, there's an implicit classism about the stories--we're meant to laugh at Hank because he's a rural hick--but otherwise the Hank stories remain enjoyable. Which can't be said of most humorous stories of the Pulp Era. So good for you, Nelson S. Bond.
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