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Leigh Brackett



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(original unknown, image via)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------



"All the Colors of the Rainbow"
© Venture, Nov 1957
The Halfling and Other Stories, 1973

----------------------------------------------



"Alpha Centauri or Die!" (nv)
(exp. from "The Ark of Mars" and
"Teleportress From Alpha C")
© Planet Stories, Sep 1953
novel: Ace Double, 1963
--/ cool space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ emotion award

I am not sure in what way the original story "The Ark of Mars" (see review) got expanded into a novel - maybe the psychedelic esp cuddly aliens got added - but the overall impression now is of conflict between technology (robotic spaceships) and nature - and the final wish is "to live in peace" - overall a harmonious whole. Brackett at a good example of her more-feminine style of writing. Still, the first part of a novel (and a shorter novella) has way better suspense. + Holds the dubious award of one of the silliest titles for a good novel in sf.
review: 30-Jun-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------



"The Ark Of Mars"
(exp. into "Alpha Centauri or Die!")
© Planet Stories, Sep 1953
novel: Ace Double, 1963
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ emotion award
--/ style award

Last manned spaceship is launched by free men, hunted by sinister robotic spaceships; great adventure and atmosphere; the first part (chase to the nearest star) simply sizzles, desperation mixes with hope, great emotion there. The second part after the landing is a bit of a let-down, but still contains big depictions of truly alien mind processes, cuddly ESP alien herd, and pretty cool people politics. Solid novella, enjoyed it.
review: 30-Jun-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------



"The Beast-Jewel of Mars"
© Planet Stories, Win 1948
The Coming of the Terrans, 1967
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award


Classic stuff, look at the cover on the left! Great for espresso reading. After reading such novellas, the good cloud lingers in the mind.
review: 30-Jun-06 (read in 1992)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The Big Jump" (nv)
© Space Stories, Feb 1953
Ace Books, 1955
--/ third place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award


"Black Amazon of Mars "
(also as "People of the Talisman")
© Planet Stories, Mar 1950
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award

"Child of the Sun"
© Planet Stories, Spr 1942
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ rare find


"Child of the Green Light"
© Super Science Stories, Feb 1942
Super Science Stories (Can), Aug 1942
Super Science Stories, Apr 1951
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"The Citadel of Lost Ages"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1950
The Halfling and Other Stories,1973
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Citadel of Lost Ships"
©  Planet Stories, Mar 1943
--/ third place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award


"City of the Lost Ones"
(also as "Enchantress of Venus")
(Eric John Stark)
©  Planet Stories, Fll 1949
The Halfling and Other Stories, 1973
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"The Coming Of The Terrans" (coll)
© Ace Books, 1967
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award



"The Dancing Girl of Ganymede"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Feb 1950
The Halfling and Other Stories, 1973
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"The Dragon-Queen of Jupiter"
© Planet Stories, 1939
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find


"Empire Strikes Back" (nv)
(Star Wars # 2)
© 1980, Ballantine Books
--/ third place space sf novel
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award


"Enchantress of Venus"
(also as "City of the Lost Ones")
(Eric John Stark)
©  Planet Stories, Fll 1949
The Halfling and Other Stories, 1973
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"The Galactic Breed" (nv)
(also as "The Starmen")
(exp. as "The Starmen of Llyrdis")
© Startling Stories, Mar 1951
novel: Gnome Press, 1952
Ace Double Edition, 1955
--/ third place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ romance award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale

"The Halfling"
© Astonishing Stories, Feb 1943
The Halfling and Other Stories, 1973
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"The Halfling" (coll)
© Ace Books, 1973
--/ third place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award

"The Hounds Of Skaith" (nv)
(Skaith Series)
© 1974, Ballantine Books

"The Jewel of Bas"
(Mouse)
© Planet Stories, Spr 1944
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977
--/ third place space sf novella
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award


----------------------------------------------



"The Lake of The Gone Forever"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Oct 1949
The Halfling and Other Stories, 1973
--/ third place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award

I love colorful planetary adventures, and Leigh Brackett was the foremost provider of such outings; however all too often they seemed to have the flavour of Edgar Rice Burroughs or steeped in some steamy sword-n-sorcery. I particularly speak of her Mars & Venus series, which (as exotic as they admittedly are) can not provide true alien environment experience and only massage your romantic adventure nerve -

So... come to "Brackett's SF Parlor" for some fictional spa work: rejuvenate your sense of outre, tickle your "hot" points of grotesque and sojourn in a land of perfect male heroes and super-sensuous females... for a while. No regrets, too - you know, it's good for you.

That being said, this novella differs from the usual vein: it has a significantly more interesting planetary ecology, more realistic adventures and a toned-down plot (rooted in the way people actually behave). Thus, it reminds me more of Edmond Hamilton fiction (maybe he played a hand in this, you never know with such husband-wife writing teams) "The Lake of Gone Forever" is one of the most visually exciting pieces that Brackett ever wrote: much of it is placed among understated Antarctic-like landscapes, but there is no lack of cool alien stuff, either: mysterious cities, weird alien legends and serene warriors skillfully scattered throughout the plot.

Essentially, this is a story of a haunted man, wandering the streets of a strange city, love-struck or love-doomed (depending on the emotional stance you're in). Brackett always wrote best about the "lone ranger" characters; here, too, she transcends the simple pulp approach, giving it a noir, foreboding air - all among the stunning planetary landscapes and sizzling adventure. What more could you possibly ask for a dark misty evening with a book in one hand and spiced rum in another? One word - "Intense".

----------------------------------------------


"Interplanetary Reporter"
© Startling Stories, Mar 1941
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award
--/ romance award
--/ awesome scale
--/ rare find


"The Last Days of Shandakor"
© Startling Stories, Apr 1952
The Coming of the Terrans, 1967
--/ cool sf story

"The Long Tomorrow" (nv)
© 1955, Doubleday Books
--/ cool apocalyptic sf novel
--/ idea award

----------------------------------------------



"Lorelei of the Red Mist"
(with Ray Bradbury)
© Planet Stories, Sum 1946
--/ third place space sf novella
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ emotion award


Undiluted, guilty pleasure of the vintage pulp adventure... full of dark (somber and even macabre) tones, bathed in rays of soaring, brittle light - a heady brew, an experience not unlike a pint of complex English stout (paired with an aged cheese), enjoyed on the stepstones of a looming cathedral, not far away from an ancient cemetery, watching the purple haze and glorious golden-lined clouds of a dying sunset. The plot is not that important; the intensity of the narrative is. One of the most "sword-and-sorcerish" tales of Brackett develops into an underwater ghost story, complete with weird ocean-tree gardens and hallucinogenic seascapes. Half-way through the story Ray Bradbury takes the reins and steers this incredible novella to even loftier poetic and heroic heights.
review: 28-Jul-06 (read in 1999)

----------------------------------------------



"Mars Minus Bisha"
© Planet Stories, Jan 1954
The Coming of the Terrans, 1967
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

----------------------------------------------

"Mommies And Daddies"
© Crisis, ed. R. Elwood, 1974

"The Moon that Vanished"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Oct 1948
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977
--/ cool space sf novella
--/ wonder award

"The Nemesis from Terra" (nv)
© Ace Books, 1961
--/ fourth place space sf novel
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"No-Man's Land In Space"
© Amazing Stories, Jul 1941
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ rare find


"The Other People"
(also as "The Queer Ones")
© Venture, Mar 1957
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977
--/ cool sf story

"Outpost on Io"
© Planet Stories, 1939
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find


"People of the Talisman" (nv)
(also as "Black Amazon of Mars")
(Eric John Stark)
© Planet Stories, 1950
book: Ace Books, 1964
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award


"Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon"
© F&SF, Oct 1964
The Coming of the Terrans, 1967
--/ cool space sf novella
--/ wonder award

"Queen of the Martian Catacombs"
(Eric John Stark #1)
(also as "The Secret of Sinharat")
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, 1949
book: Ace Books, 1964
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"The Queer Ones"
(also as "The Other People")
© Venture, Mar 1957
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977
--/ cool sf story

"Rio Bravo" (nv)
© Bantam Books, 1959
--/ awesome western

"The Road to Sinharat"
© Amazing, May 1963
The Coming of the Terrans, 1967
--/ cool space sf novella
--/ wonder award

----------------------------------------------



"The Sea-Kings Of Mars"
(also as "The Sword Of Rhiannon")
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Jun 1949
--/ cool space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


There is a sense of lost empires and beauty, the sense of bitter-sweet world, much like Bradbury's Mars, but with sword-and-sorcery elements. I enjoyed this colorful concoction, even though I do not remember the details of the plot. Very well crafted tale.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1995)

----------------------------------------------

"The Secret of Sinharat" (nv)
(also as "Queen of the Martian Catacombs")
(Eric John Stark #1)
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, 1949
book: Ace Books, 1964
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"The Shadows"
© Startling Stories, Feb 1952
The Halfling and Other Stories, 1973
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"Shannachthe Last"
© Planet Stories, Nov 1952
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"The Starmen" (nv)
(also as "The Galactic Breed")
(exp. as "The Starmen of Llyrdis")
© Startling Stories, Mar 1951
novel: Gnome Press, 1952
Ace Double Edition, 1955
--/ third place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ romance award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale

"The Starmen of Llyrdis" (nv)
(also as "The Starmen")
(exp. as "The Galactic Breed")
© Startling Stories, Mar 1951
novel: Gnome Press, 1952
Ace Double Edition, 1955
--/ third place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ romance award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale

----------------------------------------------



"The Sword of Rhiannon"
(also as "Sea-Kings of Mars")
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Jun 1949
novel: Ace Double, 1959
--/ cool space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


There is a sense of lost empires and beauty, the sense of bitter-sweet world, much like Bradbury's Mars, but with sword-and-sorcery elements. I enjoyed this colorful concoction, even though I do not remember the details of the plot. Very well crafted tale.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1995)


"Expentante", Painting by Jorge de Oliveira (1949)

----------------------------------------------



"Teleportress of Alpha C"
(also part of "Alpha Centauri or Die!")
© Planet Stories, Win 1954
novel: Ace Double, 1963
--/ cool space sf novella
--/ wonder award

This novella ended up to be part of Brackett's "Alpha Centauri or Die" novel, but it does not measure up with opening story "The Ark of Mars" (see review). The robots, taking over human space flights, are like Jack Williamson's "humanoids", but perhaps more ambiguous here. Plus the girl with ESP powers is trying to find out alien mind capabilities...Overall impression is a bit slack.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------



"Terror Out of Space"
© Planet Stories, Sum 1944
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find


Vintage and wonderful. Lots of sense-of-wonder, great adventure. Read the title and shudder... taste Brackett's narrative and enjoy the atmosphere of intense and colorful action. It's a pity it hasn't been reprinted in a while. You can find it in the "Hidden Planet" anthology.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 2003)

----------------------------------------------

"The Truants"
© Startling Stories, Jul 1950
The Halfling and Other Stories, 1973

"The Tweener"
© F&SF, Feb 1955
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977

"The Vanishing Venusians"
© Planet Stories, Spr 1945
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977
--/ third place space sf novella
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"The Veil of Astellar"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spr 1944
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977
--/ third place space sf novella
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ romance award
--/ emotion award


"The Woman from Altair"
© Startling Stories, Jul 1951
The Best of Leigh Brackett, 1977
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------


(art credit: John Pitre)

BRACKETT, LEIGH Info
=================
STORIES

Planet Stories

WIN 1940 - The Stellar Legion
SUM 1941 - The Dragon Queen of Jupiter
WIN 1942 - Biographical Sketch
FEB 1942 - Child of the Sun
NOV 1942 - Outpost on IO
MAR 1943 - Citadel of Lost Ships
MAY 1943 - Blue Behemoth
FAL 1943 - Thralls of the Endless Night
SPR 1944 - Jewel of Bas
SUM 1944 - Terror out of Space
SPR 1945 - The Vanishing Venusians
SUM 1946 - Lorelei of the Red Mist (with Ray Bradbury)
WIN 1948 - Beast Jewel of Mars
FAL 1949 - Enchantress of Venus
SUM 1949 - Queen of the Martian Catacombs
MAR 1951 - Black Amazon of Mars
NOV 1952 - Shannach-the Last
SEP 1953 - The Ark of Mars
JAN 1954 - Mars Minus Bisma
WIN 1955 - Teleportress of Alpha C
SUM 1955 - Last Call From Sector 9G

Startling Stories

JAN 1941 - The Demons of Darkside
MAR 1941 - Interplanetary Reporter
FEB 1944 - Shadow Over Mars
FAL 1944 - Biographical Sketch with Photo
JUL 1950 - The Truants
MAR 1951 - The Starmen of Llydris
JUL 1951 - The Woman From Altair
FEB 1952 - The Shadows
APR 1952 - The Last Days of Shandakar
SPR 1954 - Runaway

Thrilling Wonder Stories

SPR 1944 - The Veil of Astellar
OCT 1948 - The Moon that Vanished
APR 1949 - Queen of the Starhope
JUN 1949 - Sea Kings of Mars
OCT 1949 - The Lake of the Gone Forever
FEB 1950 - The Dancing Girl of Ganymede
DEC 1950 - Citadel of the Lost Ages

Astonishing Stories

NOV 1941 - Retreat to the Stars
JUN 1942 - Out of the Sea
FEB 1943 - The Halfling

Super Science Stories

JAN 1941 - Water Pirate
FEB 1942 - Child of the Green Light
AUG 1942 - Cube From Space

Astounding Science Fiction

FEB 1940 - Martian Quest
APR 1940 - Treasure of Ptakuth
FEB 1942 - The Sorcerer of Rhiannon

Science Fiction

JUN 1941 - Lord of the Earthquake

Comet Stories

JUL 1941 - A World is Born

Amazing Stories

JUL 1941 - No Man's Land in Space
MAY 1963 - The Road to Sinharat

Space Stories

FEB 1953 - The Big Jump

Venture Science Fiction

MAR 1957 - The Queer Ones
NOV 1957 - All the Colours of the Rainbow

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

FEB 1955 - The Tweener
OCT 1964 - Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon

-----------------------------

NOVELS

1951 - Shadow Over Mars (Fall 1944 Startling Stories)
1951 - The Nemesis From Terra
1952 - The Starmen (also as The Galactic Breed and The Starmen of Llydris) (From Startling Stories Mar 1951)
1953 - The Sword of Rhiannon (originally The Sea-Kings of Mars from June 1949 Thrilling Wonder Stories)
1955 - The Big Jump (from Space Stories Feb. 1953)
1955 - The Long Tomorrow
1963 - Alpha Centauri or Die (enlarged version of Teleportress of Venus from Planet Stories Win. 1955)
1964 - The Secret of Sinharat (from Planet Stories Sum. 1949 originally titled Queen of the Martian Catacombs)
1964 - People of the Talisman (revised version of Black Amazon of Mars from Mar. 1951 Planet Stories)
1967 - The Coming of the Terrans (contains The Beast Jewel of Mars, Mars MinusBisha, The Last Days of Shandakar, Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon, The Road to Sinharat)
from Planet Win. 1948, Planet Jan. 1954, Startling  Apr. 1952, Mag of F©SF Oct. 1964 and Amazing May 1963)

-----------------------------

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EXPLANATION OF THE RATING SYSTEM:

"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.


All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
--/ first place :
--/ second place :
--/ third place :

--/ fourth place :

--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)
ALL "BEST OF" LISTS ARE LOCATED HERE

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
- series :
- novella :
- story :
- collection :

Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
originality of idea / concept

--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action

--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
intense and beautiful love / relationships

--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

--/ shock value
altogether wild

--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder

--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.

Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.