Monday, December 14, 2009

Addendum: The Best Of Leigh Brackett - Leigh Brackett

Writing about how the maps came to be included in the volume: -

"About the maps of Mars.

A couple of years ago, I began to correspond with a lady in Minneapolis who had liked my stories about Mars and who refused to be satisfied with my explanations about why editors do not want any more of them. (The planet, they believe, has become too harsh a reality for my brand of legend.)
The lady's name was Margaret Howes, and later on I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Minneapolis convention. She told me that making maps of imaginary worlds was one of her favorite hobbies, and would I mind if she did some maps of Mars, based on my stories?
Far from minding, I was delighted. And in due course, the maps arrived, a pure labor of love, together with keys and several closely-reasoned pages concerning the reasons for placement of the cities, canals, etc. She knows my stories, and the geography (or, as she says, Areography) implied therein, much better than I do."


I thought the maps were beautiful. So did my editors, who decided to include them in this collection. And here you may find Jekkara and the Low Canals (I think the first mention of these was in "The Veil of Astellar"), and Valkis, and Barrakesh where John Ross met the man from Shandakor, and Shandakor itself, and that other lost city of Sinharat, beautiful derelicts in those haunted seas of drifting sand, of which Viking Lander is presently taking such incredible photographs.
The cities and canals, of course, are fantasy. But the maps themselves . . . not so. Listen to the Cartographer.
"No doubt you have the new probe map of Mars, and you will note that I took as much advantage of real natural features as I could. Syrtis Major and Sabaeus Sinus are obvious, of course, as the Eastern Drylands (I imagine this to have been a very deep section of ocean). Edom and Crater 2, in Syrtis, make good oasis spots, as does Solis Lacus for an oasis on the ocean bottom. Aurorae Sinus and Margaritifer Sinus have to be mostly desert, because all the stories speak of crossing only desert to get to Valkis or Jekkara. Shandakor is up there in Boreo Syrtis; Mare Acidalium becomes the hills of Outer Kesh; Oxia Palus is perfect for the location of the Wells of Karthedon; and no doubt you'll recognize the Nix Olympica area, not far from Kahora.
"The other hemisphere doesn't give so much in the way of definite features to make use of, except that I do have Narrissan at the top of Nodus Laocontis;

4 out of 5

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