Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Leigh Brackett - John Clute and Peter Nicholls

Encyclopedia of Science Fiction entry.

"She began publishing sf stories in 1940 with "Martian Quest" for ASF, and although her first novel, No Good from a Corpse (1944) was a detection the 1940s were her period of greatest activity in the sf magazines; she appeared mostly in PLANET STORIES, THRILLING WONDER STORIES and others that offered space for what rapidly became her speciality: swashbuckling but literate PLANETARY ROMANCES, usually set on MARS, though there is no series continuity joining her Martian venues.
In 1946 she married sf author Edmond HAMILTON, and may well have influenced his writing, which improved sharply after WWII; but she continued to use the name LB for her sf, for her other books, and for her film work. Some of her work from this period can be found in The Coming of the Terrans (coll of linked stories 1967) and The Halfling and Other Stories (coll 1973). She approached all she wrote with economy and vigour: everything about her stories – their colour, their narrative speed, the brooding forthrightness of their protagonists – amde them an ideal and fertile blend of traditional SPACE OPERA and SWORD AND SORCERY. She was a marked influence upon the next generation of writers. One novelette, "Lorelei of the Red Mist" (Planet Stories 1946), was written in collaboration with Ray BRADBURY.
From the mid-1940s LB tended to move somewhat longer forms, setting on her favourite BURROUGHS Mars the first part of her Eric John series: The Secret of Sinharat (1949 Planet Stories "Queen of the Martian Catacombs"; rev 1964 People of the Talisman (1951 Planet Stories as Black Amazon of Mars"; rev 1964 dos) – both reportly expanded for book publication by Edmond Hamilton and both later assembled as Eric John Stark: Outlaw Of Mars (omni 1982) – and "Enchantress of Venus (1949; vt "City of the Lost Ones"), the last being collected in The Halfling. Stark concentrates all virtues of the sword-and-sorcery hero in his figure;"

4 out of 5