Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Treasure Of Ptakuth - Leigh Brackett

Short Story

Number of words : 6000
Percent of complex words : 7.3
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 11.5


Fog : 7.5
Flesch : 73.0
Flesch-Kincaid : 5.9



Ancient Martian city with advanced technology that can confer immortality, so the legend goes and truth reveals.


Terence Shane

Earthman adventurer.

Thaldrek of Ved

Martian adventurer.

Zendra Challoner

Shunni goddess-queen leader, only half Shunni.

Harold Challoner

Zendra's father. Apparently became a god and suicided, after he led a previous expedition to Ptakuth.



Ancient legendary city on Earth.


Moon of Mars.


Martian Archaeological Foundation

Terry Shane's employer.



Martian barbarians.


Terry Shane is an adventurer hired by the Martian Archaeological Foundation to find Ptakuth. He has a rival, in Indiana Jones style, and one somewhat dodgier.
They run into Zendra Challoner and some Shunni warriors. She is half Shunni, and her father found Ptakuth - and died, because: ""This much I can say, Shane; tell it to the men of the Martian Foundation, and let them make what good they can of it. The cyclotron fired hydrogen bullets against a screen of yttrium. Using rubidium filters, the scientists of Ptakuth generated a ray with a wonderful property; the property of making the human bloodstream radio-active with a gamma-principle. This gamma element in the blood gave a power of regeneration to the body cells, but most of all, being in itself a germ-destroying element, it made the human body immune to all disease. You can see how this would extend the life span.

"The tragedy was that the ray destroyed whatever mysterious center of the brain it is that controls sleep. Imagine, Shane; a lifetime of several centuries, with never a moment's relaxation in sleep, never a quiet time of darkness and rest. Every second of every day lived to the uttermost. Ptakuth went mad! Like Challoner, it destroyed itself, and the rest of the world said it was cursed. Ptakuth was shunned."

There's another flaw that Shane's rival Thaldrek understands. Stand in there too long, and you die. Shane has to keep this from happening both to Zendra, and himself.

3.5 out of 5

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