Sunday, March 28, 2010

Martian Quest - Leigh Brackett

Short Story

Number of words : 6200
Percent of complex words : 6.8
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 10.4


Martin Drake

A chemist pretending to be a secretary coming to the Martian reclaimed area.

Terra Brooke

A girl, neighbour of Drake's in his new area.


Venusian settler in the reclaimed area. Drake's land is next to his.

George Breckner

Martin Drake's businessman uncle.



A Martian reclaimed area.


A Martian reclaimed area.


A city, centre of Rivatka.



Solar System political organisation.

Interworld Enterprises

Company of Martin Drake's uncle.



Martian hairy, ugly hairless horselike animal.


Great Martian desert lizard. "Wicked triangular heads shot up from the ruined vines, horny reptilian heads framed in ruffs like Triceratops. Bodies two feet longer than a tall man raised high in ominous preparation on strong clawed legs, and tails—...Khom had a tail as long as his body and his head together; a mighty, supple flail armed with rows of deadly spikes."


Martin Drake comes to Mars, an Earthman basically indentured to a wealthy uncle who took him in. After a lab incident, the chemist leaves, and decides to settl e in the Martian reclaimed area. He meets his neighbour, who begins to fill him in on the problems they face.

The chief of these other than hard work and hard living in a dry desert landscape is a giant lizardlike creature that eats all their crops, and is mostly impervious to standard weaponry. Tels discovers Drake is no secretary, but a chemist, and implores him to study the problem - as the program will have its funding cut off in less than two weeks.

Drake gets nowhere until one of the Khom is killed, and he gets to dissect the body, uncovering how the beasts feed - and what he can do to their food cycle to basically wipe them out, much like poisoning rats or ants to go back and spread the damage to their fellow.

3.5 out of 5

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