The Beast-Jewel of Mars

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Hollywood director Howard Hawks was so impressed by this novel that he had his secretary call in "this guy Brackett" to help William Faulkner write the script for The Big Sleep The film, starring Humphrey Bogart and written by Leigh Brackett, William Faulkner, and Jules Furthman , is considered one of the best movies ever made in the genre.

At the same time, Brackett's science fiction stories were becoming more ambitious. Shadow Over Mars was her first novel-length science fiction story, and though still somewhat rough-edged, marked the beginning of a new style, strongly influenced by the characterization of the s detective story and film noir.

Brackett's heroes from this period are tough, two-fisted, semi-criminal, ill-fated adventurers.

Fler böcker av Leigh Brackett

Shadow' s Rick Urquhart reputedly modelled on Humphrey Bogart's shadier film characters is a ruthless, selfish space drifter, who just happens to be caught in a web of political intrigue that accidentally places the fate of Mars in his hands. Brackett only finished the first half before turning it over to Planet Stories' other acclaimed author, Ray Bradbury , so that she could leave to work on The Big Sleep. Though the story was well concluded by Bradbury, Brackett seems to have felt that her ideas in this story were insufficiently addressed, as she returns to them in later stories—particularly "Enchantress of Venus" Brackett returned from her break from science-fiction writing, caused by her cinematic endeavors, in From then on to , she produced a series of science fiction adventure stories that were longer, more ambitious, and better written than her previous work.

1. ,14 - 'Clouds/Orchestrina' (The Mars Volta leak)

To this period belong such classic representations of her planetary settings as "The Moon that Vanished" and the novel-length Sea-Kings of Mars , later published as The Sword of Rhiannon , a vivid description of Mars before its oceans evaporated. With "Queen of the Martian Catacombs" , Brackett found for the first time a character that she cared to return to.

Stark, an orphan from Earth, is raised by the semi-sentient aboriginals of Mercury , who are later killed by Earthmen. He is saved from the same fate by a Terran official, who adopts Stark and becomes his mentor. When threatened, however, Eric John Stark frequently reverts to the primitive N'Chaka, the "man without a tribe" that he was on Mercury. Miles away, safe from the thundering rocket blasts, the glassite dome of Kahora, Trade City for Mars, rose jewel-like out of the red sand. The little sun stared wearily down and the ancient hills considered it, and the old, old wandering wind passed over it, and it seemed as though the planet bore Kahora and its spaceport with patience, as though it were a small local infection that would soon be gone.

She had forgotten Joanny Niles. She had forgotten everything but her own dark thoughts.

Tinkoo Valia

The young officer studied her with covert pity, and she did not know it. Berit Winters was a big woman, and a tough woman, tempered by years of deep-space flying.


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The same glare of naked light that had burned her skin so dark had bleached her hair until it was almost white, and just in the last few months her gray eyes seemed to have caught and held a spark of that pitiless radiance. The easy good nature was gone out of them, and the lines that laughter had shaped around her mouth had deepened now into bitter scars.

A big woman, a hard woman, but a woman who was no longer in control of herself. All during the voyage out from Earth she had chain-smoked the little Venusian cigarettes that have a sedative effect.

Blue Sunset

She was smoking one now, and even so she could not keep her hands steady nor stop the everlasting tic in her right cheek. They never found his body. A spaceport taxi took Berit Winters into Kahora, and Mars vanished. She was back in the world of the Trade Cities, which belong to all planets, and none.

The Beast-Jewel of Mars – Pulp Covers

They were dedicated to the coddling of wealth and greed, little paradises where millions were made and lost in comfort, where women and men from all over the Solanr System could expend their feverish energies without regard for such annoyances as weather and gravitation. Other things than the making of money were done in the Trade Cities. The lovely plastic buildings, the terraces and gardens and the glowing web of moving walks that spun them together, offered every pleasure and civilized vice of the known worlds.

Winters hated the Trade Cities. Planet Stories 's other short stories were more varied and less easily classifiable.


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  • Fredric Brown had been an earlier contributor to Planet Stories with a charming tale that was long remembered, "Star Mouse" Spring Brown later provided a sequel, "Mitky Rides Again" November Dick contributed several more stories, of which the most interesting in respect of how his fiction would develop was "James P. Crow" May set in a Robot -dominated world in which the protagonist struggles to retain his Identity.

    Planet Stories was one of the last surviving pulps and despite its early juvenile slant it had come to be one of the most popular sf magazines and one that was fondly remembered.