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Sea-Kings Of Mars And Other Worldly Stories (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 14 Jul 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 14 Jul 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (14 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575076895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575076891
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 4.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 728,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The definitive collection by one of the genre's most influential writers

About the Author

Leigh Brackett (1915-1978) was an accomplished and prolific writer of fantasy and SF, as well as a Hollywood screen writer (she received a posthumous Oscar for the script for The Empire Strikes Back). She was married to the SF writer Edmond Hamilton.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Leigh Brackett is well known as the main writer on Howard Hawks's classic Bogart movie THE BIG SLEEP. She also wrote RIO BRAVO and several more Hawks movies, as well as doing outstanding scripts for others. She wrote the first script for The Empire Strikes Back, considered a far superior piece of work than the version eventually filmed. But she was also one of the most influential science fantasy writers of the 40s and 50s, inspiring and eventually collaborating with the young Ray Bradbury. Her stories of Eric John Stark, some of which appear in this collection, are perhaps the best examples you can find in the sf pulps of her day, appearing in the likes of PLANET STORIES, STARTLING STORIES and THRILLING WONDER STORIES. I know they were a huge influence on my own early science fantasy tales. Through Bradbury, she also influenced J.G.Ballard in such sequences as his Vermilion Sands stories. As such she can be seen as a kind of godmother to the so-called 'New Wave'. These are fast-paced, evocative tales of a Mars where lone adventurers ride strange beasts over dead sea-bottoms, seeking the secrets of ancient races who may be largely forgotten but are not necessarily dead. For sheer exotic storytelling in prose which has something in common with Hammett and Chandler, you can't beat Leigh Brackett. If you like M.John Harrison's and China Mieville's science fantasy, you'll enjoy these stories just as much. I can't say how pleased I am to see Brackett back in print.
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This is the type of science fiction story pioneered by Edgar Rice Burroughs, where swords coexist with flying machines, the men are heroic and dashing and the women beautiful and fierce, set in a dry, dying Mars or a steamy Venusian jungle. They really, REALLY don't make them like that any more. Fortunately, we still have what they used to make, and Leigh Brackett was the best of the lot--full of action, and the best stylist ever to grace science fiction.
This is not a complete Brackett, or even a complete Brackett SF. For complete I recommend the Heffner hardcovers. But if you can't afford those, want to sample first or just need great old-time SF to give to a friend, Gollancz has put together a very nice collection here, from the very early "Sorcerer of Rhiannon" to "Road to Sinharat" which was nearly her last trip to Mars. If you're looking for her best-known novels, note they're all here in the shorter magazine novella versions--SWORD OF RHIANON as "Sea Kings of Mars" SECRET OF SINHARAT as "Queen of the Martian Catacombs" and PEOPLE OF THE TALISMAN as "Black Amazon of Mars." In addition to those, "Lorelei of the Red Mist" with Ray Bradbury deserves special mention. Add in Brackett's non-fiction "Letting My Imagination Go" an afterward by Stephen Jones, a map of Brackett's Mars and the best cover painting I've ever seen for any Brackett story or collection, and you've got quite a collection. Buy two and give one to a friend. I did.
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Wow, what a collection of stories! A fantastic, accessible, read. This collection was a real "page turner", and certainly well worth a look if you want to try something different. Lets face it, if Michael Moorcock gives it 5 stars why wouldn't you buy it?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x871f73a8) out of 5 stars 1 review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x872242d0) out of 5 stars Fascinating evocative stories from a bygone era 29 Aug. 2007
By Ventura Angelo - Published on Amazon.com
leigh Brackett is one of a kind writer. Her melancholic Mars and luscious Venus are magnificent examples of science fiction worldbuilding, very original and with a sense of wonder and exotic mystery at par with E.R. Burroughs and Jack vance. Who cares if her Mercury, Mars, Venus, are not asthose we now know? Read her tales as alternare Reality, even as she makes the entire solar system improbably inhabited by humanoids. IMO the best story is "The Sword of Rhiannon", when the protagonist plunges from modern drying Mars to the martian oceans of the past, a past far from idyllic, where he shall confront a Martian Oromethean figure.
A must read for the lovers of Golden age science fiction!
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