Leigh Brackett

Discussion in 'Classic SF&F' started by Connavar, Jun 5, 2009.

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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Have you guys read this author ?

    I have heard good things about her when i look for other authors from her times.

    I was thinking about getting a short story collection of hers from an out of town library and wondered what you can tell me about her. What kind of author she was,type of SFF she wrote,famous works. I have only some vague idea about that space hero of hers.
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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    John Stark was the hero. I haven't actually read that yet, though I've had the later trilogy (The Ginger Star, The Hounds of Skaith, The Reavers of Skaith) for years - I wanted to read the earlier duo first (The Secret of Sinharat, People of the Talisman) and finally found it awhile ago. The first two were originally from 1949 and 1951 and were set in the solar system and, when she returned to it in the 70s, she reset it outside the solar system, naturally enough.

    She was mainly a Planet Stories sort of author who wrote swashbuckling "planetary romance" influenced by Burroughs. She collaborated with Bradbury some, I think. She could also turn her hand to a little more austere space opera. But she's probably best in the planetary romance or weird sort of tale where her lush visual writing style could have full play.

    I've probably most enjoyed The Best of Leigh Brackett but I've also read and enjoyed The Sword of Rhiannon (planetary romance), and The Starmen of Llyrdis and The Big Jump (space opera-ish), and also have The Nemesis from Terra to read.

    She was also married to the SF author Edmond Hamilton.

    -- Oh yeah: I think her most famous single work is probably The Long Tomorrow. I haven't had any interest in that since it's supposed to be a pared-down post-apocalyptic novel and I don't generally care for those, but it's well regarded.

    Oh, and of course, she's written the screenplays to many films, usually famous westerns, but is credited with the initial take on The Empire Strikes Back, though she died just before it was done.

    Huh. Maybe there's even more she's done, since I keep thinking of stuff, but I think those are the main highlights.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    J-Sun has hit most of the high points, I think. And if you want to try out a good sample of her work, go for The Best of Leigh Brackett, which covers a fair amount of her career, iirc.

    Oh, and both she and Ed Hamilton were friends of and influences on Michael Moorcock. To quote from the "Author's Introduction" to The Golden Barge:

    I think, with your love of the classic sf adventure tale, you'd find Leigh's work very much to your taste....
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    Ian Whates

    Ian Whates Author and Editor

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    I'll endorse what jd and J-Sun have already said. One of the very best writers of action adventure SF there was. My first intro to her came via the Skaith (John Stark) books, which I loved when I read them in my late teens.

    A few years ago (2005) Gollancz did themselves proud by releasing a great fat volume, Sea-Kings of Mars and Otherworldly Stories, containing the pick of her earlier Mars and Venus tales as part of their 'Fantasy Masterworks' series. It includes one story co-written with Bradbury. This book is still available and I'd highly recommend it.

    Good old fashioned 'Planetary Romance': action and adventure throughout.
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    I was going to say, i think she wrote the original screenplay for the Empire Strikes back.

    I've never read any of her work though.
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    Ian Whates

    Ian Whates Author and Editor

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    Yes, she did, as J-Sun mentions. In fact, I'm pretty sure this was the last thing she wrote, and that she passed away not long after delivering it.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Heh Sea Kings of Mars is the reason i made this thread, thats the library book i can get of hers. The fact that it was in Fantasy masterworks told me that might be a good place to start.

    Does collect it a John Stark story ?
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    By the way, Connavar: As a reader of Chandler, you may be interested to know that she co-wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of The Big Sleep (1946). Her co-writers were Jules Furthman and -- William Faulkner....

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0102824/
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Yeah i read about her screenplay writing for The Big Sleep in fantasticfiction.
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    iansales

    iansales Active Member

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    I can definitely recommend Sea-Kings of Mars. It's similar in tone to Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom stories, but considerably better written. A year or two again I thought planetary romance might be coming back into style, but it hasn't happened yet. But if you do want to try that particular sub-genre, then Brackett is the best at it.

    She also wrote some crime novels, I believe.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Good to know. Plus she must be good at crime novels too cause not everyone is allowed to write script for Chandler famous book specially when its other writers.

    I have an interest in the so called Sword and planet and Brackett sounded good to me.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Once again the national library catalogue sucked, Sea-Kings of Mars has not been availible for years they just didnt remove it from the site. Not a nice email to get when i was looking forward to read the book.

    Now my only choice of her works to get is the bookmooch copies of The Starmen of Llyrdis,The Halfling and other stories. Anyone read them ?
    You dont want use your bookmooch points of books you dont where they rank among her works.
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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    Well, I like The Starmen of Llyrdis, but I don't know that it's the best introduction to her. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with much of The Halfling and Other Stories but I figure that'd be the better introduction of the two if it's at all well selected, as giving a variety of her work - looks like, along with the title story, you'll get a Stark story from Planet Stories and quite a bit from Merwin's Startling and Thrilling Wonder. Still, you might want to hold out for the Ace double of Stark stories, The Sword of Rhiannon, or the Ballantine "Best" or something. But The Halfling could work out, too.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Im seriously book broke otherwouse i would that Stark book from Planet Stories publisher that has several of her works,other classic fantasy,sf authors like Kuttner,CL Moore.

    It doesnt have to be her best works, if i like reading her it would suck if i didnt read her best works in new paperbacks instead old battered books i didnt buy. Im only looking for an introduction of the kind of stories she is good at. I will get Halfling collection because as you say it has her famous hero,others.
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    Omphalos

    Omphalos הדרךקפיצת

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    She and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the script that Lucas filmed for The Empire Strikes Back too.
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    clovis-man

    clovis-man Prehistoric Irish Cynic

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    One of the last times I watched this movie (and I've done it many times) I actually read the credits and had a "Say what?!" moment when I saw those two names.

    As alluded to by others, the name of Leigh Brackett evinces a great deal of space opera nostalgia for me.
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    jowolf359

    jowolf359 New Member

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    She also was screen writer on Hatari.

    If they had left her version of The Empire Strikes back alone it would have been a better movie. But then I dislike the whole series since I found out the inspiration for Star Wars was Akira Kurasawa's The Hidden Fortress. An excellent movie, Lucas should have credited where he stole his ideas from. Just because he took the setting from Japan and placed it in space does not change the setting: what is going on and how it will turn out.
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    I've just started reading the FM Masterworks edition of "Sea Kings of Mars and Otherworldly stories" and so far completed the first two stories.

    I can definitely see the similarities with Edgar Rice Burroughs and whilst I am quite enjoying the stories and I am as yet unsure how as to whether I will really love them. Whilst the characters are more realistic and her settings/stories more imaginative, so far I've found the plotting itself less driven by that relentless energy that Burroughs was able to inject his stories with.

    Anyway, early days yet so...
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Is this your first work of her ? Her rep as queen of sword and planet type Science fantasy story is built on Stark books,novellas. I prefer her easily over ERB. Her Stark series is more timeless than John Carter.

    You reminded me to get more books of her.
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    This is my first time reading Leigh Brackett. Like I said, I've only read two stories so far so it's early days...

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