Category Archives: Eric John Stark

Blogging Brackett: “Black Amazon of Mars”

“Black Amazon of Mars” appeared in its original form in Planet Stories, March 1951. It was later expanded into the short novel The People of the Talisman (1964). This post will review just the original version. I’ll save comparison of the two for another day.

The story starts with Eric John Stark accompanying a Martian companion, Camar, home to the city of Kushat just south of the northern polar ice cap. Camar is dying and wants to return a sacred talisman he stole. The talisman was left by the legendary Ban Cruach to protect the city from a danger in a canyon to the north known as the Gates of Death.

Camar dies in the opening scene of the story, but not before Stark promises to fulfill his quest. The talisman is a jewel. Stark puts it against his temple, sees strange visions that come straight from Ban Cruach’s mind, and takes it off. He hides the talisman in his belt and sets off for Kushat. It isn’t long before he runs into trouble. Continue reading

Leigh Brackett

I’m still working on a post about Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp that probably won’t be done before tomorrow.  In the meantime, John M. Whalen has posted an article about Leigh Brackett and her character Eric John Stark over at Home of Heroics.  If you’ve not read Brackett, you’ve missed out, although you’re probably familiar with her work.  She wrote or co-wrote the screenplays to such movies as The Big Sleep (starring Humphrey Bogart), Rio Bravo (with some guy named John Wayne), and the first draft of an obscure film entitled The Empire Strikes Back.  In other words, she worked with the best.  Her collected short fiction is available from Haffner Presss and the Eric John Stark books are available from Paizo/Planet Stories as well as some other work.  Go read what John has to say and if you’ve not read her before, see if she’s not the type of writer whose works you want on your shelf.