“The Dragon-Queen of Venus”
Originally published as “The Dragon-Queen of Jupiter” Planet Stories, Summer 1941
This one is an early tale by Brackett, one of her first. And while it isn’t as polished as some of her later work, and certainly doesn’t have the depth of her longer and better known stories, you can still see the writer she would become.
The story concerns a group of soldiers manning a besieged outpost in the early days of Terran settlement on Venus. They’re running low on everything: food, fresh water, ammunition, personnel. They’re sort of a French Foreign Legion in space; at one point the commander makes a statement that no one knows anyone else’s real name. The viewpoint character is from Texas, and of course everyone calls him Tex. Continue reading →
There’s been a long tradition in the field of honoring outstanding authors with an anthology. Sometimes the anthology comes after they’ve passed on, but usually the anthology is published while the authors are still with us. Such is the case with David Drake. He’s a giant whose works have changed the genre, and for the better I might add. It’s good to see this tribute to him, especially as he’s still with us to appreciate it.
Onward, Drake! contains both original fiction as well as essays in honor of Drake. There’s a pretty wide range of stuff here. Although David Drake built his reputation with his military science fiction, particularly the Hammer’s Slammers series, he’s written in a wide variety of subgenres: epic fantasy, dark fantasy and horror, space opera, and humor. As if that weren’t enough, he’s also been an editor and historian of the field with a great appreciation of the pulp writers. I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve read by him
“The Last Days of Shandakor”
Originally published in Startling Stories, April 1952
So here’s a Mars story, a planet we’ve not looked at yet in this series of posts on Brackett. As cool as her Venus stories are (and we’re not done looking at them), Brackett’s stories of Mars are what made her reputation.
In this one, an ethnologist named John Ross is on Mars studying the various tribes and hoping to be awarded an endowed chair at a university on Earth for his work. He’s sitting in a dive, waiting for the final preparations to be made for his caravan, when a man walks in. Ross can see immediately there’s something different about this person. Everyone pretends he’s not there. When Ross asks his caravan master about the man, the caravan master tells him to forget about him. Curiosity getting the better of him, Ross approaches the man and engages him in conversation. He’ll wish he’d heeded the caravan master’s advice. Continue reading →
You don’t know me. We’ve only met a few times at conventions, and not in the last few years. I’ve always enjoyed a convention where you were in attendance. And not just because of the free books you handed out. You were never anything less than open, friendly, encouraging, and generous with your time.
I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy since the 1970s and Baen Books since the company was founded. Continue reading →
I’ve been intending to read Larry Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles for a while now. After having read the short story “Detroit Christmas”, that series just moved up the list.
In this story, Jake Sullivan is hired by an attractive young woman to find her missing husband two days before Christmas 1931. He’s a powerful healer and had served in the War in the same unit as Jake, although as a high ranking Healer, Jake had never met him. Continue reading →
In case you’re wondering why I titled this post the way I did, it’s because this book is a perfect gateway drug into heroic fantasy. All of the stories are well written and fast-moving, and with the exception of a couple that simply weren’t to my taste, I enjoyed every single one of them. I’d like to thank Baen Books for the review copy.
There are seventeen stories here, so I’m not going to give a summary of each one. I’m gong to focus on the ones that stood out to me. Those of you who’ve read my reviews for a while know how my tastes stack up against yours, so even if we don’t always like the same things, you’ll get a good idea of what to expect from Shattered Shields. Continue reading →