“There Shall Be Darkness”
Miracle in Three Dimensions
Trade Paper, $16.95
Original publication, Astounding, February 1942
I meant to have this review posted a few days ago, but Real Life got in the way. (I am legally prohibited from discussing the situation; its a personnel matter.) I just finished reading the story a little while ago.
It’s definitely a blend of Brackett setting and Howardian themes. James Douglas, AKA Jamie, is the commander of the Earth forces on the planet Venus. There’s some indication this may taken place in the future of the Northwest Smith series. In the first scene, Jamie comes in and asks for segir whiskey, the preferred drink of Northwest Smith. If it is the same future, it’s much later along the timeline.
You can’t blame him for wanting a drink. He’s in a bad situation. He’s just received his orders to evacuate Venus. The Empire of Earth is falling. Barbarians, the less developed races in the solar system in this instance, have conquered Mars and are in the process of invading Earth. There are overtones of ancient Rome in this setup. Jamie’s Venusian lover, Quanna, begs him to take her to Earth. He refuses, so she takes matters into her own hands.
Jamie is dealing with an outlaw chieftain, Vastari, who is the only person who can unite the squabbling Venusian tribes into a single unit. Vastari sees himself as a freedom fighter, a soldier struggling to throw off the yoke of tyranny. He’s also Quanna’s brother. Jamie thinks she’s a loyal lover. Vastari thinks she’s a loyal spy. Quanna is only loyal to herself. Continue reading