Tag Archives: Startling Stories

Blogging Brackett: “The Last Days of Shandakor”

startling_stories_195204“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

Blogging Kuttner: A Gnome There Was

A Gnome There WasA Gnome There Was
Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore)
Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 276 pg., $2.50
Cover drawing by Ed Cartier

I’ve got about half a dozen posts I need to write, including one for another blog, but with the blizzard, we’ve been cooped up in the house.  That means between my wife watching TV with the volume up too loud and my son monopolizing the laptop everytime I have to do something responsible, I’ve not gotten much done as far as reading, blogging, or writing is concerned.  I’m typing this after everyone else has gone to bed.

I started A Gnome There Was just before Thanksgiving.  I tracked down a copy some years ago simply because I was trying to find a copy of the short story “Jesting Pilot”, and this was the easiest way.  Turns out there is another story in it that I discovered last night has never been reprinted since this book was published.  At the time I thought “Jesting Pilot” was the only story I hadn’t read.

Anyway, I was getting tired of some of the stuff I was being sent to review, something I’ll discuss in my year end post in a day or so.  I decided to revisit some of my favorite Kuttner stories (something like literary comfort food).  Since many of them are in this book, that’s the one I chose.   Continue reading

Blogging Brackett: “The Woman From Altair”

Best of Brackett paperback“The Woman From Altair”
The Best of Leigh Brackett
Del Rey, 1977, 423, $1.95
Originally published in Startling Stories, July 1951

I was asked in the comments of a previous post what I thought of this story. I had only read it once when I first read The Best of Leigh Brackett, back in the fall of [redacted].  I liked all the stories, but this one didn’t have much of an impact on the 14 year-old me who read it, unlike some of the other selections in the book.

So I reread the story the other day.  Here are  my thoughts, spoilers included: Continue reading