"The Black Amazon of Mars" by Leigh Brackett

 



Black Amazon of Mars
This week we are celebrating the birthday of noted Science Ficiton author Leigh Brackett by making on of her seminal works available for free. This is a twofold celebration since, in about a week, the new Star Wars films are set to be released.  Little known fact about Brackett, she wrote the original draft of "The Empire Strikes Back" based on an outline provided by George Lucas.  Brackett, tragically died a couple of weeks after delivering the first draft, but the subsequent drafts were written and finished by Lawrence Kasdan.  Brackett and Kasdan were both credited as writers for the script.  Brackett was first published in a 1940 issue of "Astounding Science Fiction", a magazine that was then helmed by John W. Campbell.  Her first novel "No Good From a Corpse" was actually not Science Fiction at all, it was a Chandler style hardboiled fiction piece.  It is said that many of her Science Fiction works were stylilstically closer to Noir or Hardboiled fiction than Science Fiction.  Her stories even had a macho and freebooting archetype that she repeatedly returned to in the form of Eric John Stark, the protagonist of many of her stories.

This week's book "The Black Amazon of Mars" is intelligently written with short biting prose, that still manages to be descriptive and smart.  It is very much in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs in that it attributes some very unscientific qualities to Mars and Mercury (i.e. they are habitable).  They are populated by "savages" much like the people of the Barsoom series of Burroughs.  In this story, Stark is asked by a friend to retrieve a talisman necessary to protect Mars from the "gate of evil".  Obviously this story predates more complex notions about good and evil, and likely was colored by post war "axis" sentiments, perhaps even neo-colonial ones. Below is the link to the download.  We hope you enjoy Ms. Brackett's work as much as we did.

 

The Black Amazon of Mars