Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New books to read

I'm demonstrating a continuation of my astounding lack of discipline about my stated reading schedule. On a whim, I've requested Henry Kuttner's Elak of Atlantis and C. L. Moore's Northwest of Earth (both in the recent Paizo Planet Stories imprint) from Inter library Loan, so when they arrive, I'll have to put my own reading on hold and have a go at them.

As with most of the Planet Stories line, these are "forgotten classics" of the pulp era. Henry Kuttner created the character of Elak to fill the void left by Howard's death---his Conan stories were a huge hit with the readership of Weird Tales. C. L. Moore, otherwise famous for writing the character Jirel of Joiry, often touted as the first female sword & sorcery hero.

Northwest Smith, on the other hand, is a kind of Han Solo or Indiana Jones like character in a setting not unlike Leigh Brackett's solar system. All of the planets, or at least the inner planets, are able to support life, and there are native humans on Mars, Venus and elsewhere that in many ways are analogous to the relationships of Western countries in the nineteenth century with various indigenous peoples in their far-flung colonies.

Anyway, this will probably mean another delay in reading my Simon Green Hawk and Fisher books... unless I can get that going really fast and read a significant portion of the omnibus before these ILL's show up. So, in case you were really excited to see my thoughts on that (something I'm sure nobody was), well... sorry.

I'm also not quite sure how to review these yet; they're both short story collections, not novels. So I guess I'll have a go at it as best as I can.
One thing that's interesting, is that both of them supposedly sport a "Lovecraftian" vibe. Northwest Smith (the character in Northwest of Earth, naturally) is maybe like Han Solo or Indiana Jones, and the setting bears some resemblances to a Leigh Brackett or Edmond Hamilton solar system setting (common to sci-fi pulps of the time) but the antagonists are often things that you'd expect to see in a Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith story.
Anyway, I don't have any direct experience with either writer, so I'm excited to uncover some "forgotten classics" of the golden age of pulp.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

As an aside, I just found out that Kuttner and Moore were actually married! After meeting because Kuttner sent basically a fan letter to that C. L. Moore chap, having no idea that she was a woman.

Funny coincidence.