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Best of Planet Stories, No. 1 by Leigh…

Best of Planet Stories, No. 1

by Leigh Brackett

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This is numbered as #1, so apparently supposed to be a series. Unfortunately there are no more.

There's a fine introduction on why she likes this particular type of story:

'“Planet, unashamedly, published ‘space opera’. Space opera, as every reader doubtless knows, is a pejorative term often applied to a story that has an element of adventure. Over the decades, brilliant and talented new writers appear, receiving great acclaim, and each and every one of them can be expected to write at least one article stating flatly that the day of space opera is over and done, thank goodness, and that henceforward these crude tales of interplanetary nonsense will be replaced by whatever type of story that writer happens to favor — closet dramas, psychological dramas, sex dramas, etc., but by God important dramas, containing nothing but Big Thinks. Ten years later, the writer in question may or may not still be around, but the space opera can be found right where it always was, sturdily driving its dark trade in heroes.”'

with a bit more:-

'“The tale of adventure — of great courage and daring, of battle against the forces of darkness and the unknown — has been with the human race since it first learned to talk. It began as a part of the primitive survival technique, interwoven with magic and ritual, to explain and propitiate the vast forces of nature with which man could not cope in any other fashion. The tales grew into religions. They became myth and legend. They became the Mabinogion and the Ulster Cycle and the Voluspa. They became Arthur and Robin Hood, and Tarzan of the Apes. The so-called space opera is the folk-tale, the hero-tale, of our particular niche in history.”'

and almost to finish:

'Who looks for a statement of any _Real Importance in a space opera? I won't tell you if any such are lurking among these stories--but if you happen to think you see one here and there you just might be right.'

As to the stories themselves, unlike Brackett I have only read something over a quarter of the stories from this magazine. This will certainly include a bunch of the better and well known tales, but not all of them. As can be seen by some of the finds in Jean Marie Stine's Planets Of Adventure series. Which, if you like this, I recommend checking out.

Brackett also says that the publisher demanded one of her stories in each volume, when talking about the old putting yourself in your own anthology faux pas.

There is no doubt I would put Lorelei Of the Red Mist and Duel On Syrtis amidst the best stories.

Not much of a fan of Brown's mouse, though. Gallun's story is reasonable - a story of survival on Mars that trends a little more towards Robinson than Burroughs.

I have quite a bit of time for Wells' whacky imagination, even if not so talented. Stories about writers tend to bore me though, probably along with a lot of other people. However, he makes this one fun.

The Bennett story is a little reminiscent of a couple of Brackett's own, like The Stellar Legion, etc. and is ok, as is the Rocklynne.

The book is worth it for the Brackett team-up, Anderson and the intro alone, though - overall a 3.43.

Best of Planet Stories : Lorelei of the Red Mist - Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury
Best of Planet Stories : The Star Mouse - Fredric Brown
Best of Planet Stories : Return of a Legend - Raymond Z. Gallun
Best of Planet Stories : Quest of Thig - Basil Wells
Best of Planet Stories : The Rocketeers Have Shaggy Ears - Keith Bennett
Best of Planet Stories : The Diversifal - Ross Rocklynne
Best of Planet Stories : Duel on Syrtis - Poul Anderson

Power from the Seawitch
Zombie army from the sea,
All shall find victory at last
Starke's barbarity

4.5 out of 5

Mitkey Minnie escape velocity.

2.5 out of 5

Neo-Martian comeback.

3.5 out of 5

Not so bad this non-Horde writer thing.

3.5 out of 5

A military science fiction short novel. This particular group gets forced down thanks to a busted up ship, and to try and survive on Venus.

This includes dangerous plans and screaming lizard-men, so they get plenty of chances to use their military skills.

3 out of 5

Gamma Group man save, 8000th century style.

3 out of 5

Bagging a Martian is hard.

4 out of 5

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2009/11/best-of-planet-stories-leigh-brackett.html ( )
  bluetyson | Nov 20, 2009 |
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