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What I'm Reading: Northwest of Earth

If Han Solo had teamed up with Indiana Jones, this is what would have happened.  If Thulsa Doom had survived into the space age, he would have worshipped these same dark, strange gods from other planets. 

The 'Northwest Smith' stories date from the pulp era of science fiction, the 1930s and 1940s.  The prose is a little turgid, by today's standards, and there is NOTHING like astronomical accuracy, but the writing is lush, imaginative, menacing.  Northwest Smith was the rogue hero, ice-eyed and lightning-fast with his ray-gun, living by his wits and surviving unnamed horrors that predate Mankind's crawl from the primordial seas.  Science Fiction Book Club has done a service by publishing a collection of fine gems that were rescued from burial under crumbling magazines

Reading this kind of material is an excursion into the roots of wonder, the same way the Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey created the genres of the hero against the gods and the heroic voyage.  We do things differently nowadays, but we wouldn't have them to do at all without authors like Catherine L. Moore  creating the new lands that other authors would some day move into and claim for their own.

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deckardcanine
Mar. 11th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
I've heard that Jones was meant to be a tribute to '30s pulp in the first three movies. Guess they were pretty accurate in that regard.
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