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The LEGION OF SPACE (Collier Nucleus Fantasy & Science Fiction) Board book – December 10, 1990


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Product Details

  • Series: Collier Nucleus Fantasy & Science Fiction
  • Board book: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Paper Fiction (December 10, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 002038355X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0020383550
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,894,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
Isaac Asimov was fascinated by "The Legion of Space" as a boy, but found it unreadable when he came back to it as an adult. This isn't particularly surprising. "The Legion of Space" is a perfect snapshot of 1930's space opera, or "super science stories" as they were known at the time. Reading it for the first time recently, I can only imagine what mind-blowing effect this breathless tale would have had on an imaginative twelve year old in Depression-era America.
No doubt inspired by the sort of adventurous, gadget-oriented science fiction that E.E. Smith began in the late 1920's with "Skylark of Space" and the stories John W. Campbell, Jr. was writing a few short years later, "Legion" takes us into the 30th century with a swashbuckling fight for the solar system. Owing much to "The Three Musketeers," the few remaining members of the Legion travel via hyperspace (remember, this is 1935!!!) to a wandering star populated by the Medusae, who are classic pulp BEMs (Bug Eyed Monsters), complete with gelatinous tentacles. They get to rescue a beautiful girl who is able to build a secret weapon known only as AKKA. Needless to say, the good guys win.
The "super science story" became comic-book fodder within a few years when John W. Campbell, Jr. became editor of "Astounding Science Fiction" magazine (later "Analog"). Campbell presented the world with Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and a host of other writers who took science fiction in a much more serious direction. Williamson, unlike many others, managed to adapt to the world editor Campbell was building. Others did not, or didn't even try (like E.E. Smith).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By jrmspnc on February 4, 2002
Format: Board book
It is always interesting to read science-fiction written before Childhood's End and Stranger in a Strange Land, back when anything that wasn't human was necessarily evil and bent on humanity's destruction. Most of today's sci-fi's writers go to great lengths to create and explain alien civilizations; not so in The Legion of Space. The aliens are ugly and they want to kill us. Period.
"A reader" has already accurately summed up the novel. I will add only that The Legion of Space is an interesting read for its gender portrayals. As one would expect from the 1930s, the male characters are all obsessed with how fragile and vulnerable the heroine is; they must do whatever they can to protect her and shelter her and the thought of her in danger or even uncomfortable fills them with chauvinistic horror. Williamson allows the men to carry on this way throughout the book, all the while giving us a woman character who needs no protection whatsoever and saves the day herself. No weeping in hysterics for this heroine; Leia-like she leads the escape from the alien fortress while the men hesitate. She and she alone has the secret to the weapon of ultimate destruction, and she unhesitatingly builds it and deploys it. Not bad for 1936, eh?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bromptonboy VINE VOICE on March 4, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jack Williamson is one of the most noted Grand Masters of Science Fiction. This is one of his earlier works, and has the unmistakeable feel of the era (Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers). It is very dated, but still a 'ripping good' read.

This book introduces one of my favorite characters in all Sci-fi: Gile Habibula - who is loosely based on Falstaff (according the JW himself).

Sit back with this book, and enjoy as the Legion legens (John Ulnar, Hal Samdu, and Giles) - fight the evil members of the reactionairy Purple Hall.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By s.ferber on February 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Legion of Space," the opening salvo of a tetralogy that Jack Williamson wrote over a nearly 50-year period, was initially released as a six-part serial in the April-September 1934 issues of "Astounding Stories." (This was some years before the publication changed its name to "Astounding Science-Fiction," in March '38, and, with the guidance of newly ensconced editor John W. Campbell, Jr., became the most influential magazine in sci-fi history.) It was ultimately given the hardcover novel treatment in 1947. One of the enduring classics of swashbuckling "space opera," "Legion" is a true page-turner, written in the best pulp style. Though Williamson had only sold his first story, "The Metal Man," some six years before, by 1934 he showed that he was capable of coming out with a blazing saga of space action to rival those of E.E. "Doc" Smith himself. That elusive "sense of wonder" is much in evidence in "Legion," and the book's relentless pace, nonstop action, incessant cliffhangers, and remarkable panache make it truly unputdownable. Simply put, the book is a blast.

In it, we meet young John Ulnar, a recent graduate, after five years of training, of the Legion Academy. His initial posting as a Legionnaire is the planet Mars, where his supremely important duty is to guard beautiful Aladoree Anthar, keeper of the secret of AKKA, the system's ultimate superweapon. Three fellow Legionnaires (read: 30th century musketeers) are detailed to the same assignment, and so we get to meet, for the first time, the perpetually cool Jay Kalan; a redheaded giant of enormous strength, Hal Samdu (yes, an anagram of "Dumas"); and the perpetually complaining Giles Habibula, a master lock picker and a character universally described, in the 75 years since his initial appearance, as "Falstaffian.
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