Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lush and Exotic Horror-Fantasy, December 25, 2007
This review is from: Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams (Fantasy Masterworks) (Paperback)
Catherine Lucille Moore was working as a secretary when she typed up and sent in to WEIRD TALES her first and ultimately most famous short story, "Shambleau," which introduced the hardbitten space adventurer Northwest Smith and recounted his terrifying experiences with an outer-space version of the monster Medusa. Nine further Smith adventures followed, as well as five adventures of an early-medieval warrior-maid, Jirel of Joiry in a somewhat similar vein. All these tales are collected here, as originally published between 1933 and 1939 (with one exception).

I must say that reading the stories one after the other, as one does in such a collection, tends to spoil them... because they are all essentially the same story. Smith or Jirel invariably encounter an extraterrestrial or extra-dimensional being, almost always of godlike power, which creates its own exotic and terrifying world around itself. Smith or Jirel escape the influence and malign purposes of the being, mainly by sheer force of will, and so on to the next adventure. Also Moore has a favorite phrase, along the lines of "how long or how far [s]he walked, [s]he never knew," which occurs about once per page in every story, a maddening repetition if one is reading several stories per sitting.

However, what captivated WEIRD TALES readers still captivates... a dense barrage of evocations of completely other-worldly scenes and experiences, told in straightforward and rather immature but still compelling prose. The Smith adventures also contain an element which for obvious reasons doesn't appear in the Jirel tales... lavish descriptions of the physical charms of a long succession of stupifyingly beautiful and sexy women. And Smith has a semi-comical sidekick, Yarol the Venusian, whereas Jirel generally sets out completely alone.

If you come upon this collection, you'll savor these tales, but my advice is to read them one at a time, with other, unrelated readings in between. While Moore is not quite up there with the three titans of WEIRD TALES, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, she is certainly not far behind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.0 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)
5 star
0%


3 star
0%

2 star
0%

1 star
0%

Used & New from: $2.24
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Austin, TX USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 18,558