- 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: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,066,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The LEGION OF SPACE (Collier Nucleus Fantasy & Science Fiction) Board book – December 10, 1990
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Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
"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?
Part of the novel's success rests on Williamson's decision to steal ideas from mainstream literature. The story is a reworking of _The Three Musketeers_. And the character of the roguish Giles Habibula (who steals the show from the others) was modeled partly on Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff and partly on characters from Rabelais. Here he is in action, while being pursued by guards:
"Ah, poor old Giles is dying for a drink. Perishing for one blessed sip of wine! His precious throat is dry as leather. Poor old Giles; lame, feeble, sick old Giles Habibula-- he can't stand this any longer. Climbing till he feels like a mortal mechanical monkey!" (61)
Giles always manages to rise to the occasion, picking locks, refitting engines, fighting-- and whining and complaining every step of the way.
The style is an old-fashioned type that Williamson later outgrew. It is heavily visual, with sharp shapes and bold, strong colors. Here is a scene on a terraformed Phobos:
The _Purple Dream_ dropped upon the landing stage atop the square, titanic tower. Beyond the edge of the platform, when they disembarked, John Star could see the roofs of the building's great wings, glistening expanses of purple stretching out across the vivid green lawn and garden.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
received the wrong cover art and not the one I ordered,got a different cover,the story inside is the same,but wrong cover art,Published 16 months ago by ralph altman
This book makes my top 100 books of all time not so much because it's great literature, terrifically innovative, or even unique science fiction... Read morePublished on July 21, 2011 by KCS_Science
This is not a review, but rather a correction. Do not purchase this book based upon the assumption that it was published in 1947 by Pyramid Books. Read morePublished on June 11, 2011 by Paul Wake Baker
"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... Read morePublished on February 1, 2009 by s.ferber
Shakespearean space musketeers.
Or, Porthos = Falstaff?
Anyway, a newly minted Legion of Space officer is sent to a planetary outpost where he finds that... Read more
"Legion of Space" is a somewhat silly adventure story, first written in 1935, about a small group of space naval officers on a desperate mission through space to a distant planet;... Read morePublished on October 11, 2007 by Mitchell Glodek