December 7, 2015 – Leigh Brackett’s 100th Birthday
Today, we celebrate the 100th birthday of one of our favorite writers, Leigh Brackett.Rather than craft a bio of our own, we’d like to share with you the lady’s own words from 1954: “I was born, of course—December 7, 1915, in Los Angeles, California; educated there and in New Orleans and Boston, where I lived for a few years. My father died before I was three, but whatever knack for writing I may have I inherited from him. Not long ago I found a bundle of his poems, plot-sketches, and half-completed stories among the family papers—an experience made more eerie by the fact that one of his stories bore a title almost identical with one I was working on myself at the time. It’s a pity that he did not live long enough to establish himself as what he always wanted to be—a writer…
“At thirteen I began writing seriously, and very serious it was, too. I wrote two heavy problem novels, quite a number of shorter stories, and several poems, All in longhand on ruled paper. I‘ve often wondered if editors really bothered to read them, and I have even more often prayed that they did not. This early, or Eolithic, Brackettiana was dealt with later in a private burning of the books.
“Most of my childhood—certainly the happiest years of it—was spent in my grandfather’s house on a rather isolated California Beach. There I swam, fished, soaked up sun, and acquired a taste for beach-combing that has never left me. There I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs and Mars. There I read Doyle’s “The Maracot Deep” in the Saturday Evening Post, another milestone. There I learned Kipling’s “Jungle Books” by heart, and made my first inroads on Rider Haggard. I also got good marks in English. These two things later betrayed me, the one into fantasy and sf, t’other into believing that writing would be an easy profession. I found out.
I sold my first story (in late 1939, to Astounding) largely because of two things. First, because this same grandfather had a sure and quiet faith in me, and showed it by financing me in my chance to write when I was quite old enough to make my own living. Second, because one Henry Kuttner, of whom you may have heard, chose to think my wobbling and misshapen efforts had some promise, and went out of his way to help me develop it.
“I have been writing for a living ever since, mostly in science fiction, sometimes in detective stories, for three years and a bit in the Hollywood studios (Columbia, Republic and Warner’s), and a very brief excursion into radio. I like to write. There are times, I’ll admit, when I wish I had chosen the profession of ditch-digging instead. (In all honesty, I’ll have to qualify that last. Since moving to the country I have actually dug a ditch, and I believe that writing is easier.) But it’s a satisfying job and one that constantly expands and changes because you can never possibly learn everything about it. You ask what my philosophy of writing is—I don’t know that I have any. To tell a good story, to tell it as well and effectively as possible, and to try to grow a little wiser and a little deeper all the time—I suppose, put into words, that’s what I aim at. Whether or not I hit it is another matter entirely.” Thankfully, she hitwhat she aimed at very well: her contributions to genre fiction—in print and on the screen—have influenced three generations of storytellers. It is arguable that without the work of Leigh Brackett,tens of millions of movie-goers would not be in cinemas next week watching STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.
So it is with great pride that we celebrate the day of Leigh Brackett’s Centennial with the announcement of a new hardcover collection of her most famous creation:
THE BOOK OF STARK By Leigh BrackettArtwork by Raymond SwanlandEdited by Stephen Haffner ISBN: 9781893887862 720+ pages Smythe-sewn HardcoverTHIS IS IT! The BIG one! All the tales of Eric John Stark in a single volume. The stories, the novels, and for the first time, Brackett’s working notes for the abandoned FOURTH “Stark” novel from 1977. Need we say more?Contents “Queen of the Martian Catacombs” “Enchantress of Venus” “Black Amazon of Mars” “Stark and the Star Kings” The Ginger Star The Hounds of Skaith The Reavers of Skaith “1977: Notes for Stark #4″
LEIGH BRACKETT CENTENNIAL Edited by Stephen Haffner Foreword by Bruce DouglassISBN: 9781893887848 500+ pages Trade Paperback Over 50 interior images Discovered by editor Stephen Haffner, Brackett’s unpublished story “They” leads off this tribute volume collecting the majority of Brackett’s nonfiction writings, supplemented with vintage interviews and commentaries/remembrances from such luminaries as Ray Bradbury, Michael Moorcock, Richard A. Lupoff, and more.LEIGH BRACKETT CENTENNIALcovers numerous facets and events of Brackett‘s life including: • Bringing Philip Marlowe into the 1970s for Robert Altman’s THE LONG GOODBYE . . . • SF author and NASA employee hosted Brackett at the launch of Apollo XII . . . • Bookseller Ray Walsh documents the day he escorted Brackett to view a new groundbreaking space-fantasy film in the summer of 1977 . . .
CONTENTS LIST All contributions are by Leigh Brackett unless noted
Introduction by editor Stephen Haffner Foreword by Bruce Douglass
A BRAND NEW NOVELETTE “They” NONFICTION & INTERVIEWSBarton, Interplanetary Reporter Meet the Authors P.S.’s Feature Flash Hero, Heroine, Heavy Give ’Em Hell, Leigh! The Story Behind the Story The Science-Fiction Field Meet the Author Who’s Who in Science Fiction conducted by Robert Briney Range by L. Sprague de Camp And As to the Admixture of Cultures on Imaginary Worlds Barsoom and Myself Foreword to The Coming of the Terrans Answers to The Double:Bill Symposium Letting My Imagination Go Avant-propos (Introduction to Le Livre de Mars) The Hawksian Woman by Naomi Wise Eulogy for John W. Campbell A Comment Upon “The Hawksian Woman” From The Big Sleep to The Long Goodbye and More or Less How We Got There The Hounds of Skaith Interview Beyond Our Narrow Skies Leigh Brackett Interview by Tony Macklin Science Fiction Writing: Experiences as a Writer by Juanita Roderick and Hugh G. Earnhart Leigh Brackett: An Interview by Paul Walker Grab What You Can Get: The Screenwriter asJourneyman Plumber by Steve Swires Letter from Leigh Brackett Letter from Judy-Lynn Del Rey Fifty Years of Wonder Introduction to Sword Woman Afterword to The Best of Leigh Brackett Addendum MARKING HER PASSING Leigh Brackett Dies by Charles N. Brown See You Later, Leigh by Andrew Offutt In Memoriam by Robert E. Briney Leigh Brackett 1916-78 by Michael Goodwin and Naomi Wise
OTHER VOICESThey Call Her for Salty Dialogue by Hedda Hopper Leigh Brackett by D. Peter Odgen N’Chaka—“Man-Without-A-Tribe” by Peter F. Roy Two-Fisted Novel Interested Director Hawks in Miss Brackett King’s Cross in Orbit: Edmond Hamilton & Leigh Brackettin Sydney & Inaugural Meeting of the Sydney Science Fiction Foundation by Patrick A. M. Terry Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury by William F. Nolan Story-Teller of Many Worlds by Edmond Hamilton Introduction to The Sword of Rhiannon by Elizabeth A. Lynn The Sword of Rhiannon by Rosemarie Arbur The Long Tomorrow by Gary K. Wolfe No “Long Goodbye” Is Good Enough by Rosemarie Arbur Leigh Brackett:American Screenwriter byAlain Silver and Elizabeth Ward Future Imperfect: Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow by Donna DeBlasio The Sword of Rhiannon by Joe Sanders The Long Tomorrow by Carl B. Yoke Collecting Leigh Brackett by Robin H. SmileyB & B: Brackett & Bradbury: 1944 by Ray Bradbury Queen of the Martian Mysteries by Michael Moorcock Prelude to Empire by Ray Walsh Red Mist and Ruins: The Symbolist Prose of Leigh Brackett by Thomas F. Bertonneau Leigh Brackett: Much More Than theQueen of Space Opera! by Bertil Falk Lorelei of the Red Mist by Richard A. Lupoff Three Days with Leigh Brackett& Edmond Hamilton by Joseph Green The Crime Fiction of Leigh Brackett by Christine Photinos Stark Adventuring: Leigh Brackett’s Eric John Stark by Mike Barrett