I’ve posted about this story before. But I was provoked to point to it again after discovering Alex Schomburg‘s wonderful interior art illustration, above, and the editorial about it, probably written by Samuel Mines, below.
SOME few decades ago an artist was only a man or woman who painted pictures. The word was not applied to sculptors, to poets, to composers, to actors or to authors. You painted pictures or you weren’t an artist and that was that.
Fortunately the term was expanded to include anyone in any sort of work who dies his job an artistic fashion – whether that work is juggling cigar boxes like the late W.C. Fields or stealing based like Tyrus Raymond Cobb. And authors, since fiction-writing is today rated as an art, are generally awarded the term.
Most of the time they don’t rate it – for the artist must convey feeling through the creation of an illusion that casts a tight web around the beholder and impels him into the mood the artist desires. It is a very special magic and only a very few authors have acquired its mastery.
Leigh Brackett is certainly one of them. She can cast a mood-net more unerringly than the most expert fisherman, can paint word-pictures that strike correspondingly vivid images in the mind and the imagination of the reader. Using the same keyboards employed by less gifted authors she can evoke high tragedy, ecstasy, the sense and vision of unbearable beauty or decay or horror.
We have a hunch that this story finds her at her very best. There may be some who will say that it is not properly science fiction. To which, as in the case of Ray Bradbury, we can only counter, “Who cares?” – THE EDITOR
The Last Days Of Shandakor
By Leigh Brackett; Read by Nathan Osgood
2 MP3 Files via TORRENT* – Approx. 56 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC 7 / 7th Dimension
Broadcast: March 2007
An epic space adventure written in which Mars is portrayed as a dying planet where desperate Earthmen compete with the last Martians and other alien races for lost knowledge and hidden power. First published in April 1952 issue of Startling Stories.
*Available through the number one source for publicly funded radio drama on the internet, RadioArchive.cc.
Posted by Jesse Willis
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