Monday, July 17, 2006

trashy paperback round-up

Today I had to go across town to confab with my employer's attorneys. This gave me the opportunity to make a quick stop in the used bookstore across the street. (For benefit of the locals I'm talking about Priceless Book in Urbana.) I had with me a print-out of the author's and novel's listed in the Wikipedia entry on the Sword & Planet subgenre. Since reading Robert E. Howard's Almuric I have sought more entries in this field. I found three books on my list, of which I bought two. My first find was Leigh Brackett's The Ginger Star. Previous to seeing her name on my list, I had only known Ms. Brackett for her script credit for The Empire Strikes Back. The other two Sword & Planet novels I found were both by Lin Carter. Since we were talking about spending a whole American dollar on each of these babies, I decided it would be wasteful to buy 2 different Carter works until I had assured myself I like his writing. It's amazing how big of a cheapass I can be when buying these things. I also took a pass on the second book in David Brin's Uplift trilogy, as the price was a staggering three anda half bucks. Anyway, I took home with me Lin Carter's By The Light Of The Green Star, book 3 of the 5-book Green Star series. A wiser man might have selected the alternative, The Man Who Loved Mars, since it is the first book in its series. But since I was getting a ginger star I thought a green one would look nice with it. Besides, there's a blue guy on the cover! I've dug blue aliens since I first saw an Andoran on Original Series Star Trek.

I also picked up two more novels in the Dumarest of Terra series. This will allow me to test my hypothesis regarding the plot structure of the Dumarest series: will Dumarest's love interest die? I've only read 2 books in this 30-some-odd book series, but so far author E.C. Tubb is batting a thousand when it comes to killing off the girl. After the second such incident I started wondering if Mr. Tubb doesn't know any other way for his hero to end a relationship than to wait around for one of his enemies to zap the poor gal. I guess in one of the two I've read there was the woman he just stone cold walked out on. That's less violent, if no less emotionally stunted. But, hey, this post is labeled "trashy" for a reason. I'm not expecting great literature here, just rousing tales of adventure. Still I can't quite shake the suspicion that Tubb kills his heroines because it allows Odysseus-ripoff Dumarest to continue his Kirk-like escapades without the guilt of leaving a thousand broken hearts and perhaps as many star-babies in his wake. I hope I'm wrong and it's just a coincidence that the two previous installements I've read both ended with the girl dead.