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Famous Like Me > Writer > B > Leigh Brackett

Profile of Leigh Brackett on Famous Like Me

Name: Leigh Brackett  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 7th December 1915
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, USA
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Leigh Brackett (December 7, 1915 - March 18, 1978), although best known for her fantasy and science fiction, also wrote mystery novels and Hollywood screenplays, most notably The Big Sleep (1945), Rio Bravo (1959), The Long Goodbye (1973) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) She received the Hugo award posthumously for this in 1981. The last was a departure for Brackett, since until then, all of her science fiction had been in the form of novels and short stories rather than screenplays.

Career overview

Leigh Douglass Brackett was born in Los Angeles, California.

Her first published science fiction story was "Martian Quest", which appeared in the February 1940 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Her first novel, "No Good from a Corpse", published in 1944, was a hard-boiled mystery novel in the tradition of Raymond Chandler. Hollywood director Howard Hawks was so impressed by this novel that he had his secretary call in "this guy Brackett" to help William Faulkner write the script for The Big Sleep (1946). The film, starring Humphrey Bogart and written by Leigh Brackett, William Faulkner, and Jules Furthman, is considered one of the best movies ever made in the genre.

In 1946, Brackett married science fiction author Edmond Hamilton, and may well have had a positive influence on the quality of his own writing, given that the characters in his own Captain Future series became more complex after the marriage. In the same year, Planet Stories published one of Brackett's most influential short fiction works, the novella Lorelei of the Red Mist, a collaboration with Ray Bradbury, featuring Eric John Stark, Brackett's hallmark science fiction character.

While Brackett published mainly short fiction in the 1940s, she concentrated on longer works of fiction in the fifties and early sixties. By the mid-1950s, however, most of Brackett's writing was for the more lucrative film and television markets. She returned to science fiction in the seventies with the publication of The Ginger Star (1974), The Hounds of Skaith (1974) and The Reavers of Skaith (1976), collected as The Book of Skaith in 1976, reworkings of her Eric John Stark stories, but set on Skaith rather than Mars.

Most of Brackett's science fiction is best characterized as either space opera or planetary romance, the latter mainly centering on a Martian venue influenced by Percival Lowell and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Brackett's Mars is a world of science fantasy, an arid, dying planet, populated by ancient, decadent and mostly humanoid races (see Mars in fiction). Their iron-age technology allows for plenty of swordplay and similar action, while the remnants of ancient super-technology and occasional psi powers play the part of magic. Brackett's seventies venue Skaith is less arid but otherwise similar.

Eric John Stark, Brackett's most memorable character, is sometimes compared to Robert E. Howard's Conan, but is in many respects closer to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan or Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli. Stark, an orphan from earth, is raised by the semi-sentient aboriginals of Mercury, who are later killed by earthmen. He is saved from the same fate by a terran official, who adopts Stark and becomes his mentor. When threatened, however, Eric John Stark frequently reverts to the primitive N'Chaka, the "man without a tribe" he was on Mercury. Thus, Stark is the archetypical modern man—a beast with a thin veneer of civilization.

Brackett's critically most acclaimed science fiction novels are The Sword of Rhiannon (1953) and The Long Tomorrow (1955). The former is most memorable for its vivid description of Mars before its oceans evaporated. The latter describes an agrarian, deeply technophobic society that develops after a nuclear war, and is singled out for praise because of its more obvious relevance to the present rather than its stylistic merits.



  • Enchantress of Venus (1949)
  • City of the Lost Ones
  • Shadow Over Mars (1951)
  • The Nemesis from Terra (1961 US)
  • The Starmen (1952)
  • The Galactic Breed (1955)
  • The Starmen of Llyrdis (1976)
  • The Sword of Rhiannon (1953)
  • The Big Jump (1955)
  • The Long Tomorrow (1955)
  • Alpha Centari or Die! (1963)
  • People of the Talisman (Eric John Stark) (1964) - expansion of "Black Amazon of Mars"
  • The Secret of Sinharat (Eric John Stark) (1964)
  • The Ginger Star (Eric John Stark) (1974)
  • The Hounds of Skaith (Eric John Stark) (1974)
  • The Reavers of Skaith (Eric John Stark) (1976)
  • The Book of Skaith (1976) - omnibus edition of the three Stark novels


  • The Coming of the Terrans (1967)
  • The Halfling and Other Stories (1973)
  • The Best of Leigh Brackett (1977), ed. Edmond Hamilton
  • Martian Quest: The Early Brackett (2000)
  • Stark and the Star Kings (2005), with Edmond Hamilton
  • Sea-Kings of Mars (2005) - Volume 46 in Gollancz's Fantasy Masterworks series

Short fiction

  • "Martian Quest" (February 1940)
  • "The Stellar Legion" (Winter 1940)
  • "The Treasure of Ptakuth" (April 1940)
  • "The Tapestry Gate" (August 1940)
  • "The Demons of Darkside" (January 1941)
  • "Water Pirate" (January 1941)
  • "Interplanetary Reporter" (May 1941)
  • "The Dragon-Queen of Jupiter" (Summer 1941)
  • "Lord of the Earthquake" (novelette; June 1941)
  • "No Man's Land in Space" (novelette; July 1941)
  • "A World Is Born" (July 1941)
  • "Retreat to the Stars" (November 1941)
  • "Outpost on Io" (Winter 1942)
  • "Child of the Green Light" (February 1942)
  • "The Sorcerer of Rhiannon" (novelette; February 1942)
  • "Child of the Sun" (novelette; Spring 1942)
  • "Cube from Space" (1942)
  • "Out of the Sea" (novelette; June 1942)
  • "The Halfling" (novelette; February 1943)
  • "Citadel of Lost Ships" (March 1943)
  • "The Blue Behemoth" (1943)
  • "Thralls of the Endless Night" (1943)
  • "The Jewel of Bas" (novelette; Spring 1944)
  • "Shadow Over Mars" (1944)
  • "Terror Out of Space" (1944)
  • "The Veil of Astellar" (novelette; Spring 1944)
  • "The Vanishing Venusians" (novelette; 1945)
  • Lorelei of the Red Mist (novella; Summer 1946), with Ray Bradbury
  • "The Beast-Jewel of Mars" (novelette; Winter 1948)
  • "The Moon That Vanished" (novelette; October 1948)
  • "City of the Lost Ones" (1949)
  • "The Lake of the Gone Forever" (novelette; October 1949)
  • "Queen of the Martian Catacombs" (Eric John Stark) (1949)
  • "Quest of the Starhope" (1949)
  • "Sea-Kings of Mars" (1949)
  • "The Sword of Rhiannon" (Book version of "Sea-Kings of Mars" (1949)
  • Enchantress of Venus (Eric John Stark) (novella; Fall 1949)
  • "The Dancing Girl of Ganymede" (novelette; February 1950)
  • "The Truants" (novelette; July 1950)
  • The Citadel of Lost Ages (novella; December 1950)
  • "Black Amazon of Mars" (Eric John Stark) (1951)
  • "The Starmen of Llyrdis" (1951)
  • "The Woman from Altair" (novelette; July 1951)
  • "The Shadows" (February 1952)
  • "The Last Days of Shandakor" (novelette; April 1952)
  • "Shannach - The Last" (novelette; November 1952)
  • "The Ark of Mars" (1953)
  • "Mars Minus Bisha" (January 1954)
  • "Runaway" (1954)
  • "Teleportress of Alpha C" (1954)
  • "The Tweener" (February 1955)
  • "Last Call from Sector 9G" (1955)
  • "The Queer Ones" (novelette; March 1957)
  • "The Other People" (1957)
  • "All the Colors of the Rainbow" (novelette; November 1957)
  • "The Road to Sinharat" (novelette; May 1963)
  • "Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon" (October 1964)
  • "Come Sing the Moons of Moravenn" (1973)
  • "How Bright the Stars" (1973)
  • "Mommies and Daddies" (1974)
  • "Stark and the Star Kings" (2005), with Edmond Hamilton (in the collection of the same name)

As editor

  • The Best of Planet Stories No. 1 (anthology; 1975)
  • The Best of Edmond Hamilton (collection; 1977)

Other genres

  • No Good from a Corpse (crime novel; 1944)
  • Stranger at Home (crime novel; 1946) - ghost-writer for the actor George Sanders
  • An Eye for and Eye (crime novel; 1957) - adapted for television as Markham (1959-60; CBS)
  • The Tiger Among Us (crime novel; 1957; UK 1960 as Fear No Evil), filmed as 13 West Street (1962; dir. Philip Leacock)
  • Follow the Free Wind (western novel; 1963) - received the Spur Award from Western Writers of America
  • Rio Bravo (western novel; 1959) - novelization based on the screenplay by Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett
  • Silent Partner (crime novel; 1969)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Leigh Brackett