Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Brackett, Leigh

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(1915-1978) US writer, married to sf writer Edmond Hamilton (1904-1977) and herself an influential author of space opera and Planetary Romance. Her work was strongly influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs and, to a lesser extent, Robert E Howard, though the development of Sword and Sorcery as a subgenre is as attributable to LB as to Howard. Her most fantastic works feature the character of Eric John Stark, whose adventures, originally set on Mars, were published in the pulp Magazine Planet Stories, starting with The Secret of Sinharat (1949 as "Queen of the Martian Catacombs"; exp 1964 dos) and People of the Talisman (1951 as "Black Amazon of Mars"; exp 1964 dos), both apparently expanded for book form by Hamilton. They were later assembled as Eric John Stark: Outlaw of Mars (omni 1982); by then LB's protagonist was an anachronistic though still vibrant figure. The Stark stories were revived in the 1970s, now set on the distant world of Skaith, in The Ginger Star (1974), The Hounds of Skaith (1974) and The Reavers of Skaith (1976), all assembled as The Book of Skaith (omni 1976). Perhaps her most effective Martian vision, however, is in The Sword of Rhiannon (1949 Thrilling Wonder Stories as "Sea-Kings of Mars"; 1953 dos) and its allied story, "Sorcerer of Rhiannon" (1942 Astounding), which transfers some of the Dying-Earth imagery also portrayed in works by Clark Ashton Smith, Jack Vance and Michael Moorcock to a decadent Mars. LB was one of the most influential women writers for the pulps (along with C L Moore), her work being an inspiration to Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lin Carter, Jo Clayton, Moorcock and many others. Her movie credits include co-scripting The Empire Strikes Back (1980). [MA]

Leigh Douglass Brackett


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.