Sea-Kings of Mars by Leigh Brackett
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My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
First Published: June 1949
Read from: May10 to May 17, 2015
Also titled “The Sword of Rhiannon”, the novella “Sea-Kings of Mars” is from the 1940’s era of classic sci-fi / sword & sorcery pulp novels. I read this as a book club pick, and was looking forward to it as it sounded very similar to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars books from 20 years or more earlier, which I’ve always loved. Unfortunately I was very underwhelmed by the whole thing. The author, Leigh Brackett, is famous for her screenplays, (westerns, noir, and a first take on Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back”, strangely enough,) but this story can be summed up in one word: meh.
The writing style was decent, but everything else about this book failed to grab me. The plot (what there was) was predictable, the characters were non-existent, the ‘hero’ of the story was probably even shallower than the secondary characters. As far as his hero like qualities, the main character merely seemed to move from one encounter to another without any forethought or heroic decisions on his part, making out simply by luck, the actions of others, or because that’s what the “script” said should happen. In short it was a standard heroic action-adventure, but without a hero, very little action, and no real adventure what-so-ever. Only thing this had going for it was that it was a very short read.