Brackett’s most famous creation is probably Eric John Stark--raised Tarzan-like among primitive nonhumans on Mercury. As a man caught between two worlds, Stark gets caught up in various struggles on the Earth colony worlds of Mars and Venus. Often, like in Moore’s Northwest Smith stories, this involves ancient secrets. Unlike Smith (who just seems lucky to survive the weird horror he encounters), Stark is a more of man of heroic action.
The stories in these volumes take place in the same solar system, but feature protagonists generally less “larger than life” than Stark, though usual just as hard-boiled. Most have the tension of colonizers versus native cultures that underlie the Stark stories. Often the conflict changes both sides.
There's a lot of good game inspiration in Brackett's world-building. There are the colorfu.l gaseous seas of Venus that boats can sail, but in which humans can also breath. The drug scourge of colonial Mars is shanga--radiation from certain jewels can cause a temporary atavistic transformation. A deep valley on Mercury holds the slowly pertrifiying last survivor of a psychic species.
That's just the beginning. If you've never read Brackett or you only know her Stark novels and stories, you should check these out.
|Art from original pulp magazine|