Northwest of Earth: The Complete Northwest Smith (Trade Paperback)

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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by C.L. Moore, with an introduction by C.J. Cherryh

75th Anniversary Edition!

From the crumbling temples of forgotten gods on Venus to the seedy pleasure halls of old Mars, Northwest Smith blazes a trail through the underbelly of the solar system in 13 action-packed stories you won’t soon forget.

Among the best-written and most emotionally complex stories of the Pulp Era, the tales of intergalactic smuggler Northwest Smith still resonate strongly 75 years after their first publication. A staple of Weird Tales in its Golden Age, C.L. Moore’s stories appeared alongside work by H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith, forming the backbone of the “unique magazine’s” approach to science fiction and planetary adventure.

For the first time ever, all of Northwest Smith’s adventures have been collected in a single volume, including “Quest of the Starstone,” which pairs Smith with Moore’s other famous creation, the fierce swordswoman Jirel of Joiry!

    Contents:
  • Introduction: "Teaching the World to Dream" by C. J. Cherryh
  • "Shambleau"
  • "Black Thirst"
  • "Scarlet Dream"
  • "Dust of Gods"
  • "Julhi"
  • "Nymph of Darkness"
  • "The Cold Gray God"
  • "Yvala"
  • "Lost Parade"
  • "The Tree of Life"
  • "Quest of the Starstone"
  • "Werewoman"
  • "Song in a Minor Key"

"A delightful blend of classic science fiction, wonderful settings and some of the most memorable monsters you've never encountered."—Fred Kiesche, SFSignal.com

"If you're bored by the Saw franchise's literally mechanical twists and intrigued by the concept of crossbreeding Clark Ashton Smith with Star Wars, then try Northwest of Earth: A whole lot of bang for surprisingly little buck."—Gemma Files, FearZone.com

"For me 'Shambleau' remains one of the finest horror stories I've ever read even though it comes wrapped inside a pulp science fiction story."—Ed Gorman, editor of Pulp Masters

384-page softcover trade paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-081-0


About the Author

Twenty years after her death, Catherine Lucille Moore (1911–1987) remains one of the most influential female fantasy authors of all time. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Moore published her first story in Weird Tales in 1933, where it met with immediate success and earned praise from contemporaries such as H.P. Lovecraft. In a time when female authors were still marginalized and practically unheard of in genre fiction, Catherine hid her gender by publishing under the name C.L. Moore. She proceeded to write high-profile stories for Weird Tales and Astounding for the next decade, earning particular acclaim for her characters Jirel of Joiry, the first strong female protagonist in the sword and sorcery genre, and daring spaceman Northwest Smith. Moore met science fiction author Henry Kuttner in 1936 when he wrote her a fan letter, mistakenly believing her to be a man, and in 1940 the two were married. Together the couple collaborated on numerous stories and scripts for television shows under their own names and at least 17 pseudonyms, of which Lewis Padgett and Keith Hammond are the most recognized. In 1998 C. L. Moore was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

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***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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Read One, Then Stop

**( )( )( )

Northwest of Earth is a collection of short stories that loses by repetition. C.L. Moore published several stories in the 1930s featuring Northwest Smith and taken individually, they are quite good. The stories are infused with an unearthly, almost Lovecraftian sense of danger and decay, with writing that is evocative and atmospheric. Set in a future where other planets in the solar system have long been colonized, Northwest Smith is a grim, almost monosyllabic gun-for-hire. Although ostensibly science fiction, very little time or attention is given to the traditional trappings of the genre such as advanced technology, spacecraft, alien cultures, etc. Instead, myth, folklore, and old gods are the theme of most of these stories, which (with a couple of details changed) could easily be published as sword-and-sorcery. Moore's not even particularly interested in the type of gun Northwest carries--it's referred to variously as a "heat-gun", a "ray-gun", a "flame-gun", a "force-gun", and a "power-gun". Nor are the stories plot- or action- heavy. Exposition and imagery are the name of the game here, but Moore is a skilled enough writer that the stories hold the reader's interest: for the first time or two. Then, unfortunately, a pattern appears: Northwest Smith stumbles upon a strange, captivating woman who is alluring but dangerous; he almost falls preys to some sort of hypnotic alien threat, but his sheer force of will allows him to escape; he destroys the threat with his heat-gun and wistfully walks away. Not every story is like that in the collection, but the vast majority do follow the pattern. As originally published, months apart in magazines, this defect of repetition wouldn't be as noticeable. But collected all in one place, the stories quickly become tiresome.


Indiana Jones meets Han Solo

****( )

The Northwest Smith stories showcase a splendid imagination, evocative worlds and are propelled by the brashness of Moore's titular rogue character. Heat guns, rockets side by side classic mythology and hard boiled street settings make for a potent brew. An excellent collection. Recommended.


Blast-off to Weirdness

****( )

Charge up your heat guns and get ready for other-worldly adventure. Catherine Moore penned most of her moody and edgy space yarns in the thirties. I was not in the mood for space opera when I picked these up, but I got a good deal and the convenience of picking them up together with Black God's Kiss, so I did. I was more than rewarded for the venture. The horror of the unknown and the alien that Moore exhibited in her Jirel of Joiry stories is even more an element in her Northwest Smith stories. This brash interstellar rogue is carried through his adventures by Moore's brisk prose and evocative story-telling. In sum, I must use that most infelicitous but necessary term: unputdownable.


*****

The introduction by C. J. Cherry to this Paizo Planet Stories is brief. Basically she says these are good, you should read them, as should your grandparents and grandchildren and children.

She doesn't mention the pets, although reading them to your parrot or budgie to get them to come out with 'heat gun' or 'Northwest' sounds like a good plan, to me.

Anyway, she is right. Atmospheric bordering on horror at times, in a similar fashion to some of the Jirel tales, Northwest runs into more odd monsters and women and even monster women than you would expect any space adventurer to do.

Speaking of the flame-haired sword swinging sorcerer slicing woman of Joiry, there is a great crossover story here : 'Quest Of the Starstone'.

Very nicely done indeed to have these all in one volume, as the stories have been available in different chunks in different places in the past.

Grab a copy.


Not a great collection

**( )( )( )

Individually, these stories are good examples of early, innovative science fiction/fantasy, or more accurately, science fiction/horror. However, too many of them have the same plot and theme to really make this anthology great. If you are interested in H. P. Lovecraft style horror blended with science fiction elements, you'll find this worth buying, even if it is repetitive.


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