Monday, December 1, 2008

Author Mike Resnick on Northwest Smith, a Science Fiction Character from the 1930s

In a recent Mind Meld panel discussion at SF Signal that asked participants about the most memorable characters in science fiction, fantasy and horror, author and editor Mike Resnick responded in part:

Northwest Smith (13 stories) -- I don't know if any other respondents will name anyone else on my list, but I feel reasonably confident that only I will name Northwest Smith. He's pulpish and two-dimensional at best, no question about it. His adventures are similar, usually erotic without being sexy (if that makes sense to you; it made sense to the distributors or the magazines wouldn't have reached the stands), and he is saved from his particular vices far more by others than by himself. But he's here because whenever my sensawonder needs a shot of adrenaline, I just pick up one of Catherine Moore's Northwest Smith stories and I'm fine twenty minutes later. I don't have much higher praise than that.”

Five of Catherine Lucille “C. L.” Moore’s thirteen stories starring her character Northwest Smith are set on Mars:

"Shambleau" (Weird Tales, November 1933)

"Scarlet Dream" (Weird Tales, May 1934)

"Dust of Gods" (Weird Tales, August 1934)

"The Cold Gray God" (Weird Tales, October 1935)

"The Tree of Life" (Weird Tales, October 1936)

All of C. L. Moore's Northwest Smith stories were published in Northwest of Earth: The Complete Northwest Smith (March 2008), which you can purchase from Paizo Publishing. The collection was reviewed by Fred Kiesche at SF Signal.

Pictured above: Northwest Smith as depicted in the 1950s.

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