Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"The Tree of Life" 1936 weird tale written by Catherine L. Moore

Thanks to the indefatigable folks at Project Gutenberg and, you can read or download "The Tree of Life," a short story penned by American science fiction writer Catherine Lucile "C. L." Moore. Originally published in the October 1936 issue of Weird Tales magazine, the story features interplanetary space hero Northwest Smith and is a gripping tale of the planet Mars and the terrible monstrosity that called its victims to it from afar. Here are the opening lines:

OVER TIME-RUINED ILLAR the searching planes swooped and circled. Northwest Smith, peering up at them with a steel-pale stare from the shelter of a half-collapsed temple, thought of vultures wheeling above carrion. All day long now they had been raking these ruins for him. Presently, he knew, thirst would begin to parch his throat and hunger to gnaw at him. There was neither food nor water in these ancient Martian ruins, and he knew that it could be only a matter of time before the urgencies of his own body would drive him out to signal those wheeling Patrol ships and trade his hard-won liberty for food and drink....

"The Tree of Life" is just one of several weird tales written by Moore that are set on the Red Planet and star Northwest Smith. The others: "Shambleau" (1933), "Scarlet Dream" (1934), "Dust of Gods" (1934), "The Cold Gray God" (1935).

[via Tinkoo Valia of Variety SF]

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