[originally posted here at Castalia House]
Raiders of the Second Moon by Basil Wells (as Gene Ellerman) appeared in the Summer 1945 issue of Planet Stories.
Of all the short stories I’ve read over the last year, Raiders of the Second Moon is by far one of my favorites. I would go so far as to say it’s a perfect sword and planet pulp piece. In its meagre ten pages, Raiders gives us an alien jungle world, a square-jawed American spaceman turned jungle barbarian, talking ape men, a devastatingly hot jungle huntress, a giant skull temple, blood for the blood god, and a Nazi mad scientist. Even better, like Fritz Leiber’s Jewels in the Forest, Raiders of the Second Moon could easily be run as a tabletop adventure with just a couple of stat blocks.*
Captain Stephen Dietrich has crash-landed on Sekk, a secret jungle moon hidden in orbit on the far side of the moon we know, in pursuit of the evil Dr. Karl Von Mark. The crash left Dietrich with amnesia, however. He became friend to both the human-like Zurans and the ape-like Vasads, to whom he is known as Noork, a corruption of his first words after the crash: New York.