Did You Just Misgender Leigh Brackett!?

Okay, there’s been this long-running narrative myth that while Leigh Brackett didn’t have to change her name to hide that she was a woman, she somehow flew beneath the radar with a masculine sounding sound name and found success that would’ve been denied to her if it were more commonly known she was not a man.

Well, I’ve found a smoking gun.

Not only was it known that Leigh Brackett was a woman, Wilbur Peacock, the editor of Planet Stories at the time, went out of his way to correct someone who referred to Brackett as “he” in a letter to the Vizigraph (Planet Stories’ letters section).

Brackett Planet Stories

Planet Stories, May 1943 Issue, P 124

This was relatively early in Brackett’s career, too. She’d only been publishing scifi in the pulps since around 1940, but in 1943 Peacock stated with confidence (and accuracy) that she would be one of the greats of science fiction.

So, a couple things. Sometimes the pulps, SF pulps in particular, are painted as some kind of boys’ club, yet most evidence I’ve seen implies that couldn’t be further from the truth. Weird Tales had several women writing both stories and letters. The issue of Thrilling I read had a pretty even split in the letters section. This is one of the earlier Vizigraphs I’ve read; here you have the Editor not only praising Brackett and confirming that she’s a woman, he even encourages the female readership he’s certain exists to interact more and get involved. Given that the later issues I’ve read tended to have more women writing into to the letters section, it seems they did!  Even if there wasn’t anything close to gender parity, the picture of the pulps and sci-fi as hostile and closed off to women just doesn’t jibe with reality.

Anyway, I would’ve included some more links, but Jeffro scooped me on writing the actual article, since I found this over the weekend and was gonna wait (but clearly this was important enough that it couldn’t wait!)

 

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“Planet Stories” ::finger quotes::

Why do I dislike Paizo’s Planet Stories imprint and recommend against people buying from them when the opportunity presents itself? Well, besides the fact that I hate Paizo and dislike several of the folks who work for them, their “Planet Stories” brand is a bit of a misnomer.

From what I’ve pieced together, Paizo found out that no one had owned the Planet Stories name and trademark for decades. The original Planet Stories folded back in the 1955 along with Love Romances and its parent company, Fiction House. The name had probably been free and unprotected for ages.

It would be like if I decided to swoop in and register the trademark for Thrilling Wonder Stories or some other dead pulp magazine.  Paizo found Planet Stories’ corpse by the roadside and decided to wear its skin while publishing stuff that, ironically enough, wasn’t really Planet Stories. Paizo’s Planet Stories line is decidedly more Sword & Sorcery and Weird Fiction focused than the actual Planet Stories ever was, but I decided to take a closer look at just how little Paizo’s now-discontinued line had to do with its namesake.

  1. Anubis Murders – Gary Gygax – post pulp
  2. City of the Beast – Moorcock – post pulp
  3. Black God’s Kiss – CL Moore – Weird Tales
  4. Elak of Atlantis – Henry Kuttner – Weird Tales/Strange Stories
  5. Secret of Sinharat – Leigh Brackett – Planet Stories
  6. Northwest of Earth – CL Moore – Weird Tales/Leaves/Fantastic Universe/Fantasy Magazine
  7. Lord of the Spiders – Michael Moorcock – post pulp
  8. Samarkand Solution – Gary Gygax – post pulp
  9. Almuric – RE Howard – Weird Tales
  10. The Ginger Star – Leigh Brackett – post pulp
  11. Masters of the pit – Michael Moorcock – post pulp
  12. The Swordsman of Mars – Otis Adelbert Kline – Argosy
  13. Infernal Sorceress – Gary Gygax – post pulp
  14. Worlds of Their Own – Various modern – post pulp
  15. The Hounds of Skaith – Leigh Brackett – Post Pulp
  16. The Dark World – Henry Kuttner – Startling Stories
  17. Death in Delhi – Gary Gygax – Post Pulp
  18. Reavers of Skaith – Leigh Brackett – Post Pulp
  19. Robots Have No Tails – Henry Kuttner – Astounding
  20. The Outlaws of Mars – Otis Adelbert Kline – Argosy
  21. The Sword of Rhiannon – Leigh Brackett – Thrilling Wonder Stories
  22. The Ship of Ishtar – A. Merritt – Argosy
  23. Steppe – Piers Anthony – Post Pulp
  24. The Complete Silver John – Manly Wade Wellman – MoF&SF (Post Pulp/non-pulp)
  25. Sos the Rope – Piers Anthony – Post Pulp
  26. The Walrus & The Warwulf – Hugh Cook – Post Pulp
  27. Template – Matthew Hughes – Post Pulp
  28. Before they Were Giants – Various Authors – All Post Pulp
  29. Sojan the Swordsman/Under the Warrior Star – Michael Moorcock – Post Pulp
  30. Battle in the Dawn: the complete Hok the Mighty – Manly Wade Wellman – Amazing Stories
  31. The Planet Killers – Robert Silverberg – Post Pulp
  32. Hunt the Space Witch – Robert Silverberg – Post Pulp
  33. The Chalice of Death – Robert Silverberg – Post Pulp

So, we have 21 books that are either post-pulp novels or collections of stories that were not published in the pulps, 4 books that are wholly or primarily from Weird Tales, 3 works from Argosy, and one each of Amazing Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Startling Stories, and, yes, Planet Stories.

Brackett is the one (perhaps the only) name on here who is solidly associated with the original imprint, though many of her classics were also in Startling and Thrilling (she was probably the best Thrilling ever had). Kline wrote stories you might have seen in Planet Stories, but due to the time frame he was writing in, he was primarily a writer for Argosy and Amazing.

Fall and Winter Review Round-Up

Been a long time since I shared a list of the stories I’ve been covering at Castalia House.

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http://www.castaliahouse.com/46255-2/ (Queen of the Martian Catacombs, by Leigh Brackett)

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-madcap-metalloids-by-w-v-athanas/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-s-o-s-aphrodite-by-stanley-mullen/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-starbusters-by-alfred-coppel-jr/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-peril-orbit-by-c-j-wedlake/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short_reviews_garden_of_evil_by_margaret_st_clair/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-stalemate-in-space-by-charles-l-harness/

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http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-black-amazon-of-mars-by-leigh-brackett/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-duel-on-syrtis-by-poul-anderson/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-star-saint-by-a-e-van-vogt/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-envoy-her-by-h-b-fyfe/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-asteroid-of-fear-by-raymond-z-gallun/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-diversifal-by-ross-rocklynne/

Summer Review Round-up

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a round-up of my Castalia House Short Reviews.

One of the cool things is, since someone uploaded scans of a ton of Planet Stories back in December of last year, you can actually read a most, if not all, of the stories I’ve been talking about! Going forward, I’ve been including links to where you can read the stories within the articles themselves. Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about Queen of the Martian Catacombs.

14_1949_fall_planet_anderson.jpg.scaled1000raid on the termites

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-enchantress-of-venus-by-leigh-brackett/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-giants-return-by-robert-abernathy/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-ordeal-in-space-by-ralph-sloan/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-captain-midas-by-alfred-coppel-jr/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-signal-red-by-henry-guth/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-wheel-is-death-by-roger-dee/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-action-on-azura-by-robertson-osborne/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/pulp-advertisements/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/retro-fandom-friday-is-fandom-terrible-and-should-we-cut-them-off-yn/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-vulcans-workshop-by-harl-vincent/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-hellhounds-of-the-cosmos-by-clifford-d-simak/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-the-raid-on-the-termites-by-paul-ernst/

http://www.castaliahouse.com/short-reviews-priestess-of-the-flame-by-sewell-peaslee-wright/

A Quick Short Review Round-up

Here’s a quick look a what I’ve been talking about over at Castalia House.  If you haven’t read these, check them out.  Or better yet, find these stories and read them yourself if you can!

Coming of the Gods by Chester Whitehorn – Martian vs Rat-men
Assault on a City by Jack Vance – A pulp dame saves herself from rapists.
Cosmic Yo-yo by Ross Rocklynne – Asteroid Haulers crash the competition and find true love
Mists of Mars by George A. Whittington – A Martian Princess’ revolution succeeds with the help of a space cop
The Spider Men of Gharr by Wilbur Scott Peacock – Cryofrozen action scientist awakes to find Earth conquered by evil aliens
Retro Fandom Friday – 1940s fans celebrate and complain about Sci-fi

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