Heroes of Atlantis & Lemuria

Sunday , 22, September 2019 1 Comment

I am a sucker for stories with a setting of Atlantis. I discovered Atlantis at a young age reading the entries to the first volume to the Golden Book Encyclopedia. That volume had wonderful illustrations and the scene of spired towers sinking into the sea made an impression on me.

If you want some lost continent fiction, DMR Books brand new Heroes of Atlantis and Lemuria is one you want to get. One series with an Atlantean backdrop is Manly Wade Wellman’s “Kardios of Atlantis” series. Wellman wrote these in the 1970s and 80s. They originally appeared in the Swords Against Darkness anthologies, Heroic Fantasy, and Heroic Visions II. This was some of the earliest Wellman I ever read. I liked the Kardios stories from the start. They are not gloomy and doom laden (though I like that) but more on the breezy side. A bit of blasphemy, I think Wellman did a better job of this sort of thing than Fritz Leiber with his Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser series. After reading the first one, “The Straggler from Atlantis” from Swords Against Darkness, I knew I would get an entertaining, swashbuckling romp. I read all the Kardio stories in the original anthologies. Those paperbacks were easy to come by in comparison to now. This is a chance for new readers to experience them.

Golden Book Encyclopedia

Heroes of Atlantis & Lemuria contain the three Khor/Kirk of Lemuria stories by Frederic Arnold Kummer, Jr. His father, Frederic Arnold Kummer, Sr. was a popular writer of mysteries. Junior wrote for the science fiction pulp magazines and a few historicals in the late 1930s to the early 1940s. I had found out about the stories in the index to Fantastic Adventures magazine twenty-six years ago. As fortune would have it, a friend who dealt in pulps happened to have those issues. I read them and spread the word. L. Sprague de Camp was totally unaware of them when I told him about it. I made photocopies of the stories and sent them to him. De Camp did like sword and sorcery fiction.

“Adventure in Lemuria” (Fantastic Adventures, May 1939) has Khor, an adventurer from Crete finding action while using his double-bladed axe. The second story, “Intrigue in Lemuria” (Fantastic Adventures, July 1939) has the character renamed Kirk Patterson, an archaeologist who somehow travels at will to Lemuria. “Volcano Slave of Mu” (Fantastic Adventures, March 1940) has the name changed to Kirk Bradley. So, I don’t know what was going on here if Ray Palmer, editor at Fantastic Adventures had Kummer change the character or if Kummer could not make up his mind.

The last is a time travel story back to Mu by Leigh Brackett in “Lord of the Earthquake,” that originally appeared in Science Fiction, June 1941. The story has two adventures in a submersible taken back through time when sucked through a hole to the lost continent of Mu. The story itself reads like a lost race story, by 1941 Leigh Brackett had to come up with an ingenious way for an adventure. I first read this story in the Haffner Press hardback Martian Quest about ten or eleven years ago when that book came out.

So, this is an eclectic anthology almost all never reprinted fiction that is off the beaten track. Unfortunately, Manly Wade Wellman never wrote enough Kardios stories to fill out a mass market paperback. A collection of the Kardios and Hok the Cro-Magnon stories might have fit the bill once upon a time but that ship sailed in the mid-1980s. Wellman’s sublime historical Cahena had one hardback edition in 1987 and never reprinted. A hardback collecting Cahena, the Kardios stories, Hok, the chapter he wrote for Ghor, Kinslayer, and the three or so medieval historicals he had in Thrilling Adventures in the late 1930s would make for a nice small press hardback.

Heroes of Atlantis & Lemuria is $14.99 for the paperback or $2.99 on Kindle.

One Comment
  • deuce says:

    Great review! Just the Kardios tales alone would be worth the cover price. DMR puts out quality books.

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