It is hard for me to countenance any lack of appreciation for Leiber, but I would recommend “The Lords of Quarmall.”
If that doesn’t do it, then truly you are beyond hope!
Ultimately I found that I appreciated Brackett’s creativity but didn’t care much for the characters, and so overall the story fell flat.
Here is what Edmond Hamilton said about Jewel of Bas:
“I well remember that when I’d finished this story I shook my head in surprise and said “Hey, this gal can write!”
I side with Edmond on this one.
I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a lunatic or just flubbing it soo..
I think that story is Leigh’s memorial to Robert E Howard.
I thought that awhile ago and can’t remember all the reasons why. She does mention Atlantis and Bas has Black hair and blue eyes.
Also the tale is about Bas who created the world leaving it for others before going into eternal sleep to dream of a woman who he never had. For some reason in my head I got the idea it was Howard handing off his world to Leigh.
There is other stuff such as the action felt very Howardian. I think a somewhere in that story a huge hulking barbarian uses a corpse to bash to death a baddy.
The Long Tomorrow is a fascinating novel of a future post-apocalyptic America. I liked the premise, although the characterization fell a bit flat for me.
Read Sword of Rhiannon. It’s a novel but a short one.
Great book! I was going to post the same recommend as you, but you beat me to it! The Stark books are great, too! Regarding Leiber, I think it’s best to take him, and many other pulp writers, in small doses (though his Conjure Wife is a great read, and could be redone into a great movie). For example, I tried to read all the collected Harold Lamb (I know he wrote in the glossies) stories straight through when then came out in the Bison editions; however, I found out I didn’t enjoy them as much as if I read one story, then something by someone else. When it came to short stories I favor a volume with different writers. To me, Leiber displayed this shortcoming. He also seemed rather de Campian in overly favoring the cleverness of a character to advance a story, this could be very tiresome (it’s one reason I dislike ol’ Spragey). Earth to “clever people,” a rock in you face trumps cleverness. It may be a low IQ guy with a good arms wins, but that’s life.
Since we’re giving shout-outs to various Brackett novels, I thoroughly enjoyed Nemesis From Terra.
If you want to read Brackett hitting on all cylinders and showing her hard boiled chops alongside her sf, try “The Halfling”.
Brackett wrote a number of stories that were at least as good as anything THE BEST OF. Some couldn’t have been included due to length, but others like “The Halfling” should have. I’ll echo what was said about about “Lorelei of the Red Mist”. And you will definitely want to read “Enchantress of Venus”; it’s one of the best of the Stark stories.
I’ve blogged about a number of Brackett’s stories on my blog, if anyone is interested.
As for Leiber, I would suggest you try “The Sunken Land”. And whatever you do, don’t read “Bazaar of the Bizarre”.
Re Leiber suggestions: I would specially mention the story “A Pail of Air.”
It can be read on Project Gutenberg.
Thanks for the recommendations, guys. I will be on the lookout for these stories!
I really enjoy her Eric Stark books. Haven’t read these shorts and I am not sure how our tastes line up but it sounds like you have reasonable thoughts on them.
It’s really hard to judge an author by a short. And unfortunately, a lot of us will. Really one doesn’t know what they were necessarily going for, if it was for us, if we get their point, if they were just having an off day (I write shorts in about a day), any number of things. Sometimes I don’t even judge an author by a full book because there’s say… Anne McCaffrey’s horseback riding romance garbage which if I’d have read that first, she wouldn’t be my favorite author for example. Gives some perspective that it’s not always right to give up on someone.