Short Reviews – The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, by John and Dorothy de Courcy

Friday , 19, April 2019 Leave a comment

The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, by John and Dorothy de Courcy, appeared in the Winter 1949 issue of Planet Stories. It can be read here at Archive.org.

There have been a number of husband and wife team throughout SFF history. And we’ve long-since put to bed the myth that pulps weren’t publishing stories by women unless they hid behind a male name. But John and Dorothy de Courcy may be one of the first husband/wife teams I’ve seen credited together, and exclusively together, in the pulps. (Moore and Kuttner were independently well-known, and Moore was always credited under her maiden name when they were credited jointly; John & Dorothy seem to be exclusively a couple thing, and that’s kind of adorable). The de Courcy’s also seem to have some small contemporary popularity and recognition via Libravox despite having a relatively small body of work from the late 40s, published mostly in a couple Ziff-Davis magazines and fanzines.

The Night Has a Thousand Eyes is one of those SFF crime-thrillers that could work a contemporary setting just as well as a futuristic one and makes you wish SFF of this era was better represented on the big and small screen. The story’s anti-hero is a rough pace pirate type hanging in an even rougher dive—he’s doing impossibly stout shots to impress folks, but this leads to him getting into a scuffle where he accidentally kills a man: the brother of an exotic dancer who witnessed the murder.

The last thing Captain Brace wants is a run-in with the spaceport authorities. He wants to spare the girl if he can, but his options are limited. He can’t keep her along, but selling the dancer to human traffickers is almost as unpalatable as killing her.

Despite its brutal premise, and its tense and thrilling execution, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes is a touching and emotional story with a powerful ending.

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