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Northwest of Earth: The Complete Northwest Smith

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  147 ratings  ·  20 reviews
75th Anniversary Edition! Among the best-written and most emotionally complex stories of the Pulp Era, the tales of intergalactic smuggler Northwest Smith still resonate strongly 75 years after their first publication. From the crumbling temples of forgotten gods on Venus to the seedy pleasure halls of old Mars, Northwest Smith blazes a trail through the underbelly of the ...more
Paperback, 379 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Paizo Publishing (first published 1954)
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Dan 1.0
The way I've heard it described, with Northwest Smith being a Han Solo prototype, I was expecting good pulpy action with rayguns and gross monsters. It's more like Han Solo nearly getting seduced/killed by Lovecraftian beasties (often disguised as women) and just barely surviving. The writing is much better than I expected, like Michael Moorcock at his pulpy best. The stories are fairly creepy and held my interest. The one gripe I had was that many of them are fairly similar in plot and structur ...more
Yael
When I was around 14, I was given a library card to the San Marino library system, because the local branch of the Pasadena library system (I was living in Pasadena, California at the time) just didn't have enough books to keep me happy. I was overjoyed to discover a huge selection of science fiction in the nearest San Marine library branch which I'd never read before, and I promptly set about devouring all of it. One of the first things I discovered there was an omnibus anthology of some of the ...more
Elijah Spector
Nov 02, 2008 Elijah Spector marked it as to-read
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
"Think Han Solo as created by a an extremely sexual H.P. Lovecraft" is what I could say, but it would really sell C.L. Moore short.

Northwest Smith really is the original archetype for the outer space smuggler/outlaw hero that would later spawn characters like Han Solo (and Malcolm Reynolds) except that Smith (so far, I've only read a few stories yet, which is why it's not a full review) isn't really much of a hero. His background is always set up really intriguingly (which probably appealed to t
...more
Serena
Catherine Lucille Moore, or C.L. Moore was a contemporary of H.P. Lovecraft and Fritz Leiber, praised by Michael Moorcock and Greg Bear, my collection has a introduction by C.J. Cherryh, who says:

"This is an important book. Read it. Make sure your kids and grandkids read it. It's timeless, and it's that good."

It reminds me fondly of Andre Norton's Time Traders/Solar Queen series, and perhaps a bit of the show Firefly, but the prose is emotional and colorful, and at the end of it all there is s
...more
Robin
It's hard to believe that these stories were written in the 1930's (except for the last one). Now the concept of aliens on Venus, Mars, and a few other places is quite laughable today, but taken for when they were written and as an alternate reality, they really were quite fascinating. Her world building was good. We knew that NW was a smuggler and criminal from many key points, but she never describes the man or his partner, Venusian Yarol, working aboard their ship. In fact ships are rare. The ...more
Laz the Sailor
The writing style here is very intriguing, but it became tiring. Everything is so intricate that it becomes florid. Also, the first 3 stories had the same plot. I did not read the rest. I may come back to it in the future.
David
These stories are somewhat formulaic.

Shambleau - The introductory paragraph is a spoiler. (view spoiler)

Black Thirst - Northwest Smith encounters a Venusian woman who leads him into a perilous setting. (view spoiler)

Scarlet Dream - Northwest Smith is transported into a perilous setting by a mysterious artifact. He passes time with a beautiful woman until a showdown with the local force of evil.(vi
...more
Riju Ganguly
This book (we really should try to award Paizo Books for giving these classics of pulp era another lease of life) begins with the ultimate combination of fantasy-horror-science fiction: "Shambleau", which, unbelievably, was C.L. Moore's first professional sale! This story, apart from giving us a most deliciously reworked "Medusa" myth, also introduces us (and the world of adventure) to Northwest Smith, a rogue with a ray-gun in his leather dress, and desperation as well as honour in his heart. U ...more
Patrick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Seldon
I picked up this book because of an article I read on the 10 best smugglers in SF. I'd never heard of Northwest Smith (which keeps coming out as Nor'west in my head) before or C.L. Moore. I found her writing to be excellent. I could see and feel everything as if I were there. She definitely mastered the genre.

I was a bit disappointed that for a space traveling smuggler, none of the stories touched on his profession. We see him in ports going about his business, but only once do we travel with hi
...more
John
I can't say I didn't know what I was getting into with this book. I knew that these were some of the first high adventure space tales with all the hokeyness that comes along with that (written by one of those rare sci-fi authors without a y-chromosome, no less); I knew that the hero, Northwest Smith, is a kind of retro Han solo with the same amazingly bad luck with women; and I knew that the prose would be more purple than a grape pop. And I was not surprised.

For the first few stories I was abl
...more
Marie Hviding
It is abundantly clear that there would have been no Han Solo or Capt Mal Reynolds without Northwest Smith to pave the seedy intergalactic back alleys for them. Very pulpy and very classic scifi, I think the collection would have been a more pleasurable read if the order of the stories had been mixed around a bit. Putting the stories in chronological order allows you to see the development of the character and watch Moore's skills steadily improve, but the early stories tended to be a bit one-no ...more
Steve Walker
I read this because several SF writers I enjoyed have cited this author and the exploits of this character as inspiration. A collection of short stories of this space adventurer/mercenary/pirate originally publish in the 1930's pulp magazine Wierd Stories. She is trying to get the type of characters and story that Edgar Rice Burroughs achieves, but doesn't quite pull it off. I only read about half the stories. She rambles a bit. Story concepts are good, but writing and development are sub par.
S. Ben
The stories follow a clear formula: Northwest Smith encounters a damsel in distress, who is Other Than She Seems, and encounters some menacingly powerful otherworldly entity which he manages to resist through sheer force of will, losing said damsel (who is often the entity itself) in the process.

Fine enough, but it starts to wear after the first three or four stories.
Jeff
I can't say I didn't like this book, but I I liked it more at the beginning than at the end.

There's an unambiguous formula to a Northwest Smith story, and Moore's writing can plod, even out of the gate. Once you've read four or five of these short stories, take a few months off. It will probably go better.
Traci
Imagine Han Solo writen by HP Lovecraft and you'll get an idea of CL Moore's style. But more talented. Her writing is not as lofty as Lovecraft and more descriptive. A poet. I would rate two stories in this collection a perfect 5 stars. Shambleau & Scarlet Dream.
Charles
An excellent collection. This supercedes the book called "Northwest Smith." This contains all the stories in that version plus a few other tidbits and an introduction that is pretty good.
Thom
Fantastic fiction, in more ways than one. Evocative descriptive text, pulp scifi excitement, and the occasional greek myth. Great!
Martin
I should have put this on currently reading. A couple of stories left to go. Feel guilty. Please do not judge.
bluetyson
Northwest of Earth: The Complete Northwest Smith (Planet Stories Library) by C. L. Moore (2008)
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Paizo Edition has 378 Pages not 220 2 7 Oct 29, 2009 08:12AM  
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Excerpted from Wikipedia:
Catherine Lucille Moore was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, as C. L. Moore. She was one of the first women to write in the genre, and paved the way for many other female writers in speculative fiction.

Moore met Henry Kuttner, also a science fiction writer, in 1936 when he wrote her a fan letter (mistakenly thinking that "C. L. Moore" was a man), and they ma
...more
More about C.L. Moore...
Jirel of Joiry Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams Black God's Kiss The Best of C. L. Moore Shambleau

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