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Earth's Last Citadel

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Four humans from the Twentieth Century are hurled forward a billion years in time by a being from an alien galaxy. They have been brought to a dying Earth - to Carcasilla, Earth's last citadel - where the mutated remnants of humanity are making their final stand against the monstrous creations of a fading world.

Thrust in the middle of this desperate struggle for survival,
Mass Market Paperback, 146 pages
Published March 1st 1977 by Ace Books (first published 1943)
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Average rating 3.18  · 
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My rant-laden opening salvo of vitriol notwithstanding, I will grant you that there may indeed be some semblance of a coherent plot hidden within these pages that I'm just too much of a pudden-head to locate within the myriad of stock characters, half-formed ideas and confusing narrative. I would have liked to have turned to some sage luminary for a hand of help in cracking the "Mystery of the Non-existent Plot," but it turns out that Sherlock Holmes is fictional, Albert Einstein is dead, an
“They were from -- outside. They wore light like a garment, and to them humans were--vermin. They cleansed the earth of them.”

Classic, but not all that good science fiction. Eligible for 2019 retro Hugo Award consideration, but not up to snuff. Liberal borrowings from H. G. Wells’ Time Machine.

“How great a man this was, who could speak so coolly while death marched down upon him!”

Old fashioned, manly men who acted more than thought. Female supporting cast not well developed, which is surprising
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Catherine Moore and Henry Kuttner, generally acknowledged to be the preeminent husband-and-wife writing team in sci-fi history, initially had their novella "Earth's Last Citadel" released in the pages of "Argosy" magazine in 1943 (indeed, it was the very last piece of science fiction to be serialized in that publication). It was finally published in book form 21 years later. This is a pretty way-out piece of sci-fi/fantasy that reveals its debt to a handful of writers who had been major influenc ...more
Tim Martin
It has been a long time I have read anything I might place in the Golden Age of Science Fiction in feel if not based on when it was written. This was the first book I have read in many years I would place in that category. For me Golden Age science fiction had a sense of wonder, a marveling at the mysteries of the cosmos though not in a fearful, dreadful way as one finds in Lovecraft or Lovecraft-inspired fiction, lots of scenery descriptions (often of wonderous sights), a good bit of optimism, ...more
Moira Katson
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Earth's Last Citadel was a puzzle. Clearly a dated book, but not in the way you might think - mostly in its speed. The issues covered would have taken the average Game of Thrones book length to cover today, but were instead covered in 150 teeny mass market paperback pages. In that way, it read almost like a bedtime story, and it felt like an exciting romp.

The issues and ideas WERE interesting, even if I would have liked to see some of them take more time. There was one plot point I wasn't crazy
review of
C. L. Moore & Henry Kuttner's Earth's Last Citadel
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 10, 2019

I thought that I'd read something by Henry Kuttner before, probably in collaboration w/ someone other than C. L. Moore, but I can't find any traces of my having done so so, apparently, I haven't — unless it was a short story. This was written in 1943 but not published until decades later — what's up w/ that?!

This starts off in the N African desert during WWII. I wasn't expecting that.
Dec 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: dying-earth
Sort of a pulpier The City and the Stars, without Clarke's crystalline focus and polish. But with time-travelling Nazis.

I was surprised by the plot points or story hooks that just trailed off. With a mixed bag of time-travelling Nazi agents and Allied agents, one would expect an eventual showdown or conflict of ideology, but this never happened. But perhaps this is not out of tune given the original 1943 publication date.

Later, the characters travel through an extensive, broken-down underground
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
To appreciate this little gem one has to remember that it was written in 1943. Scientific discovery has come a long way, and speculations here don't always hold up (for example, we now know that the Moon is pulling away from the Earth, but Moore & Kuttner's future has the Moon brought in very close). The characters have very little depth to them; they are straight out of the pulp style: the hero is handsome and very heroic, his buddy is an engineer & science genius, and the love interest is beau ...more
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

We no longer have any gauge to know what’s human and what is not.

Sadly, another used bookstore is closing, Flying Bear in Newaygo, Michigan. I happened to be in the area during their 40% off clearance, and found a bunch of old Moore/Kuttner books, including this novella from just after the beginning of World War II—it was first published in 1943.

Alan Drake is an Army Intelligence officer, escorting a brilliant scientist across the desert from German territory to British territory, evading two
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sf
Nominated for a retro Hugo, while a decent story for the period, it's not Hugo material. This may reflect the very small pool of SF published during 1943. The first scene is our protagonist is being chased by Nazis, I think this was added to lure wartime readers of Argosy(mainstream pulp) in became it doesn't affect the rest of the story. There are a couple of ugly pulp bits,"...the unstable genius of many races shining in her eyes.", not uncommon in pulp fiction of the period. The story itself ...more
Norman Cook
If you mashed up A. Merritt, H. Rider Haggard, H.G. Wells, and H.P. Lovecraft, you'd get something like this book. It combines time travel, lost races, and unfathomable monsters. Unfortunately, the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts. The characters are mostly cardboard stereotypes--the intrepid man of action, the cerebral scientist, the femme fatale spy, and the Nazi strongman. There's lots of action and a real sense of wonder in many places, but by and large this is a tepid story that i ...more
Fraser Sherman
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
In WW II, two members of each side get drawn into an ET ship and wake up millennia in the future. Earth has been thoroughly worked over the alien's now dead people, leaving Eloi-like city dwellers and savage barbarians in their wake (though in a nice twist, the barbarians are good guys). Can the modern humans defeat the future's tyrants?
I like this more than most of the reviewers, but I'm partial to this kind of pulp SF. It's wild, weird imaginative, and normally I'd give it 4 or 4.5 stars. But
I wish this book had another fifty pages in which to breathe, pages for character development or just a slightly less breakneck plot. But it makes good use of what words it does have, sketching a beautiful if impressionistic dying earth and drawing some genuine pathos for its final moments.

I am surprised that, writing in 1943, Moore and Kuttner would make two of their characters Nazi agents and then . . . not have them be the villains. They've been flung thousands of years in the future and past
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I read this to determine if it should be nominated for the retro 1943 Hugo. Bleah. Should not win, IMHO. Boring and disconnected, no depth at all to the characters, interesting concepts and world building but not all of them explained satisfactorily. But it got better and the end was somewhat satisfying.

Stabil pulp som funkar bra om man inte försöker tänka efter samtidigt. Prosan är också över genomsnittet.
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
aving read and reviewed No Boundaries by the same authors I found this book in a store I would never imagined and with a ridicolous low price so I grabed it and start reading imediately. Bare in mind that these story was written in the middle of WW2 and are one of the most revered names in what would be called SF's Golden Age (one of it), besides this C L Moore (the wife of Kuttner) was already publishing books when women at that time were not seen as today. Well when Kuttner died in 1958, Moore ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I haven't read Kuttner & Moore in years, but this strikes me as hurried work, not representative of their best. Even so, there are some fine, hugely imaginative moments in it, particularly at the climax, and its point of view is pleasantly unorthodox.

Too much of the book comes off as a slapdash pastiche of A. Merritt, with Hodgson's The Night Land furnishing the rest.

But on the plus side, huge spans of time give the story something of the sweep of Olaf Stapledon. By the time of the events of th
Joel Flank
This was an interesting book. On one hand, it was highly imaginative, especially for it's time. Another example of creating the cliche rather than being cliched. The heroes start in a desperate fight between british and nazi agents in WWII, only to be overwhelmed and abducted by a strange alien ship. They quickly are mentally overwhelmed and only awaken to find themselves abandoned.

A temporary alliance forms as they explore their surroundings, and wind up on a series of adventures exploring the
carlos benjamin
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
All I remember is that I liked it. I was a kid when I read it..... There must have been something good about it for me to remember the title so well. I had bookshelves on the headboard of my bed and this book held a prominent place. I'm guessing here, but I think it was a bit of a space opera.

I can say with certainty that the book was published in paperback well before 1977. It was first on my headboard bookshelf no later than 1971 and I suspect it was actually well before that. I pulled 01/01/1
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wish I could find more books by C.L. Moore because she was truly the only famous female author from the Golden Age of science fiction books. She, and her husband really do a great collaboration in this novel. And instead of being a silly adventure with 1-dimensional characters, C.L. builds on the worlds with the background of World War 2 and enemies having to become friends to survive. An excellent novel, and a good introduction into C.L. Moore's work. ...more
Hannah Givens
The back cover compares it to C.S. Lewis - appropriately in tone, although the book as a whole isn't on that level. If you enjoyed Lewis's Space Trilogy, this is the same kind of thing, full of strange landscapes and vaguely spiritual otherworldly presences. It's short, just 128 pages, and I enjoyed it although it seemed a little rushed. ...more
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Wow. This book has been written in 1943, but it is really out of time!!!
This kind of Science Fiction, even if not expecially cool, is not out of fashion after more the 50 years.
This is amazing, don't you think?
I gave this book to my american friends... and let the story go on!
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
One of Kuttner's best. ...more
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
1976 grade B

with Kuttner
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
If I'd read this when I was 14 I probably would have given it three or four stars. Timing is all-important :) ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kuttner/Moore fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
A cut above most of the crap science fiction/fantasy I read in primary school--probably because it had Nazis AND aliens!
David Anderson
rated it it was amazing
Mar 30, 2020
rated it it was ok
Nov 08, 2010
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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

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