LEIGH BRACKETT has always said that her stories about Mars had their inspiration in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian novels. I have no doubt that this is true, for nearly all of us can remember the first impact of those wonderful romances. However, from the haunting concept of a dying world of silent cities, she took off on her own, and her obsession with Celtic mythology and legend shows very clearly in her interplanetary tales.
She has been writing science-fiction for a long time now, since 1939, and also since 1944 she has been in and out of the Hollywood scene writing for moving pictures, chiefly for veteran producer Howard Hawks. Her first major screen assignment was to collaborate with William Faulkner on the script of the Humphry Bogart film, "The Big Sleep." For the last seven or eight years she has been leading a sort of double life. Two-fifths of the time has been spent in Hollywood, writing script on such films as "Rio Bravo" and "Hatari" for John Wayne. The other three-fifths of the time has been spent at a typewriter under the eaves of our old Ohio farmhouse, writing science-fiction and mysteries, with frequent interruptions to run a tractor, clear paths in the woods, and spray the orchard.
In science-fiction, she owed most to the late Henry Kuttner, who was a friend and advisor when she was trying to get started. He once spoke of her incurable romanticism. It still persists, and she maintains that when the first astronauts land on Mars they will find dead cities, fierce riders and wicked, beautiful queens . . . just as in this book.