Image of Leigh Brackett


Lifetime: 1915 - 1978 Passed: ≈ 46 years ago


Novelist, Screenwriter


United States

Leigh Brackett

Leigh Douglass Brackett was an American science fiction writer called "the Queen of Space Opera." She was also a screenwriter known for The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959), and The Long Goodbye (1973). She also worked on an early draft of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), elements of which remained in the film; she died before the film went into production. She was the first woman shortlisted for the Hugo Award. In 2020, she won a Retro Hugo for her novel The Nemesis From Terra, originally published as "Shadow Over Mars" (Startling Stories, Fall 1944).

Leigh Brackett was born December 7, 1915 in Los Angeles, California, and grew up there. On December 31, 1946, at age 31, she married Edmond Hamilton in San Gabriel, California, and moved with him to Kinsman, Ohio. She died of cancer in 1978 in Lancaster, California.

Brackett first published in her mid-20s; the science fiction story "Martian Quest" appeared in the February 1940 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Her earliest years as a writer (1940–42) were her most productive. Some of her stories have social themes, such as "The Citadel of Lost Ships" (1943), which considers the effects on the native cultures of alien worlds of Earth's expanding trade empire. At the time, she was an active member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), and participated in local science fiction fandom by contributing to the second issue of Pogo's STF-ETTE, an all-female science fiction fanzine (probably the first such).

Books by Leigh Brackett

Black Amazon of Mars Cover image

Black Amazon of Mars

Fantasy Fiction
Battle Ancient Sword and planet Science Mars Mercury

The story starts with Stark is taking his friend Camar to his birthplace, Kushat, in the north of Mars to die. Unfortunately Camar dies before they can get there from a bullet wound he received that he took for Stark. He gives Stark a talisman to tak...

Queen Of The Martian Catacombs Cover image

Queen Of The Martian Catacombs

Science Fiction
Ancient Science Fiction Civilization Space Planets

This is the very first story with the Conan-like barbarian hero, Eric John Stark. There were more written by Brackett and all just as exciting so look for them if you like swashbuckling space stories. This is not the fantastical Mars of Burroughs, no...

The Beast-Jewel of Mars  Cover image

The Beast-Jewel of Mars

Fantasy Fiction
Starship Death Science Fiction Dark Conspiracy Conquest

Following the suspicious death of his girlfriend, Captain Burk Winters sets off down the dangerous path of a Martian vice called 'Shanga'-- the Going Back. What starts out as an effort to rescue Jill Leeland will pit the former starship captain again...

Enchantress Of Venus Cover image

Enchantress Of Venus

Science Fiction
Power Adventure Time Pirates Cruelty Space Science

Eric John Stark, the Conan of the Spaceways, continues his adventures in this exciting story. This time he is on the shores of Venus' gaseous red seas seeking the whereabouts of a missing comrade. The villains, a cruel and power-hungry family that ru...

Shannach-The-Last Cover image


Science Fiction
Crime Deception Alien Science

A true pulp science fiction from 1952 from the pen of Leigh Douglas Brackett. In the deep caves of Mars an alien race ruled and enslaved men and women with cruel and unfeeling desires. This was about the challenged by one weak man. He knew what he ha...

Citadel of Lost Ships Cover image

Citadel of Lost Ships

Fiction Science
Slavery Escape Ship Space Race Solar System

"It was a Gypsy world, built of space flotsam, peopled with the few free races of the Solar System. Roy Campbell, outcast prey of the Coalition, entered its depths to seek haven for the Kraylens of Venus—only to find that it had become a slave trap f...

Terror Out of Space Cover image

Terror Out of Space

Fiction Science
Metaphysics Beauty Sea Science Fiction Space Terrorism Fantastic Fiction

In the wake of unexpected meteor activity, a wave of inexplicable madness sweeps the already strange and ill-charted world of Venus. Racing to locate the source of the disturbance, Lundy and his team from Tri-World Police, Special Branch quickly find...

The Blue Behemoth Cover image

The Blue Behemoth

Adventure Novel
Independence Action Pirates Racism Journey Conflict Humanity

The novel is set in a distant future, in which humanity has colonized the stars and formed a vast interstellar empire. The story follows the adventures of Stark, a rogue adventurer and space pirate who becomes embroiled in a conflict between the empi...

Last Call for Sector G Cover image

Last Call for Sector G

Science Fiction Novel
Love Future Loyalty Planets Race Conflict Communism Peace

The story revolves around a group of survivors who are fighting to stay alive in the aftermath of a global catastrophe. They are forced to live in a small, enclosed community called Sector G, which is constantly under threat from outside forces. The...