"The Legion of Space," the opening salvo of a tetralogy that Jack Williamson wrote over a nearly 50-year period, was initially released as a six-part serial in the April-September 1934 issues of "Astounding Stories." (This was some years before the publication changed its name to "Astounding Science-Fiction," in March '38, and, with the guidance of newly ensconced editor John W. Though Williamson had only sold his first story, "The Metal Man," some six years before, by 1934 he showed that he was capable of coming out with a blazing saga of space action to rival those of E.E. Three fellow Legionnaires (read: 30th century musketeers) are detailed to the same assignment, and so we get to meet, for the first time, the perpetually cool Jay Kalan; a redheaded giant of enormous strength, Hal Samdu (yes, an anagram of "Dumas"); and the perpetually complaining Giles Habibula, a master lock picker and a character universally described, in the 75 years since his initial appearance, as "Falstaffian." When Aladoree is kidnapped by the Medusae--enormous, levitating, jellyfishlike aliens from the dying world around Barnard's Star--with the help of some traitorous Legionnaires, the quartet embarks on an interstellar quest, against tremendous odds, to rescue her and save the human worlds from invasion. Before all is said and done, Williamson has dished out several space battles, a nebula storm, a raid on Pluto's moon, and a transcontinental slog across the Medusan homeworld, fighting various alien flora and fauna (including a giant amoeba!), not to mention the elements themselves, the entire way, all culminating in a suicidal incursion into the Medusans' miles-high city. The book is inelegantly written, to put it mildly, and those readers who prefer their sci-fi to seem more like prose poetry should stick with the likes of Ursula K.
I might have said it when I finished Jack Williamson's The Legion of Space had I been twelve years old and read it in 1934, the year it was first serialized in Astounding Stories. The "Legion" series exists today as an interesting historical artifact, a sample of what sf was like before the Golden Age that began after World War II. who is held captive by the grotesque Medusae, gigantic floating things from beyond our universe who fortunately, for mankind's sake, want the secret of Aladoree's weapon badly enough themselves that they don't just kill her and get it over with. Williamson wrote this when he was twenty five years old, and he published his last Legion novel in 1982.
pulp stories from before the "Golden Age" (according to Isaac Asimov that would be the 1940's) that appeared in Astounding Magazine in 1934. Also, our heroes have to contend with traitors among the legion who've joined forces with the Medusae in order to reclaim our solar system as their own...whew!
Cuando muerte el día y a la hora que había predicho, su médico decide no destruir sus manuscritos y en cambio ponerlos a disposición de los lectores, manuscritos que cuentan las aventuras de John Ulmar, más conocido como John Star, pariente lejano de Delmar y valiente miembro de la Legión del Espacio en el siglo XXX.
Originally published toward the beginning of the Vietnam War, one could read this as a metaphor for the hopeless (yet ultimately victorious) struggle of the Vietnamese against a vast alien empire, although it was probably intended more as a Cold War parable for the United States inevitable defeat of the Soviet Union against all odds.
Our hero, John Ulnar, is a descendant of this future historian and is embroiled in a plot to restore the Empire. To gain control of AKKA and implement a coup, the Ulnar family (unbeknown to John) have made an alliance with the Medusae from the hellish world which orbits Barnards Star. Aladoree Anthar is kidnapped and it is up to John and his trio of companions to travel to the world of the Medusae, rescue Aladoree Anthar and stop the great tentacled beasties in their secret plan to invade and conquer Earth. 'Poor Giles Habibula, aged and crippled in the loyal service of the Legion, now without a place on any planet to rest his mortal head.
The Medusae are also interesting villains in that they are basically giant jellyfish, and I like seeing representation of invertebrates in literature.
shrug Story synopsis: John Star nee Ulnar is a new and enthusiastic graduate from the Legion of Space Academy. He is immediately assigned by the commander of the Legion of Space to Eric Ulnar, John's distant cousin, hero who traveled to Barnard's Star and back, one of the few survivors of that ill-fated expedition. John and Eric and Eric's two Legionnaire henchmen travel to a remote site on Mars where Aladoree is being guarded by four other Legion-loyal soldiers. Upshot is that she is taken by the Medusans to Barnard's Star, John is left behind to free Jay Halam, Hal Samdu, and Giles Habibula, the only survivors who had once guarded Aladoree, and together the swashbuckling quartet - think the Four Musketeers in Space - work their way to Barnard's Star, and effect a rescue (and escape) of Aladoree with the impossible odds stacked two miles high against them. Yes, I can accept the Medusans, interplanetary and interstellar travel, impossible-seeming flora and fauna, fantastic sun-like weapons, but.well, I was doing fine up until the group made it to the Medusan world, then some details started to distract me from the story. Another point they are crossing up and down and up and down and up and down vast and craggy mountain ranges with little/no equipment, in short periods of time (being a mountaineer and knowing what is required to travel in mountains, craggy or benign.this was difficult for me to accept) As they drew near the great Medusan city, with two mile high walls, without optical aid the group could make out in detail the physical characteristics of the Medusan aliens floating around the top of the wall. Meanwhile, the Medusans stage a pretty successful take-over of the Solar System, and while Williamson does not go into detail on the damage wrought to Earth and the colonies, it's pretty evident that billions of humans had been killed by the time John and the rest get back to stop the Medusans.