Grab It Right Over
Another tale of one of my favorite space rogues by C. L. Moore. Song In A Minor Key is a minor classic science fiction story. I always loved this particular story because it's as close as we get to exploring the backstory of this antihero of the space ways.
Who is North West Smith?
Wiki has a pretty classic break down of the adventurer and criminal of the solar system.
By profession, Smith is an outlaw who lives by a variety of criminal means, including smuggling. By nature, he is an anti-hero, ruthless, self-serving, and cynical. Despite this, he has a core of goodness and often does the right thing in spite of himself. Smith is described as a dark haired man with "space bronzed" skin and pale eyes, who wears brown spacer's leathers and carries a raygun at his side like an old west gunfighter. His ship, the Maid, is small and unspectacular but surprisingly fast and agile. His closest ally is the equally amoral Venusian, Yarol.Song In a Minor Key is one of the more interesting Northwest Smith tales, the story is the adventurer mediating upon his past lives and how they really make the character tick. This was a fanzine collaberation from C.L. Moore with another author.
According to wiki:
- "Song in a Minor Key" (Scienti-Snaps fanzine, February 1940). Northwest meditates on his own past life.
While the pedigree of the western is still there Northwest Smith seems to have been created right smack in the middle of the pulp revolution that was going on at the time. Many of the themes of HP Lovecraft and the rest of the Lovecraft circle while evident in the Smith stories have a very different fingerprint. They show a willingness to take the deadly and insane elements of the Lovecraft mythos and turn them on their ear. There is an ancient order of history at work in the backdrop of the Smith tales and mankind is a footnote to it in some cases.
Smith represents a new hero expanding into a very dangerous frontier. The cycle of history is another element at work in the Smith tales. A cycle that mankind isn't aware of at times. A cycle that C.L.Moore's hero knows that he is a pawn to though.
All in all this is one of the classics of the series and it remains a favorite. There are stronger tales in the series but this one goes closest to explaining the psyche and reason of the anti hero.
Definitely worth the download without a doubt though.