Wednesday, November 10, 2010


By C.L. Moore

From out of the Golden Age of sf comes C.L. Moore’s Judgment Night, a novel and four novelettes. Five stories, complete without an ounce of fat in 344 pages. Nowadays authors are just getting warmed up to drop you off for the second half of volume whatever of the Snoreosphere Quatrology by page 344. Gnome Press could deliver the goods.

The novel is worth the price of admission. Judgment Night is Space Opera. Empires totter, old gods awake, scores are settled, super-weapons are deployed, the fate of mankind hangs in the balance, but the tale is told on an intimate, human scale. Moore’s hero is Juille the princess of the Lyonesse Empire. Juille ain’t no girlie-girl, she is all woman. Juille is what would normally be the femme fatale, all boots and arrogance, though she can still fill out the galaxy’s best evening dress. She could teach Kimball Kinnison a lesson in militarism and show Conan what steely resolve really is. In routine fiction Juille would be the villain, but Moore makes her the HERO! With precise and deft literary judo she makes you root for the bloodthirsty princess too!

Judgment Night isn’t just furious plotting, Moore has time to explore the nature of a woman’s role in a violent world, to look at the nature of leadership, and the urges that lead man to his destruction. Moore isn’t simply on a fascist rant, her kung-fu is too good. Galactic war has a price, Moore’s genius is to show us how easily we can forget the butcher’s bill until it’s due.
-Dave Hardy - More Product. More Exclusives.

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Tex said...

EXCELLENT review, Mr. Hardy!

Judgment Night was one of my early purchases after Katrina as I put my Space Opera collection together (again.) I just wish there were more of her works out there for folks to discover.

(wishing someone would start a C.L. Moore Library of Classics)

PS--For those who want an exact reproduction of Judgment Night, but on better paper and slipcased, go to Red Jacket Press.

Dave Hardy said...

It's great that Red Jacket got this back in print. I found a beat up old paperback of it in a second hand store (1965 printing, "First Time in Paperback").

As much as like Moore, I admit I'm a weak reviewer when it comes to her later work as I'm not that partial to Harvey Kuttner and they collaborated on pretty much all their later output.

Hope you get your space opera collection back together!