On this day 100 years ago, Leigh Douglas Brackett was born in Los Angeles, California.
Her planetary romances – particularly the Stark stories – might carry echoes of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ John Carter, but Brackett’s tales were written with a sophistication belying their pulp roots. Indeed, no less an authority than Michael Moorcock has claimed that alongside ‘Catherine Moore, Judith Merril and Cele Goldsmith, Leigh Brackett is one of the true godmothers of the New Wave‘ going on to state that ‘anyone who thinks they’re pinching one of my ideas is probably pinching one of hers’.
An accomplished and prolific writer of fantasy and SF, she was also well regarded as a crime writer for her work as a Hollywood screen writer. She worked on scripts for films such as The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye and Rio Bravo, and of course, received a posthumous Hugo Award for the script for The Empire Strikes Back.
So, when you’re settled in your cinema seat this holiday season, munching your popcorn in anticipation of the seventh Star Wars film, maybe spare a silent thank you for Leigh Brackett and her part in the evolution of world-spanning science fantasy . . .