Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lord of the Spiders (Planet Stories # 8)

Michael Moorcock's Kane of Old Mars trilogy continues in the eighth Planet Stories book, under the name Lord of the Spiders* (I reviewed City of the Beast here). After his untimely departure from Mars, Kane enlists a wealthy benefactor to help him recreate the machine that sent him to the red planet. The device works, but Kane finds himself in an area of Mars far removed from where he was before--and this time, he's caught up in a war between rival sects of the Argzoon, the blue giants he fought in the previous book. Kane becomes the battle-tactician for one of the factions, and discovers that an old enemy is responsible for the war. And will he ever see his beloved Shizala again? (sigh . . .)

Not surprisingly, this book is very much in the same vein as the first one. It is fast-paced, heavy on the action, and light on the exposition. More time, however, is spent on the history of Old Mars and the ancient beings responsible for the amazing technological advances present (probably my favorite part of the book is when Kane leads an Argzoon expedition to survey a lost city of the ancients). At 132 pages, this is another quick and mildly enjoyable read--it won't transcend any stereotypes, but it's fun for what it is.
* The original title of the book is Blades of Mars. I'm not sure why Paizo titled the book Lord of the Spiders, as there's only one brief chapter involving the man-spiders depicted on the book's cover.

1 comment:

Prof. said...

"I'm not sure why Paizo titled the book Lord of the Spiders"

The 'Spiders' title - as with the other Kane titles - dates from 1971 when the novels were reprinted by New English Library, so the change is actually nothing to do with Paizo.

Moorcock changed the titles because the original UK publisher (wrongly) believed they owned the copyright on his books and it was simply easier for him to retitle them and thus assert his copyright under these new titles. You're right though that sometimes the new titles are only tangentially connected to the main plot however.