Black Legion of Callisto

Black Legion of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the second in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in December 1972, and reprinted twice through January 1974. The first British edition was published by Orbit Books in 1975. It was later gathered together with Jandar of Callisto into the omnibus collection Callisto: Volume 1 (2000).[1] The book includes an appendix ("A Note on the Thanatorian Language") collating background information from this and the previous volume.

Black Legion of Callisto
Black Legion of Callisto
Cover of the first edition.
AuthorLin Carter
Cover artistVincent Di Fate
CountryUnited States
SeriesCallisto series
GenreScience fantasy
PublisherDell Books
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Preceded byJandar of Callisto 
Followed bySky Pirates of Callisto 

Plot summary

Jonathan Dark (Jandar), earthman mysteriously transported to the Jovian moon of Callisto (or Thanator), has succeeded in rescuing Princess Darloona of Shondakar from the Sky Pirates of Zanadar, only to see her fall into the hands of the Black Legion, the mercenary force that had previously occupied her native city and driven her and her followers into exile. Journeying to Shondakar, Jandar improbably finds himself in the Legion's good graces after saving the son of its leader, the very man that leader intends to have Darloona wed in order to cement his control of the city. Having essentially been given a free hand to spy on the enemy, Jandar scouts out the city's defenses and weaknesses, particularly its underground tunnel system. He disrupts the wedding as Darloona's Ku Thad people infiltrate Shondakar through the tunnels and take the occupiers by surprise. Jandar kills the mastermind behind the princess's misfortunes, the supposed priest Oola, who is secretly one of the Mind Wizards conspiring to take over all of Thanator. But during the battle the Sky Pirates invade, and while the Ku Thad are ultimately victorious over both foes, Prince Thuton of Zanadar escapes, carrying Darloona back to the captivity from which Jandar sprung her in the previous volume. Back to square one...


Den Valdron, assessing the series in ERBzine, calls this book, along with the other two volumes in the series's first trilogy, "quite good." He notes "[t]he world and the hero are fairly vivid, the action moves quickly. It's hardly deep, but it is fun."[2]


  1. ^ Black Legion of Callisto title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  2. ^ Valdron, Den. "Lin Carter's Callisto Series (Part 1 of a series of 12)" in ERBzine 1731.

External links

Callisto series

The Callisto series is a sequence of eight science fiction novels by Lin Carter, of the sword and planet subgenre, first published by Dell Books from 1972-1978. They were written in homage to the Barsoom and Amtor novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Jandar of Callisto

Jandar of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the first in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in December 1972, and reprinted twice through September 1977. The first British edition was published by Orbit Books in 1974. It was later gathered together with Black Legion of Callisto into the omnibus collection Callisto: Volume 1 (2000). The book includes a map of Callisto as envisioned in the story.

Jupiter's moons in fiction

Jupiter's extensive system of natural satellites – in particular the four large Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) – has been a common science fiction setting.

Lin Carter

Linwood Vrooman Carter (June 9, 1930 – February 7, 1988) was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor, poet and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft (for an H. P. Lovecraft parody) and Grail Undwin. He is best known for his work in the 1970s as editor of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, which introduced readers to many overlooked classics of the fantasy genre.

List of science fiction novels

This is a list of science fiction novels, novel series, and collections of linked short stories. It includes modern novels, as well as novels written before the term "science fiction" was in common use. This list includes novels not marketed as SF but still considered to be substantially science fiction in content by some critics, such as Nineteen Eighty Four. As such, it is an inclusive list, not an exclusive list based on other factors such as level of notability or literary quality. Books are listed in alphabetical order by title, ignoring the leading articles "A", "An", and "The". Novel series are alphabetical by author-designated name or, if there is none, the title of the first novel in the series or some other reasonable designation.

Sword and planet

Sword and planet is a subgenre of science fantasy that features rousing adventure stories set on other planets, and usually featuring humans as protagonists. The name derives from the heroes of the genre engaging their adversaries in hand-to-hand combat primarily with simple melée weapons such as swords, even in a setting that often has advanced technology. Although there are works that herald the genre, such as Percy Greg's Across the Zodiac (1880) and Edwin Lester Arnold's Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905; published in the US in 1964 as Gulliver of Mars), the prototype for the genre is A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs originally serialized by All-Story in 1912 as "Under the Moons of Mars".The genre predates the mainstream popularity of science fiction proper, and does not necessarily feature any scientific rigor, being instead romantic tales of high adventure. For example, little thought is given to explaining why the environment of the alien planet is compatible with life from Earth, just that it does in order to allow the hero to move about and interact with the natives. Native technology will often break the known laws of physics.

The genre tag "sword and planet" is constructed to mimic the terms sword and sorcery and sword and sandal. The phrase appears to have first been coined in the 1960s by Donald A. Wollheim, editor of Ace Books, and later of DAW Books at a time when the genre was undergoing a revival. Both Ace Books and DAW Books were instrumental in bringing much of the earlier pulp sword and planet stories back into print, as well as publishing a great deal of new, imitative work by a new generation of authors.

There is a fair amount of overlap between sword and planet and planetary romance although some works are considered to belong to one and not the other. Influenced by the likes of A Princess of Mars yet more modern and technologically savvy, sword and planet more directly imitates the conventions established by Burroughs in the Mars series. That is to say that the hero is alone as the only human being from Earth, swords are the weapon of choice, and while the alien planet has some advanced technology, it is used only in limited applications to advance the plot or increase the grandeur of the setting. In general the alien planet will seem to be more medieval and primitive than Earth. This leads to anachronistic situations such as flying ships held aloft by anti-gravity technology, while ground travel is done by riding domesticated native animals.

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