By the Light of the Green Star

By the Light of the Green Star is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter. Published by DAW Books in 1974, it is the third novel in his Green Star Series. In this installment, other (than the one found in the treetop cities such as Phaolon and Ardha) races of Green Star planet humans are introduced.

By the Light of the Green Star
By the Light of the Green Star
Cover of the first edition
AuthorLin Carter
Cover artistRoy Krenkel
CountryUnited States
SeriesGreen Star Series
GenreScience fantasy
PublishedJuly 1974
PublisherDAW Books
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Preceded byWhen the Green Star Calls 
Followed byAs the Green Star Rises 

Plot summary

As Karn ponders on how to get past Klygon (who Gurjan Tor had ordered to kill him in case of failure), Klygon then tells him that they should escape together—as Gurjan Tor will also kill Klygon a "master assassin" even more tortuously, and as Klygon has no wish to kill his only remaining true friend. The two escape on their black-painted zaiphs tethering them a short distance outside Ardha (as night travel is extremely dangerous). In the morning, they see a flight of Akhmim's warriors pursuing the sky-sled (which Karn knows they cannot catch, due to its speed exceeding that of any zaiph). When the two set out for Phaolon at a higher altitude, a huge shadow comes over them. Klygon looks toward the shadow's source which turns out to be a dinosaur-sized hawklike bird or zawkaw. They attempt to flee from the zawkaw only to find that its speed exceeds that of their zaiphs; before fleeing Karn observes a beautiful (not in effeminate sense) bald, ebon-skinned human riding it. At that point, Karn finds the zoukar (an invention of the kaloodha, the lightning-emitting wand which Sarchimus had used to kill the phuol) and slays the zawkaw, panicking its rider who falls from its back into the abyss. However, he and Klygon are not able to regain control of their zaiphs till these hit the forest floor (which kills the zaiphs).

In the meantime Janchan, Niamh and Zarqa (along with a captive Arjala) prepare to restart after a night spent parked; at this point Arjala's haughtiness comes to the forefront as she criticises the rude breakfast they have—and her feeling of humiliation is aggravated when Niamh reminds her that she (Niamh) too is a Goddess (as Princess/Goddess are integrated in Phaolon). When they restart the sky-sled at high altitude, they see a large floating city from which zawkaw with ebon-skinned riders (similar to the one that chased Karn and Klygon) flying around it. A flight of the zawkaw lands near the quartet, who are taken captive by the riders and taken into the city. There, an old man tells them the city is named Calidar, at which Arjala is initially overjoyed (she had earlier welcomed the ebon-skinned men as her "cousins", though they gave her no recognition)--but her joy is turned to horror as the old man, Nimbalim of Yoth, informs her that she is viewed as merely another captive. Niamh is thrilled at meeting Nimbalim (whom she had always been told had died a thousand years prior—even his city had been destroyed sometime later by the Blue Barbarians during one of their madness-times).

Karn and Klygon have meantime taken shelter, but are disappointed at the forest floor as it provides only some tasteless (though plentiful) food items. They are captured by a tribe of albinos who ride on huge earthworms (known as sluth) and taken into caves in the trees' root-networks. There, they meet a blue-skinned man who identifies himself as "Delgan of the Isles" (the "of the Isles" particularly intrigues Karn who has lived entirely in the treetops), to whom Klygon takes an immediate dislike. Karn notices that Delgan is rather refined for a "Blue Barbarian" (the only race of which he knows having such skin colour). The troglodytes, led by Gor-ya, add Klygon and Karn to their herd of slave tenders of grubs known as ygnoum. Gor-ya also warns them that they must keep the ygnoum safe from enemies he terms kraan. When the kraan (hippo-sized red ants) later attack the troglodytes and slaughter many of the ygnoum, Gor-ya tries to punish Klygon by whipping him to death, but is stopped when Karn thrusts a torch in his face giving him serious burns—for which Karn is sentenced to be killed by the largest of the sluth (suggested to Gor-ya by Delgan).

One of the younger of the black men of Calidar, Ralidux, finds Arjala fascinating; he discusses this with an elder, Clyon, who attempts to dissuade him. The travellers (including Nimbalim) plan on escaping Calidar but are initially stymied by the sky-sled's being too small—for which Niamh finds a solution, capturing (and riding) one of the zawkaw. Eventually, Zarqa is able to tap Ralidux' mind and use him to control a zawkaw—on which Niamh and Arjala ride with him. The travellers' escape is detected however, and a flight of the zawkaw-riders armed with a pain-rod (less-powerful version of the zoukar) knocks Zarqa (piloting the sky-sled) unconscious. Janchan then takes control and brings the sky-sled to a stop.

Delgan visits the condemned Karn and gives him his weathercloak, witchlight, rapier and zoukar—and tells him to hurry so they can escape. As they do so, the troglodytes awaken the huge sluth which pursues the trio. Karn then pushes a button on the witchlight (warning Delgan and Klygon to cover their eyes), and turns away. The witchlight has one lightning-bright flash which kills the huge sluth—but the reflection on the water's surface blinds Karn. The trio escape in a boat made from a fallen leaf to the inland sea, and land on a small isle—where Delgan strikes Klygon unconscious and robs the two of weathercloak, rapiers and zoukar. Mockingly he states, "in my land, I am a king; I go to reclaim my throne". Klygon regains consciousness, and he and Karn hear the wings of the zawkaw (piloted by Ralidux, now free of Zarqa's mind-control) overhead.

Followed by As the Green Star Rises.

External links

As the Green Star Rises

As the Green Star Rises is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter. Published in 1976, it is the fourth, and penultimate, novel in his Green Star series, continuing from By the Light of the Green Star.

Green Star Series

The Green Star Series is a set of five science fantasy novels written by American writer Lin Carter, published by DAW Books, from 1972 to 1976. In these novels, the concept of soul-projection (introduced by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his John Carter Series) is central. The series is written from the viewpoint of an anonymous, rich, crippled 30-year-old who seeks adventure—and finds it on a planet revolving around a green star.

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.

When the Green Star Calls

When the Green Star Calls is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter. Published by DAW Books in 1973, it is the second novel in his Green Star Series, starting after the first novel, Under the Green Star, finished.

The unnamed narrator once again thrusts his soul towards the Green Star. On the way, he passes over the moon and sees an iron pillar in a crater.

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