Lorelei of the Red Mist
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by Ray Bradbury, Leigh Brackett
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Description: Hugh Starke, space-rat and convict, was being pursued by spacecraft into the unknown parts of Venus. He had just pulled off the largest lone wolf heist in the history of that planet. But now it looked like he was going to pay the ultimate price for his misdeeds. But fate had a strange twist on Starke's life when he woke up in a different body. A body that was strong and powerful. In a body of a Venusian barbarian named Conan. But was Starke anything more than a puppet in this new body? For he soon found out the strings were being pulled by the beautiful, but terrible, Rann. For Rann was like the siren, Lorelei, and it was Hugh-Starke-called-Conan that would have to fight her or be lured to his doom!
eBook Publisher: Wonder Audiobooks, LLC/Wonder eBooks, 1946 Planet Stories
eBookwise Release Date: March 2010
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [104 KB]
Reading time: 64-89 min.
"Lorelei of the Red Mist" is one of those stories you hear about and you just have to read it. The first half was written by Leigh Brackett in 1944 who then had to drop it because she went to Hollywood to write the Bogart picture The Big Sleep (1946) with William Faulkner. This left Lorelei unfinished. Ray Bradbury, yes, that Ray Bradbury, finished the tale without any outline from Leigh. Bradbury's part starts with : "He saw the flock, herded by more of the golden hounds." --G.W. Thomas, Dark Worlds site
The company dicks were good. They were plenty good. Hugh Starke began to think maybe this time he wasn't going to get away with it.
His small stringy body hunched over the control bank, nursing the last ounce of power out of the Kallman. The hot night sky of Venus fled past the ports in tattered veils of indigo. Starke wasn't sure where he was any more. Venus was a frontier planet, and still mostly a big X, except to the Venusians--who weren't sending out any maps. He did know that he was getting dangerously close to the Mountains of White Cloud. The backbone of the planet, towering far into the stratosphere, magnetic trap, with God knew what beyond. Maybe even God wasn't sure.
But it looked like over the mountains or out. Death under the guns of the Terro-Venus Mines, Incorporated, Special Police, or back to the Luna cell blocks for life as an habitual felon.
Starke decided he would go over.
Whatever happened, he'd pulled off the biggest lone-wolf caper in history. The T-V Mines payroll ship, for close to a million credits. He cuddled the metal strongbox between his feet and grinned. It would be a long time before anybody equaled that.
His mass indicators began to jitter. Vaguely, a dim purple shadow in the sky ahead, the Mountains of White Cloud, stood like a wall against him. Starke checked the positions of the pursuing ships. There was no way through them. He said flatly, "All right, damn you," and sent the Kallman angling up into the thick blue sky.
He had no very clear memories after that. Crazy magnetic vagaries, always a hazard on Venus, made his instruments useless. He flew by the seat of his pants and he got over, and the T-V men didn't. He was free, with a million credits in his kick.