Last night, before before bed, I was reading the story "Dust of the Gods," in which Northwest Smith finds himself, once again, out of work, out of money, and almost out of booze. So he and his faithful friend, the Venusian Yarol, consider hiring themselves out a wild-eyed little Earthman whose employment has already scared off several toughs. After listening to the madman's tale, the two companions confer with one another.
"Did you believe that yarn?"With dialog like that, it's hard not to enjoy these stories. They take place in a setting that reminds me a bit of Space: 1889 except with "modern" rather than Victorian trappings. All the worlds of the solar system boast intelligent species and Earthmen have entered a dark universe whose true history they do not understand. Lurking in the background there are secrets and mysteries and things Man was not meant to know. Into this strides Northwest Smith, a latter day gunslinger, with his scarred face and no-color eyes. These stories are a terrific blend of science fiction, horror, Westerns, and the weird tale. They're great fun and it's hard not to be inspired by them.
"Don't know -- I've come across some pretty funny things here and there. He does act half-cracked, of course, but -- well, those fellows back there certainly found something out of the ordinary, and they didn't go all the way at that."
"Well, if he'll buy us a drink I say let's take the job," said Yarol. "I'd as soon be scared to death later as die of thirst now. What do you say?"
"Good enough," shrugged Smith. "I'm thirsty too."