Shannach: The Last
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Shannach: The Last is a science fiction novella by Leigh Brackett, included in The Best of Leigh Brackett (Ballantine Books, 1977.)
Even in this grip of alien horror a man could not throw away his lifetime goal … not stand idly by as endless rows of alabaster shapes, seated in their chairs of stone, thought-ruled this gargoyle planet from the dead blackness of deep Mercurian cavers.
In Shannach: The Last we are at the desolate and forbidding Twilight Belt on Mercury, where Eric John Stark was raised. A man is looking for super precious sun-stones when he comes upon an enslaved people in thrall to a dying alien intelligence. In this tale's harrowing opening sequence, our intrepid miner is trapped deep beneath the planet's surface in a cave system that will be a rough ride for any claustrophobic…
This novella was included in The Best of Leigh Brackett (Ballantine Books, 1977).
Shannach: The Last was first published in Planet Stories magazine in 1952. E-book: ePUB, 20,000 words, reading time approximately 1 hour, 40 min.
Leigh Douglass Brackett (1915-1978) was an American author, particularly of science fiction, and has been referred to as the Queen of Space Opera. She was also a screenwriter, known for her work on such films as The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959) and The Long Goodbye (1973). She was the first woman shortlisted for the Hugo Award.

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