Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews In the Green Star’s Glow [Amazon, Abebooks, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Lin Carter, DAW cover and interior illo by Michael Whelan, fifth book in the Green Star saga.
The finale of Lin Carter’s Green Star fantasy kept its heroes sequestered in various hardships until the last moment, when they could be brought to a happily-ever-after. The story around Niamh the Fair was a great shout-out to ERB’s Master Mind of Mars with peril rooted in medical horror. But the tension was amusingly relieved when it was revealed that the mad scientist was actually bent on decapitating himself! The newer character Zorak of Tharkoon (not to be confused with Zarqa the Kalood) had a didactic adventure among the dispassionate and authoritarian giant ants of the Green Star’s world.
The narrating protagonist Karn fell into the clutches of a misandrist tribe of girls who abused him at length, catering no doubt to certain readers. This plotline led to a penultimate moment of farce when he was discovered by Niamh as he deigned to give the teenage amazon Varda a kiss after many refusals. Although it has been a persistent feature of these books, the rather lascivious treatment of the extreme youth of the characters really stood out in this one.
The book is furnished with an appendix itemizing and detailing principal “People of the Green Star World,” which repeats and extends for this fifth book a similar feature of the third. Besides the fact that it is set at the end of the book with no calls forward to it earlier in the text, it doesn’t seem like the thumbnail descriptions here would be of much use to readers. It shows some lack of confidence on the part of Carter (or his editor) that the characters have been drawn strongly enough for the reader to keep them distinct.
Illustrations and the cover art are by the excellent fantasy artist Michael Whelan, who would go on a short while later to do a series of wonderful paintings for the covers of a new paperback edition of the Barsoom books. The four interior illustrations are in a pointillistic style, and all the art considerably surpasses what Roy Krenkel had supplied in the earlier Green Star volumes.