The Queen of Zamba
The Queen of Zamba
first edition of The Queen of Zamba with the author's preferred title and text
Author(s) L. Sprague de Camp Illustrator Jack Gaughan Cover artist Jack Gaughan Country United States Language English Series Krishna Genre(s) Science fiction novel Publisher Dale Books Publication date 1977 Media type Print (Paperback) Pages vi, 224 pp ISBN 0-89559-006-9 OCLC Number 3568098 Preceded by Perpetual Motion Followed by Calories
The Queen of Zamba is a science fiction novel written by L. Sprague de Camp, the first book of his Viagens Interplanetarias series and its subseries of stories set on the fictional planet Krishna. It was written between November 1948 and January 1949 and first published in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction as a two-part serial in the issues for August and September 1949. It was first published in book form as a paperback by Ace Books in 1954 as an "Ace Double" issued back-to-back with Clifford D. Simak's novel Ring Around the Sun. This version was editorially retitled Cosmic Manhunt and introduced a number of textual changes disapproved by the author. The novel was first issued by itself in another paperback edition under the title A Planet Called Krishna, published in England by Compact Books in 1966. A new paperback edition restoring the author's preferred title and text and including the Krishna short story "Perpetual Motion" was published by Dale Books in 1977. This edition was reprinted by Ace Books in 1982 as part of the standard edition of the Krishna novels. The novel has been translated into German, French, Italian and Czech. An E-book edition was published by Gollancz's SF Gateway imprint on September 29, 2011 as part of a general release of de Camp's works in electronic form.
As with all of the "Krishna" novels, the title of The Queen of Zamba has a "Z" in it, a practice de Camp claimed to have devised to keep track of them. Short stories in the series do not follow the practice, nor do Viagens Interplanetarias works not set on Krishna.
Plot and storyline
Victor Hasselborg, a twenty-second century private eye, is hired by a Syrian businessman to track down his missing daughter Julnar Batruni, who it turns out has run off with adventurer Anthony Fallon. Immediate complications ensue when Hasselborg finds himself falling for Alexandra, Fallon's abandoned wife. Discovering that the fugitives have gone off-planet, he tracks them to the planet Krishna, an Earth-like world of the star Tau Ceti with humanoid inhabitants but a medieval culture. Disguising himself as a native Krishnan, Hasselborg goes after them, little-knowing he has entered a web of interplanetary intrigue, spying, and gun-running...
The planet Krishna is de Camp's premier creation in the Sword and Planet genre, representing both a tribute to the Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs and an attempt to "get it right", reconstructing the concept logically, without what he regarded as Burroughs' biological and technological absurdities.
As dated in the 1959 version of de Camp's essay "The Krishna Stories" and James Cambias's GURPS Planet Krishna (a 1997 gaming guide to the Viagens series authorized by de Camp), the Krishnan events of "The Queen of Zamba" take place in the year 2138, falling between "Perpetual Motion" and "Calories", and making it the third story set on Krishna in terms of chronology. The primary portion of the story is preceded and followed by scenes on Earth, each of which is over a decade removed from the main action.
Early reviewers of the Ace edition were not terribly impressed by the book. J. Francis McComas called it "a tedious account of a private eye's quest through space for a runaway heiress," with "[t]he chase ... a pretty drab affair, without the wit and charm usually found in this author's work." Groff Conklin characterized it as "a cops-and-robbers adventure," rating it "fast-moving and moderately sophisticated entertainment, bubble-light through not bubble-headed, and considerably below the author's best." Anthony Boucher described the novel as "a fairly primitive and predictable adventure story which is 'science fiction' because it is said to happen on the remote planet Krishna."
More recent critics have struck much the same note. William Mattathias Robins called it "a simple detective adventure in an exotic setting." Colleen Power wrote more charitably that "[w]hile the novel seems dated, with its tough-talking detective slang and philosophy, [its] satire combines nicely with comic swordplay to present the reader with a short, light science fiction detective novel." She also pointed out that "the overwhelming concern ... to prevent modern technological humans from influencing or interfering with the normal development of native cultures" in it and the other Viagens novels "predat[es] 'Star Trek's' 'prime directive' by nearly twenty years." David Pringle characterized it as "[l]ight-hearted planetary romance -- or fantasy in an ostensibly science fictional setting."
- ^ Orion Publishing Group's L. Sprague de Camp webpage
- ^ Amazon.com entry for e-book edition
- ^ "Spaceman's Realm," New York Times, July 11, 1954, p. BR19.
- ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf," Galaxy Science Fiction, November 1954, pp. 121-122.
- ^ a b "Recommended Reading," F&SF, September 1954, p.93.
- ^ a b "L. Sprague de Camp," Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 8: Twentieth-Century American Science-Fiction Writers, Part 1:A-L, 1981, p. 117.
- ^ "DeCamp, L. (Lyon) Sprague," Reader's Guide to Twentieth-Century Science Fiction, 1989, pp. 173-174.
- ^ "Cosmic Manhunt (1954)," The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction: an A-Z of Science Fiction Books by Title, 2d. ed., 1995, p.79.
- Cambias, James (1997). GURPS Planet Krishna. Steve Jackson Games.
- De Camp, L. Sprague. "The Krishna Stories" (Essay, in New Frontiers, v. 1, no. 1, Dec. 1959, page 6)
- Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. pp. 46–47, 84.
- "A Planet Called Krishna" - a book review by Simon McLeish
Krishna novels of L. Sprague de Camp
The Queen of Zamba
The Hand of Zei
Works by L. Sprague de Camp Viagens InterplanetariasKrishnaKukulkanOtherCollections Harold Shea (with Fletcher Pratt and others)de Camp/
"Professor Harold and the Trustees" (1992) · "Sir Harold and the Monkey King" (1992) · "Knight and the Enemy" (1992) · "Arms and the Enchanter" (1992) · "Enchanter Kiev" (1995) · "Sir Harold and the Hindu King" (1995) · "Harold Shakespeare" (1995) · "Return to Xanadu" (2005)Collections
Pusadian seriesStoriesCollections Novarian seriesStoriesCollections
The Reluctant King (1985)
The Incorporated KnightNovels Conan series (with Robert E. Howard and others)NovelsShort stories
"Black Sphinx of Nebthu" (1973) · "The Treasure of Tranicos" (1953) · "Black Tears" (1968) · "The Blood-Stained God" (1955) · "The Castle of Terror" (1969) · "The City of Skulls" (1967) · "The Curse of the Monolith" (1968) · "Drums of Tombalku" (1966) · The Flame Knife (1955/81) · "The Frost Giant's Daughter" Conan (1953) · "The Gem in the Tower" (1978) · "The God in the Bowl" (1952) · "The Hall of the Dead" (1967) · "Hawks Over Shem" (1955) · "The Ivory Goddess" (1978) · "The Lair of the Ice Worm" (1969) · "Legions of the Dead" (1978) · "Moon of Blood" (1978) · "The People of the Summit" (1970/78) · "Red Moon of Zembabwei" (1974) · "The Road of the Eagles" (1955) · "Shadows in the Dark" (1978) · "Shadows in the Skull" (1975) · "The Snout in the Dark" (1969) · "The Star of Khorala" (1978) · "The Thing in the Crypt" (1967) · "The Witch of the Mists" (1972) · "Wolves Beyond the Border" (1967)Collections
Conan (1967) · The Conan Chronicles (1989) · The Conan Chronicles 2 (1990) · Conan of Aquilonia (1977) · Conan of Cimmeria (1969) · Conan the Adventurer (1966) · Conan the Avenger (1968) · Conan the Freebooter (1968) · Conan the Swordsman (1978) · Conan the Usurper (1967) · Conan the Wanderer (1968) · Sagas of Conan (2004) · Tales of Conan (1955) · The Treasure of Tranicos (1980)
Other speculative fictionNovelsShort stories
"Aristotle and the Gun" (1958) · "A Gun for Dinosaur" (1956) · "Judgment Day" (1955) · "The Wheels of If" (1940)Collections
Aristotle and the Gun (2002) · The Best of L. Sprague de Camp (1978) · Divide and Rule (1948) · Footprints on Sand (1981) · A Gun for Dinsaur (1963) · The Purple Pterodactyls (1980) · The Reluctant Shaman (1970) · Rivers of Time (1993) · Scribblings (1972) · Sprague de Camp's New Anthology (1953) · Tales from Gavagan's Bar (1953/78) · The Undesired Princess (1951) · The Virgin & the Wheels (1976) · The Wheels of If (1948) · Years in the Making (2005)
Historical fictionNovels Fiction editedAnthologiesSingle author Nonfiction editedMulti-authorSingle author
To Quebec and the Stars (1976)
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