The Amethyst City by John Russel Fearn (Wild Side Press, 1951, reprint 2013)
The Amethyst City is the fourth book in the Golden Amazon series by John Russel Fearn. I would like to say the series has progressed and matured as I continue to read it. I would like to say this, but I can’t. I can say with sincerity the cheese level rises to new heights with every book by him I read. I stand in awe at his magnificent pulp-style writing. It amazes me this was a very popular series published each year in a major newspaper as a Sunday supplement. John Russel Fearn is a saint who transcends the limitations of the English language.
The one consistency in these novels is the Amazon herself: Violet Brand. Mistress of Earth, Dominatrix of the Solar System and She Who Must Be Obeyed of the Universe. The heroine of these stories makes civilization get down on its knees and beg for more. Think June Cleaver with a razor strap in one hand and you will have some idea of the character of the Golden Amazon. She heats up her wisdom and burns it into the flesh of anyone who dares to tell her “no”. The only thing you can ask this Queen of the Milky Way is for another one.
At the start of The Amethyst City, the Golden Amazon has Earth under her rule and it is experiencing peace and prosperity never witnessed in history. Still the Golden One is busy out in space smashing up some asteroid left over from a previous experiment. Her sidekick and comedy relief Relka,the ammonia breathing Jovian, is still by her side and ready to encounter whatever danger awaits them. The Golden Amazon knows her archenemy, Sefner Quorne is still out there, not matter what everyone else thinks. She knows he’d ready to strike in this latest episode because Evil Overlords have it as part of their nature.
Further out in the solar system, the Golden Amazon finds a city made of Amethyst. She also finds Sefner Quorne who attacks her personal spaceship, The Ultra. Her enemy doesn’t kill her and decides to leave her for dead. Too bad for him; he’s not reading the Evil Overlord handbook. If he did he would know you never, never leave the hero or heroine tied over the shark pool because they will escape. She even warns him against leaving her alive:
“The Amazon lay as she had fallen, her face masked with pain.
Quorne got up and said: “I am wondering whether to fire a beam straight through your heart, Miss Brant, and finish you—or whether I should let you pass from the scheme of things more slowly. If I destroy your Ultra, you are powerless. You can lie here and die slowly in this lonely outpost of the spaceways.”
“Do as you like,” the Amazon whispered. “But if I die, Quorne, I’ll come back from the farthest star to get you. If I live, I’ll still get you.”
“Perhaps we had better see which promise you can fulfil,” Quorne suggested.’ ”
We soon meet her daughter by way of Abna the Atlantean. Abna wasn’t killed as we assumed in the previous book. He survived and continues to chase his seven-foot frame after the Golden Amazon, his true love. However, the daughter, named Viona, is not the product of a normal birth. She was born from an immaculate union of the minds between her parents. As her father Abna explains in the plainest possible language:
“‘….With my newly enhanced mastery over matter, I envisaged the kind of child I would like …to have. I fashioned thought forms in the air as a sculptor moulds clay. I did not like the creations I made; then your impressions became mixed with mine, and there followed a dual effort of mental creation. I performed the concentration while your own thoughts fused with mine. Out of nothing, formed directly by mind force on empty space—which is full of matter but invisible—there emerged an image. It became Viona, fully grown, gifted with my knowledge and yours—yet having her own personality as every living thing has. It was a gentle, delicate thing, this birth, Vi, as sweet as a dream, as absolute as life itself.’”
Eventually they subdue Quorne, but not before chasing him across the solar system. He’s sent into exile, to return another day since the Earth needs menacing on a regular basis. We also learn the Golden Amazon is the greatest human scientist who has ever lived, but there are non-humans in other universes who can do the job better.
The book concludes with a trip outside the universe and into the circles of time where they meet a small mathematician who brings joy to all with his binding calculations. The final section is a mindtrip worthy of inclusion into 2001: A Space Odyssey or the final transformation sequence in Altered States. I have to give the author credit, when he needed to fill up space, the man could purple his prose with the best of them.
The Amethyst City is a pulp-sized ride across the universe by a prolific writer whose style you need to experience.