Sunday, July 05, 2015

Kar Kaballa by George H. Smith

(pb; 1969)

From the front page:

"Kar Kaballa was the new king of the Gogs and the rumor was that he would lead his barbaric cannibalistic band of Northern nomad down a mad crusade against the civilized nations of the world. Cultured people found this improbable -- but they were soon to learn better.

"Their weapons were good, about as good as you could get in a Victorian army, which was what the period was. But there was a traveler in town with a weapon he said was better, an odd chap with a thing called a Gatling Gun from a country nobody ever heard of called the United States.

"The question was could this outlander, this Major Churchwad, sell his unearthly import to the Empire soon enough -- or would Kar Kaballa become the new Tamerlane of a bloody-dawned Twentieth Century?"


Kar Kaballa an action- and battle-intense, intriguing science fiction novel, set in a Victorian-era alternate world, Annwn. Its characters and settings are a colorful mix of science and magic (and its resulting themes), from the brash explorer Dylan MacBride, to his fiery, would-be lover (Clarinda MacTague, a high priestess of the fertility goddess Keridwen) to Cythraul, the dark, devouring god of Kar Kaballa and his Gog soldiers.

Entertaining and over-the-top, Kar Kaballa is what science fiction novels of this sort should be: thrilling and addictive. This is worth owning.


Kar Kaballa was packaged as a reverse-bound "Ace Double" novel, which means that if readers flip the book upside down and over, there was another science fiction novel, penned by another author, on the other side. (Considering that these books sold for 75 cents a pop, this seems like a great deal, even back in the Sixties.)

In this case, the flipside novel is Lin Carter's Tower of the Medusa.

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