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The Tree of Life

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Published: 1936
Language: English
Wordcount: 12,019 / 41 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 84.7
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,432
Added to site: 2010.06.18 28189

A gripping tale of the planet Mars and the terrible monstrosity that called its victims to it from afar—a tale of Northwest Smith.

Show Excerpt

out of plain sight among the leaves. He could hear the soft rustle of their passage, and once or twice when they passed near a clump of shrubbery he thought he caught the echo of little whispering calls, gentle as the rustle of leaves and somehow full of a strange warning note so clear that he caught it even amid the murmur of their speech. Warning calls, and little furtive hiders in the leaves, and a landscape of tapestried blurring carpeted with Botticelli flower-strewn sward. It was all a dream. He felt quite sure of that.

* * * * *

It was a long while before curiosity awakened in him sufficiently to make him break the stillness. But at last he asked dreamily,

"Where are we going?"

The girl seemed to understand that without the necessity of the bond her hypnotic eyes made, for she turned and caught his eyes in a white stare and answered,

"To Thag. Thag desires you."

"What is Thag?"

In answer to that she launched without preliminary upon a little singsong mon

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4 from 2 reviews: ****
Paulo Respighi

An interesting story that starts off with Northwest Smith being hunted in the ruins of an ancient Martian temple. He encounters a ghostly weeping woman who asks to be led back to her tree. The only tree is a sculpture, and when she comes in the shadow of it, she disappears. Smith follows her to a twilit land of meadows, flowers, and trees--and a hungry god.

Surprisingly good story, with some good description and an unfolding plot. The character of Smith is not like other sci-fi spacemen who recur in story after story--he's puzzled, astute, and doesn't punch anybody.


I first made acquaintance with Northwest Smith [he walks silently in his spaceman's boots] in a collection of three stories far back in my past. The stories are dated, true, but still interesting. It's short, so you haven't lost much if you don't like it, but if you're like me, you'll wish for more, so READ IT.



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Elin Barnes
Elin Barnes has done many different things in her life, like being a flight instructor, working for a criminal appeals lawyer and working for many big name technology companies in Silicon Valley (Microsoft, Google etc.). But the one thing that she never thought would actually happen is to write (and finish) a book. Her debut novel, Justification for Murder, has, in the meantime, earned rave reviews and grown into a series. As our author of the day, Barnes reveals why she picked Silicon Valley as the backdrop, her inspiration behind writing a biomedical thriller and how she went for ride-alongs with the San Jose Police Department.
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