Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, July 21, 2022


 Les Voleurs de Cerveaux by "Murray Leinster" (Will F. Jenkins) (1954; Anticipation 013/14 [1979], a graphic novel adaptation of The Brain Stealers, 1956, from [I guess] a translation by Amelie Audiberti for the  Fleuve Noir - Anticipation #66 printing; English novel an expansion of  "The Man in the Iron Cap," Startling Stories, November 1947)

A confession.  I took French in both high school and college.  If memory serves, I passed those curses with flying colors [coleurs].  Today my knowledge of the French language can be summed up in just one word -- merde.  Not that this deterred me (Murray Leinster fan that I am) from digging in to this graphic novel when I came across it on Internet Archive.

I read Leinster's novel more years ago than I would like to admit and remember little than I had enjoyed it.  There will always be a place in my heart for rock-'em, sock-'em pulp science fiction.

Here's the blurb from the 1947 novella, "The Man in the Iron Cap:"  "An indescribable and horrible group of invaders from space had held the world in thrall -- and one man, a discredited scientist, stood alone in a last-ditch defense of humanity!" 

...And the blurb from the original Ace edition:  "HE ALONE DEFIED THE COSMIC VAMPIRES!

"When outlawed scientist Jim Hunt leaped from the prison plane, he had no suspicion that he was not the only one falling silently through the midnight sky.  But other, stranger exiles were landing at that very moment in the same backwoods region...exiles from unknown depths of outer space, exiles seeking human food.

"When Jim started to make his way back home, he discovered the full horror of that night's events.  For the people he met had become mere flesh-and-blood puppets, mindless creatures doing the bidding of the unseen invaders.  And though every man's hand was against him, Jim knew that he alone was humanity's only hope for survival."

How closely does the French graphic novel follow Leinster's original(s)?  Merde if I know.  I do know that the aliens are drawn as if they were lollipop monsters, but I can forgive that.

Here's the link to the French graphic novel (both parts).  If you know French, you may enjoy it more than those who don't.  If you don't know French, there's nothing to stop you from making up your own description and dialogue to the story balloons.  Note also that the two volumes of Anticipation have a few extra stories to pad out each issue's page count.   Issue 013 adds "Des Fous Sont Parmi Nous" and "Monstruositie;" and Issue 014 adds "Les Deux Faces de l'Assassin " and "C'est a en Mourir de Rire."  What are those tales about?  Again, merde if I know.

And here's the link to the September 1947 issue of Startling Stories, which also carries stories by "Polton Cross" (John Russell Fearn) and Clive Beck, as well as a "Hall of Fame Reprint," Jack Williamson's "Through the Purple Cloud" (Wonder Stories, May 1931)

And the link to the Ace edition of The Brain Stealers:

No matter what language you speak, enjoy Murray Leinster at his pulp-writing best.


  1. I'm similarly losing some, but happily not all, of my never quite fluent Spanish (mi memoria es chingada). So, sympathies there...Will Jenkins (should go look if he was a William or something rarer) really was the grand old man of sf writers for quite a few decades, and I might enjoy looking at that graphic adaptation, lollipop aliens and all. Thanks for these pointers! (Jenkins/"Leinster"--a Welsh-named guy affecting a vaguely Eastern Euro pseudonym--could look at that issue of STARTLING and muse about when he saw this new kid Jack Williamson--another Welsh family?--first popped up in the pro ranks...)

  2. Around 1960, Murray Leinster was my favorite SF writer. I had read some of his stories in ACE Double format. Berkley Books reprinted some of his stories and novels, too. I loved the Sense of Wonder I felt reading his stories. Now, decades later, I still get a thrill reading Leinster's work. A true story-teller!