(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

De Camp’s purpose in this series is simple entertainment. Each story is a plot-driven adventure described in imaginative, carefully researched detail. Humor adds a level of satire, especially in the twist-ending short stories in the Continent Makers collection, which contains the 1949 “The Animal-Cracker Plot.” This is the first story of the series. Other humorous stories in the volume include “The Inspector’s Teeth,” “Summer Wear,” “Finished,” “The Galon Whistle,” “ Git Along!,” and “Perpetual Motion.”

In The Swords of Zinjaban, the best-developed novel in the series, situational comedy adds interest to an otherwise episodic, repetitive adventure. Most of the volumes combine two previously published short stories and contain little more humor than wry commentary on either human or Krishnan culture, except regarding interspecies sex and other conflicts between differing cultures.

Critics frequently cite Rogue Queen, the one Viagens novel not taking place on Krishna, alongside de Camp’s Lest Darkness Fall (1941; serial form, 1939) as being his best work, establishing the mythos, tone, and techniques he would follow in later books. Krishna, Earth, and the other planets in the series provide de Camp with a wide range of settings and conflict situations that allow him to use the elements of his previous fantasy work in a science-fiction environment. This is particularly...

(The entire section is 582 words.)