Psych! Rhiannon is totally a dude.
At least in this one.
This is a pulpy sci fi/fantasy novel from the early 1950s. Leigh Brackett is most famous for writing the screenplay for The Big Sleep and for an early draft of The Empire Strikes Back before she died in the late 1970s. But this novel is more in the vain of Edgar Rice Burroughs (Princess of Mars) and Robert Howard (Conan), than space operas. It’s space in the sense that it takes place on “Mars” but it’s much more fantasy. It prefigures works by Michael Moorcock and Samuel Delaney in the way that’s it’s a fantasy in space kind of deal.
The story itself is an archaeologist on a well-inhabited Mars, a settlement of an old civilization, not a colony, stumbles upon the tomb of an ancient god after being sold an artifact. This triggers a time travel event and he is cast into the deep past of Mars, a time of myth and legend.
I keep wanting to compare this left and right to other works, but it has a similar feel to the CS Lewis Space trilogy here as well. I mean this specifically because there is very little exposition. The world-building in inherent to the setting, but we are not folded into this. We have to pick it up and run with it.
The failure of a movie like John Carpenter means we won’t ever get to see this on film, but taking novels like this and some of the others and resisting the urge to make them epics, and instead focus on small budget, tighter feeling adaptation could mean great success for these weird little books from before space travel.