“The Lion and the Unicorn”
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, July 1945
This is the third installment of the Baldy series, written by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore under their joint pen name of Lewis Padgett. The reviews of the preceding two stories can be found here and here.
Spoilers to follow.
“The Lion and the Unicorn” opens only a few decades after “Three Blind Mice”. Barton, the protagonist of the previous tale, is still alive. He’s in his sixties, and while a key player, he’s not the central figure in this story. Barton managed to kill the Baldies who had developed the alternate wavelength, but there are others. It turns out the ability to send and receive telepathic messages on this alternate wavelength is a new mutation on the Baldy mutation. And all the Baldies who have it are paranoid. Continue reading →
“Three Blind Mice”
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, June 1945, as by Lewis Padgett
This story takes place about a generation, maybe two, after the events of the first story, “The Piper’s Son”. The stories in this series present the highlights of the history of the Baldies for the first two hundred and fifty or so years after their mutation brought them forth. As in the last post, there will be spoiler below the READ MORE link.
David Barton is a big game hunter who captures animals and brings them back to North America (the US no longer exists as we would recognize it) for various zoos. It’s how he has managed to adjust and adapt to his mutation. He’s channeled is aggressiveness into something product, an accomplish necessary for a Baldy to survive.
The story opens with him bringing a load of animals to a town in the rocky mountains. He’s flying in, looking forward to having catfish at a restaurant he knows, when he’s contacted telepathically by a woman he’s not met before. Her name is Sue Connaught, and she wants to meet him in person. Continue reading →
“The Piper’s Son”
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, Feb. 1945
Henry Kuttner wrote a series of stories in collaboration with his wife C. L. Moore about a race of telepathic mutants called Baldies. This series consisted of five novelettes and ran under the Lewis Padgett byline in Astounding Science Fiction in the 1940s. This post will look at the first of them. I’ll look at the rest every Friday and Tuesday until I’ve covered the entire series and the fix-up novel containing them all.
First a bit of backstory. The setting is about one generation, maybe two, after a nuclear war. Chicago, among other cities, was destroyed. There are strict limits on how large a municipality can grow. Any town that gets too large is destroyed.
The radiation blast created a number of mutants. Among them are a race of hairless telepaths known as Baldies. They wear wigs and do their best to blend into society. Understandably, they’re feared and hated by a large segment of the population. Continue reading →
Henry Kuttner writing as Keith Hammond Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1947
Kuttner had three stories in this issue of Thrilling Wonder, one under his own name and two under psuedonyms. I’ll look at all of them since two of them have been reprinted and the third never appeared in one of Kuttner’s collectons and hasn’t seen print since the 1960s.
In the post War years, Americans were definitely interested in atomic bombs and the possibility of radioactive fallout. “Dark Dawn” deals with these concerns, as does “Atomic!”, the story in this issue that appears under Kuttner’s byline. Continue reading →
Henry Kuttner writing as Scott Morgan
Thrilling Wonder Stories, Winter 1944
As I mentioned in my post on “A God Named Kroo”, this is the second of three stories Kuttner had in this issue of Thrilling Wonder. Unlike “Kroo”, “Trophy” isn’t a humorous yarn. It’s a science fiction story with a nice little horror ending.
Like “A God Named Kroo”, this story concerns the Japanese theatre of operations during WWII. This time the viewpoint character is a Japanese officer who is also a Western trained surgeon. In fact he’s one of the best surgeons in the world.
The backstory is that he and his men are marooned on a remote island in the Pacific when they see a US plane. They attempt to lure the plane to the island one evening and are almost successful when a flying torpedo shaped object zoomed by, causing the plane to crash. The airmen aren’t the pushovers the Japanese soldiers are expecting. A gun battle ensues, and the surgeon and a single airman are the only survivors. Continue reading →
The Hogben Chronicles Henry Kuttner
edited by Pierce Watters and F. Paul Wilson
introduction by Neil Gaiman Borderlands Press
Signed and numbered limited edition, $50
Leatherbound lettered and traycased edition (signed) $100
Poster of the dust jacket $10 (shown left)
If you’re a fan of Henry Kuttner and you missed out on the Kickstarter for this one, all I can say is sucks to be you, ahem, excuse me, read ’em and weep I mean, that’s too bad. You could have had this volume (minus the signatures) for a song.
The stories in The Hogben Chronicles were in all probability written in collaboration with Kuttner’s wife C. L. Moore. Two of them (“Exit the Professor” and “See You Later”) were published as by Lewis Padgett, the best-known of their pen names. The only thing I can find wrong with them is that there are only five. Continue reading →