Tag Archives: Astounding Science Fiction

Breaking the Bough on Kuttner’s Birthday

“When the Bough Breaks”
as by Lewis Padgett
originally published in Astounding Science Fiction November 1944

Henry Kuttner was born on April 7, 1915.  Anyone who has read much of this blog knows that Kuttner is probably my favorite author, at least on days ending in “y”.  After his marriage to C. L. Moore, everything he and Moore wrote was a collaboration to one degree or another.

Both authors were masters of fantasy, science fiction, and and everything in between, including horror.  Much of their best work was published in Astounding in the mid-1940s.  Almost all of these stories have been collected in at least one of Kuttner’s collections, either in his lifetime or in the years since.  There are a few that haven’t, which I’ll address at another time.  Continue reading

It’s Randall Garrett’s Birthday

randall garrettOne of the most neglected and underrated writers of the mid-20th Century was Randall Garrett.  If he is remembered at all today, it is for his Lord Darcy series, about which more in a bit.

Randall Garrett was born on this day, December 16, in 1927.  He passed away in 1987.  I’d like to think my knowledge of the early science fiction and fantasy pulp writers is fairly extensive, but on Twitter 1whoknewcthulhu (@srm991) is always posting birthday notices about writers I’ve never heard of.  You should follow him if you aren’t already.

Or in this case, a favorite writer whose birthday I didn’t know.  (Why wasn’t I aware of this?  We share a birthday.  At least we did while I was still having birthdays.  Ever since I got married, I don’t have birthdays.  I have anniversaries.  That means I’ll always be [redacted] years old, while my wife will continue to age.  For some reason she gets upset when I say this.  But I digress.) Continue reading

A Look at The Fairy Chessmen

ASF_0182The Fairy Chessmen
Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore writing as Lewis Padgett
originally published in two parts in Astounding Science Fiction, Jan. 1946 and Feb. 1946

I’ve had a copy of this short novel for years but have never gotten around to reading it until recently. For some reason, I struggled a bit to get into to it. That’s not normally a problem I have with Kuttner, even when he isn’t at the top of his game. It may have had something to do with reading it on my phone. I tend to be interrrupted more when I’m reading in that format.

But I digress.  Here’s what I thought of the story. Continue reading

Blogging Kuttner: A Gnome There Was

A Gnome There WasA Gnome There Was
Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore)
Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 276 pg., $2.50
Cover drawing by Ed Cartier

I’ve got about half a dozen posts I need to write, including one for another blog, but with the blizzard, we’ve been cooped up in the house.  That means between my wife watching TV with the volume up too loud and my son monopolizing the laptop everytime I have to do something responsible, I’ve not gotten much done as far as reading, blogging, or writing is concerned.  I’m typing this after everyone else has gone to bed.

I started A Gnome There Was just before Thanksgiving.  I tracked down a copy some years ago simply because I was trying to find a copy of the short story “Jesting Pilot”, and this was the easiest way.  Turns out there is another story in it that I discovered last night has never been reprinted since this book was published.  At the time I thought “Jesting Pilot” was the only story I hadn’t read.

Anyway, I was getting tired of some of the stuff I was being sent to review, something I’ll discuss in my year end post in a day or so.  I decided to revisit some of my favorite Kuttner stories (something like literary comfort food).  Since many of them are in this book, that’s the one I chose.   Continue reading

Kuttner Unkollected

9630457No, that’s not a typo, it’s a deliberate misspelling.  It’s a weisenheimer attempt at alliteration.

About a decade ago, give or take a year, I had a little extra money from summer teaching.  So did I save the money or invest it wisely?  No, I didn’t.  I decided to try and obtain as many copies of Henry Kuttner stories that had never been reprinted at that time that I didn’t have, along with a few other unreprinted stories by people such as Eric Frank Russell.  Except for some copies of Weird Tales which were out of my price range, I managed to get most everything I didn’t have copies of.  Haffner Press has reprinted the Weird Tales material.  When pursuing a project like this, eBay is not your bank account’s friend an invaluable tool.   Continue reading

If You Were Stranded on a Desert Island…

If you were stranded on a desert island and could have one complete run of a pulp magazine to help you while away the hours, which one would it be?  For those of you who are anal retentive, assume that food, water, and shelter are not an issue.

Oh, and you’re alone.  I don’t want to know what type of harem you would have on a desert island.  That’s a different blog post on a different blog written by a different blogger.  The thought of what some of you people might come up with on that one frankly scares me.

For the purposes of this thought experiment, any pulp that survived after the early 1950s (I’m thinking Astounding here) when the pulp market collapsed can only be included up through 1953.  Any magazine that started in the 1950s (F&SF, Galaxy, etc.) is outside the bounds of consideration.  Here are my top ten choices: Continue reading

Graveyard Rats for Kuttner’s Birthday

kuttnerHenry Kuttner was born on this date in 1915.  His first published story was “The Graveyard Rats”, which appeared in the March 1936 issue of Weird Tales.  It has been reprinted at least 35 times, the latest being in Zombies from the Pulps, edited by Jeffrey Shanks, which where I recently reread it.Zombies from the Pulps Front cover

Kuttner started out as part of the Lovecraft circle, and “The Graveyard Rats” is very much in the vein of Lovecraft.  The story concerns Masson, a gravedigger in an old cemetery in Salem.  The man has a profitable little sideline going, digging up the bodies and removing any valuables buried with them.  The problem is the rats which infest the graveyard.  They’ve dug a series of tunnels and steal the bodies themselves.

When the rats literally pull a fresh corpse out of the coffin and into the tunnels as Masson is opening the coffin lid, he decides to follow them in and retrieve his prize.  This isn’t the smartest move he could have made…

Terror in the HouseKuttner became a prolific author, writing some of his best work for Weird Tales, Astounding, and Thrilling Wonder.  He wasn’t afraid to take chances and stretch himself as a writer and wrote horror, fantasy, sword and sorcery, science fiction, and mystery.  After his marriage to C. L. Moore, the two collaborated on almost everything they wrote.

Haffner Press has been bringing Kuttner back into print, but even so, there are a number of his stories that are still in crumbling pulp magazines that deserve to be reprinted.  I’ll be looking at some of those tales later this year.