BOOK REVIEWS FROM A CURIOUS MIND: I read a lot. Books and the data/stories contained within them are my oldest friends. Working at the University of Houston allows me to use the M.D. Anderson Library. Awesome! My wife mentioned that I should write up short summaries/observations on the books I've been reading, since people might be interested in reading them, so I did. Comments are welcome.
There is nothing more fun that finding new writers to read!
Best of Henry Kuttner – Henry Kuttner (1975)
In my search for stories to read I
tend to stick to certain genre fiction, mainly science fiction, because it
merges my science obsession with my love of a good story.Most of what I do read is not fiction however,
and while I find it highly entertaining to flood my mind with data, sometimes I
want to be transported to a whole new world and nothing does that better than a
great science fiction tale.
Having read works by the sci-fi
masters (my favorites being Asimov and Clarke) I soon progressed to the stories
from the cyberpunk era.In that
sub-genre I loved Greg Bear and Rudy Rucker most of all, (the supposed master
of cyberpunk, William Gibson, I find tedious and dull).While exploring the writers that these
cyberpunk authors admired I would come across names that have been forgotten by
mainstream science fiction over the years.One of these is Alfred Bester who I have reviewed before, and another is
Henry Kuttner.I had never heard of Mr.
Kuttner before, as he had passed away decades before I was born.
Kuttner wrote novels and short
stories.Reading these stories today is
a great reminder of how we tend to wrongly assign a generic literary “voice” to
writers from a particular era.Kuttner’s
stories do not fit in line with the mainstream sci-fi of the 40’s and 50’s.They are brash, witty, and irreverent in a
manner that seems much more in line with the cyberpunk authors I mentioned
earlier.While his work is not as
directly comedic as someone like Terry Pratchett, it contains much more humor
and verve than the “Hard” sci-fi that was in vogue at the time.
Kuttner could have made up a whole story about this dude.
In the introduction to this volume,
Ray Bradbury (one of the “great” sci-fi writers who I also happen to find
interminably boring) describes the pure inventiveness of Henry Kuttner and how
he never wrote for a specific genre.His
works were pure imaginative fiction and in many ways stepped outside the bounds
of traditional science fiction writing.I do love any writer/musician/artist that is deemed “un-classifiable.”That to me is a sign of an exploratory mind.It is indeed a shame that Mr. Kuttner died so
young, aged 42 years, and that the world was not granted more output from this
man.An odd bit of trivia about Mr.
Kuttner is that much of his work was written in tandem with his wife, C. L.
Moore, under Kuttner’s name as well as several pseudonyms.After Kuttner’s heart attack, she continued
to teach his English course at USC, but never wrote fiction again.
As a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s weird
works, it was cool to see that Henry Kuttner was one of the writers in the “Lovecraft
circle.”This was a group of Lovecraft
admirers that shared correspondence with the author.Kuttner also wrote several “Cthulhu Mythos”
stories set in the weird world that Lovecraft had created.I am going to have to dig them fools up and
check them out!There is always someone
new to discover.Those who think they
have read or seen or heard it all are no longer trying to discover anything
new.Their brains are slowly petrifying,
and after a certain point it may be irreversible.