Kuttner’s Cosmos

Posted by on December 14th, 2009 at 1:00 PM

A gentle, pensive darkness seems to infiltrate and subtly refine the later stories’ common tone. “All Mimsy Were the Borogroves” follows a young married couple’s efforts to define the secret psychic partnership of their six-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. The teasingly ambiguous “Before I Wake” considers a Mexican youngster’s dreams of a glamourous storybook ship: an admirably sustained balance of pathos and menace. The story first appeared in the 1946 Famous Fantastic Mysteries. In still another story, a peon is aware of telepathic visitations. Such stories as these, and the masterly “Call Him Demon”  in which the Oz stories, featuring Ruggedo, the Nome King are invoked, present the Kuttners as tillers of fresh imaginative soil.

“Masquerade,” which appeared in Dorothy McIlwraith’s Weird Tales, hinted at a sly mingling of genres. A literary couple, seeking hostel during a thunderstorm in a tottering regional mansion, trade sly wisecracks about how their editors might cotton to the Gothic cliches. They are admitted, only to find themselves possibly trapped amid a clan of murderous degenerates – with possible vampires hovering in the cobwebbed background. The story forecasts the future sophistication and imaginative sensibility of the Kuttners’ later work.

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One Response to “Kuttner’s Cosmos”

  1. Bhob says:

    One hardly sees Thorne Smith mentioned any more except when the film of Topper plays on television. But he was one of the great humorists of the 20th Century.

    Bhob @ Potrzebie: http://potrzebie.blogspot.com