Saturday, April 24, 2010

Libraries, Kuttner

I keep seeing Ray Bradbury referred to in campaigns to stop library closures. The image to the left is from a library in Charlotte, North Carolina. There is information about the local campaign here.

Henry Kuttner was an important formative influence on Ray Bradbury's early writing career, but Kuttner's work is little known today. Most recently, the so-so movie The Last Mimzy drew upon Kuttner's best known work, the short story "Mimsy Were The Borogoves" (written as Lewis Padgett). The bizarrely named blog Two-Fisted Tales of True-Life Weird Romance gives a neat biography of Kuttner, referencing Bradbury. The blog post also includes a complete Kuttner story, "Bells of Horror", taken from the pulp magazine Strange Stories. An earlier post in the same blog included some Thrilling Wonder Stories pages that contain biographies of 1940s pulp writers, including Kuttner.

In another blog, at Coilhouse, David Forbes contributes an excellent essay about how science fiction literature shifted from a position of technological optimism to a more bleak view. Forbes uses some excellent examples, taking us from early Heinlein and Astounding Stories magazine, through Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and Thomas Disch. It's a very thought-provoking essay, and a reminder that although Bradbury has only occasionally been an SF writer, his position in the genre is solid, thanks largely to the apparently anti-technology stance of his short story collection The Illustrated Man. We can argue all day about whether Bradbury is really anti-technology, and whether any of his work is really science fiction, but his influence on the field and genre of SF is unquestionable.


Ana said...

Thank you Phil!
I need to know the inernet source of the essay you direct us to!
Thank you

Phil said...

Hi Ana,

the essay is here:

- Phil