Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Kuttner, Henry

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(1915-1958) US writer, best-known for his sf. He was briefly associated with the H P Lovecraft circle, and much of his early fiction was in the subgenres favoured by Weird Tales, including the Sword-and-Sorcery Elak of Atlantis (1938-1941 WT; coll of linked stories 1985) and Prince Raynor (1939 Strange Stories; coll of linked stories 1987 chap). He wrote several notable short stories for Unknown, including "The Misguided Halo" (1939), "Design for Dreaming" (1942) and "Compliments of the Author" (1942); his quirky sense of humour was ideally suited to the magazine. The Time-Travel comedies starring Pete Manx which HK and Arthur K Barnes (1911-1969) wrote – both separately and in collaboration – for Thrilling Wonder Stories as Kelvin Kent are in a similar vein; these have never been collected.

Before marrying C L Moore in 1940 HK collaborated with her on the Jirel of Joiry/Northwest Smith story "Quest of the Starstone" (1937 WT). After their marriage the two collaborated on a number of lushly exotic melodramas, heavily influenced by A Merritt, which may be regarded as archetypal examples of Science Fantasy: Earth's Last Citadel (1943 Argosy as by HK and CLM; 1964 as by CLM and HK); The Dark World (1946 Startling Stories as by HK; 1965); Valley of the Flame (1946 Startling Stories as by Keith Hammond; 1964 as by HK); "Lands of the Earthquake" (1947 Startling Stories as by HK); The Mask of Circe (1948 Startling Stories as by HK; 1971); The Time Axis (1949 Startling Stories as by HK; 1965); Beyond Earth's Gates (1949 Startling Stories as "The Portal in the Picture" by HK; 1954 dos as by Lewis Padgett); and Well of the Worlds (1952 Startling Stories; 1953 as by Lewis Padgett; vt The Well of the Worlds 1965 as by HK). Presumably HK and Moore would have written far more outright fantasy had there been ready markets for such work, but the sf disguises worn by these works are by no means merely tokenistic compromises. [BS]

Henry Kuttner


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.