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Henry Kuttner (April 7 1915February 4 1958) was an Americanmarker author of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Early life

Henry Kuttner was born in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker in 1915. His father, Henry Kuttner (1863-1920), whose parents, Naphtaly Kuttner (1829-1904) and Amelia Bush, had come from Prussia and lived in San Franciscomarker since 1859, was a bookseller; the parents of his mother, Annie Lewis (1879-1954), were from Great Britainmarker. Kuttner grew up in relative poverty following the death of his father. As a young man he worked for the literary agency of his uncle , Laurence D'Orsay, in Los Angeles before selling his first story, "The Graveyard Rats", to Weird Tales in early 1936.

The Graveyard Rats

Synopsis: Salem, Massachusetts - Cemetery caretaker "Old Masson" must deal with a teeming colony of abnormally large rats that are cutting into his graverobbing profits; the subterranean rodents drag away newly buried corpses from holes gnawed into the coffins. Apart from the flesh-eating animals, Masson eventually comes face-to-face with a burrowing zombie-like creature.

This often-anthologized tale made recent appearances in The Gruesome Book (1983, Piccolo/Pan Books) edited by Ramsey Campbell, and Weird Tales - Seven Decades of Terror (1997, Barnes and Noble Books). Other Kuttner stories are also tinged with Lovecraftian, Paganistic horrors. Rats was also adapted as part of the made-for-cable anthology film Trilogy of Terror II. Years later, the central premise of abnormally large rats was used in several novels and movies, among these, the acromegalous rats in the film-version of H.G. Wells' story The Food of the Gods, and Stephen King's Graveyard Shift (1970), which deals with a colony of mutated rats nesting beneath a textile mill.

Kuttner and Moore

Kuttner was known for his literary prose and worked in close collaboration with his wife, C. L. Moore. They met through their association with the "Lovecraft Circle", a group of writers and fans who corresponded with H. P. Lovecraft. Their work together spanned the 1940s and 1950s and most of the work was credited to pseudonyms, mainly Lewis Padgett and Lawrence O'Donnell. Both freely admitted that one reason they worked so much together was because his page rate was higher than hers. In fact, several people have written or said that she wrote three stories which were published under his name. "Clash by Night" and The Portal in the Picture, also known as Beyond Earth's Gates, have both been alleged to have been written by her.

L. Sprague de Camp, who knew Kuttner and Moore well, has stated that their collaboration was so intensive that, after a story was completed, it was often impossible for either Kuttner or Moore to recall who had written which portions. According to de Camp, it was typical for either partner to break off from a story in mid-paragraph or even mid-sentence, with the latest page of the manuscript still in the typewriter. The other spouse would routinely continue the story where the first had left off. They alternated in this manner as many times as necessary until the story was finished.

Among Kuttner's most popular work were the Gallegher stories, published under the Padgett name, about a man who invented hi-tech solutions to client problems (including an insufferably egomaniacal robot) when he was stinking drunk, only to be completely unable to remember exactly what he had built or why after sobering up. These stories were later collected in Robots Have No Tails. In the introduction to the paperback reprint edition after his death, Moore stated that all the Gallegher stories were written by Kuttner alone.

In 2007, New Line Cinema released a feature film loosely based on the Lewis Padgett short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" under the title The Last Mimzy. In addition, The Best of Henry Kuttner was republished under the title The Last Mimzy Stories.


Marion Zimmer Bradley is among many authors who have cited Kuttner as an influence. Her novel The Bloody Sun is dedicated to him. Roger Zelazny has talked about the influence of The Dark World on his Amber series.

Kuttner's friend Richard Matheson dedicated his 1954 novel I Am Legend to Kuttner, with thanks for his help and encouragement. Ray Bradbury likewise dedicated Dark Carnival, his first book, to him, calling him one of his hardest-working and most patient teachers; Bradbury has said that Kuttner actually wrote the last 300 words of Bradbury's first horror story, "The Candle" (Weird Tales, November 1942). Bradbury has referred to Kuttner as a neglected master and a "pomegranate writer: popping with seeds -- full of ideas".

William S. Burroughs's novel The Ticket That Exploded contains direct quotes from Kuttner regarding the "Happy Cloak" parasitic pleasure monster from the Venusian seas.

The Cthulhu Mythos

A friend of Lovecraft's as well as of Clark Ashton Smith, Kuttner contributed several stories to the Cthulhu Mythos genre invented by those authors (among others). Among these were "The Secret of Kralitz" (Weird Tales, October 1936), "The Eater of Souls" (Weird Tales, January 1937), "The Salem Horror" (Weird Tales, May 1937), "The Invaders" (Strange Stories, February 1939) and "The Hunt" (Strange Stories, June 1939).

Kuttner added a few lesser-known deities to the Mythos, including Iod ("The Secret of Kralitz"), Vorvadoss ("The Eater of Souls"), and Nyogtha ("The Salem Horror"). Critic Shawn Ramsey suggests that Abigail Prinn, the villain of "The Salem Horror", might have been intended by Kuttner to be a descendant of Ludvig Prinn, author of De Vermis Mysteriis--a book that appears in Kuttner's "The Invaders".

Later life

Henry Kuttner spent the middle 1950's getting his masters degree before dying of a heart attack in Los Angelesmarker in 1958.

Partial Bibliography

Short Stories

  • "The Graveyard Rats" (1936)
  • "The Secret of Kralitz" (1936)
  • "The Eater of Souls" (1937)
  • "The Salem Horror" (1937)

  • Tony Quade stories
    • "I. Hollywood on the Moon" (1938)
    • "II. Doom World" (1938)
    • "III. The Star Parade" (1938)
    • "IV. Trouble on Titan" (1941)

  • "The Invaders" (1939)
  • "Bells of Horror" (1939)
  • "The Hunt" (1939)

  • Elak of Atlantis stories
    • "Thunder in the Dawn" (1938)
    • "Spawn of Dagon" (1939)
    • "Beyond the Phoenix" (1939)
    • "Dragon Moon" (1940)

  • Thunder Jim Wade series (as by Charles Stoddard)
    • "Thunder Jim Wade" (1941)
    • "The Hills of Gold" (1941)
    • "The Poison People" (1941)
    • "The Devil's Glacier" (1941)
    • "Waters of Death" (1941)

  • "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (1943) used as the basis for the 2007 movie The Last Mimzy, and for the French TV adaptation "Tout spliques étaient les Borogoves" (1970)
  • "Clash by Night" (with C. L. Moore) (1943)
  • "The Proud Robot" (1943)
  • "The Time Locker" (1943)
  • "Gallegher Plus" (1943)
  • "Nothing but Gingerbread Left" (1943)
  • "The Twonky" (1940s?) - adapted for film in 1953
  • "The World Is Mine" (1943)
  • Baldie Stories
    • "The Piper's Son" (1945)
    • "Three Blind Mice" (1945)
    • "The Lion And The Unicorn" (1945)
    • "Beggars in Velvet" (1945)
    • "Humpty Dumpty" (1945)

  • "The Cure" (1946)
  • "Call Him Demon" (1946)
  • "Vintage Season" (with C. L. Moore; 1946) - filmed in 1992 as Timescape [44854]
  • "Ex Machina" (1948)
  • "Happy Ending" (1949)
  • "Satan Sends Flowers" (1953)
  • "Or Else" (??) - published in the anthology The War Book (edited by James Sallis, 1969).
  • The Best of Henry Kuttner anthologizes 17 stories. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975).
  • The Eyes of Thar
  • Atomic!



  • The Fairy Chessmen
  • The Time Trap (1938)
  • Dr. Cyclops (1940)
  • A Million Years to Conquer (1940)
  • The Creature from Beyond Infinity (1940)
  • Earth's Last Citadel (with C. L. Moore) (1943)
  • Valley of the Flame (1946)
  • The Dark World (1946)
  • The Portal in the Picture, also known as Beyond Earth's Gates (with C. L. Moore) (1946)
  • Fury, (1947), later published under the title Destination: Infinity (1956)
  • Lands of the Earthquake (1947)
  • The Time Axis (1948)
  • The Well of the Worlds (1952)
  • Man Drowning (1952)


  • Edward J. Bellin
  • Paul Edmonds
  • Noel Gardner
  • Will Garth
  • James Hall
  • Keith Hammond
  • Hudson Hastings
  • Peter Horn
  • Kelvin Kent
  • Robert O. Kenyon
  • C. H. Liddell
  • Hugh Maepenn
  • Scott Morgan
  • Lawrence O'Donnell
  • Lewis Padgett
  • Woodrow Wilson Smith
  • Charles Stoddard


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