Henry Kuttner died much too young.
A fantastic talent who wrote both alone and in collaboration with his wife, author Catherine Moore, Kuttner’s imagination was without bounds. Regrettably, his name will likely never be known among the mainstream, as much of his work was published under pseudonyms. His collaborations and individual tales were largely credited to C. H. Liddell, Lawrence O’Donnell, Lewis Padgett, Keith Hammond, Hudson Hastings, and numerous others. I’ve little doubt that publishing under so many aliases resulted in the name recognition Kuttner deserves.
Kuttner and Moore met by way of their admiration for the writing of H.P. Lovecraft. They were part of a group of fans and writers known collectively as the Lovecraft Circle. Kuttner authored numerous short stories within the Cthulhu Mythos, and he introduced various deities to the Mythos. Several of these tales, including “The Salem Horror” were published in WEIRD TALES in the mid-1930s. A collection of Kuttner’s Cthulhu Mythos stories, entitled THE BOOK OF IOD, was published in 1995.
Between 1944 and 1946, Kuttner wrote various comic book stories, the majority of which appeared in GREEN LANTERN, published by National/DC.
Kuttner and Moore wed in 1940. They cowrote numerous novels, including EARTH’S LAST CITADEL (1943), THE DARK WORLD (1946), and THE PORTAL IN THE PICTURE (1949). Moore and Kuttner also collaborated on a variety of nongenre novels. Many of their collaborations were later adapted for other media including “What You Need,” which was filmed for both TALES OF TOMORROW in 1952 and THE TWILIGHT ZONE in 1959. Kuttner was well regarded by many of his contemporaries including Bradbury, Matheson, and Bloch.
Kuttner died of cardiac arrest in February 1958 at the age of 42. Moore, widowed at 47 and no doubt heartbroken, retired from writing creative literary. From 1958 until 1962 she wrote several television scripts for Warner Brothers but permanently retiring from writing in 1963.
Those unfamiliar with Kuttner’s work are encouraged to try it. One recommendation for newcomers is THE BEST OF HARRY KUTTNER: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES, available at better booksellers. It features over 500 pages of tales, including works done in collaboration with Moore, and is bound to please even the most discriminating critic.