Thursday, November 18, 2004

Kuttner: Mountain Magic (The Hogben Stories)

Henry Kuttner had the best gimmick for getting past explaining the unexplainable future science, and it's been flattered by imitation ever since: a character would "just do" whatever without knowing why it would work. (Think of the creation of the anti-gravity device in Sturgeon's More Than Human.)

In the Hogben Stories, Shaunk lives with his Maw and Paw, Grandpa, baby brother and assorted uncles in their mountain shanty. When Shaunk needs power at a tumble-down water mill, he and his Maw just cobble together a power source that turns out to be a nuclear pile. Naturally, the family winds up in jail for it (for it is an election year and a corrupt local pol needs an issue to drive his bid for the governorship). It goes skew in unexpectable ways from there -- with the just comeuppance for the bad guy that is another standard with Kuttner.

That's just one of four stories collected here, all really good sci-fi froth. I missed the editor's input, common in anthologies, that might have told why (if) the Kuttner Hogben tales hadn't been collected elsewhere since their first appearance in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 40's. Mountain Magic does not appear to have an editor, although I have seen Eric Flint listed as editor on several sites.

There is a surprising dearth of reviews -- Justin Bischel at Amazon has a pithy one that made me thirsty. See also the customer reviews at Page One for a note from one of the authors!


Blogger samraat said...

4/03/2010 8:39 AM  

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