Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mighty Mutant Forbears

It's always fun while reading a book to be pointed in a new direction of exploration.

To wit: I was reading TwoMorrows' fun Marvel Comics in the 1960s, and I'd just gotten to the article describing the introduction of The Uncanny X-Men, when Pierre Comtois points to mutants being a staple of science fiction. He specifically cites two books: A.E. van Vogt's Slan (which is not unusual since everyone seems to point to that classic when discussing mutants) and Henry Kuttner's Mutant. Since I hadn't heard about this last one, it was off to the Internet!

Here's what I found at Free SF Reader:
In this book by Henry Kuttner from the 1950s, homo superior has arrived, and again, they are in hiding. The book contains several pieces about this new race, and they are telepathic. It deals more with their problems, and what it is like to be a telepath, or what it is like to have problems with these abilities when you have been telepathic before, and that sort of thing, compared to the more action oriented approach of Van Vogt, for example.

There is some conflict between the various political groups within the telepaths, and the overall story is told from the point of view of one of the last survivors of the early days, after he has crash landed in bad weather.

Free SF Reader also features a handy Wowio link so you can check the stories out for free. Amazon also has a Kindle edition, for those of you living in the 22nd Century.

But poking around a bit more, I discovered that Henry Kuttner had written other books worth investigating, including stories about pulp hero Thunder Jim Wade. Never heard of him? Well, neither had I! But it's available at Amazon!

According to Wikipedia, Henry Kuttner was admired by professionals like Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ray Bradbury and Roger Zelazny. Mr. Kuttner also corresponded with H.P. Lovecraft, and wrote several stories that added to the Cthulu Mythos. Certainly, a man worth further study...

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