Henry Kuttner "debased and perverted hack"
As many of you know, Mike Resnick is a highly acclaimed writer of both science fiction and fantasy. His books and stories are held in great esteem around the world. Mike is also an editor and a sometime historian of the science fiction field. In a long fine piece on the history of science fiction magazines there's a reference to Henry Kuttner. Since we've been discussing HK lately I asked Mike if I could quote that section here.
Back in the Good Old Days of the pulps, more often than not the cover art showed a partially-clad (or, if you prefer, a mostly-unclad) girl, usually at the mercy of aliens who seemed more interested in ripping off the rest of her clothes than doing anything practical, like killing or communicating with her.
The thing is (and I refer you to the two introductory articles in my anthology, Girls For the Slime God), only one magazine actually delivered the salacious stories that went hand- in-glove with those cover illos, and that magazine was Marvel Science Stories. The first issue, back in August of 1938, featured Henry Kuttner's "The Avengers of Space," a rather pedestrian novella to which I suspect he added all the sex scenes to after it had been turned down by the major markets. Then out came issue number two, and there was Kuttner with another novella of the same ilk: "The Time Trap."
What was the result?
Well, there were two results. The first was that Kuttner was labeled a debased and perverted hack, and had to create Lewis Padgett and Lawrence O'Donnell, his two most famous pseudonyms (but far from his only ones) in order to make a living, since it would be a few years before the top editors wanted to buy from Henry Kuttner again.
The second was that the United States government, through its postal branch, gave science fiction its very first official recognition. They explained to the publisher that if the third issue of Marvel was as sexy as the first two, they were shutting him down and sending him to jail.
And with that, Marvel Science Stories became the most sedate and—let's be honest—dull science fiction magazine on the market. It died not too long thereafter, the first prozine to be slain by the government.
Ed here: As pulp readers know Leo Margulies rescued his stable of magazines by adding "Spicy" to the titles. Spicy Western! Spicy Romance! Spicy Detective! I'd never heard of anybody trying that with sf. HK was one enterprising guy.