Saturday, November 13, 2010

Terror In The House by Henry Kuttner

I've just finished reading this massive handsomely made collection of Henry Kuttner's early terror and dark suspense stories. As I've mentioned here many times, Kuttner is my favorite of all thirties and forties pulp writers and this book demonstrates why. Just about every single trope of the terror magazines can be found in these stories. Kuttner was part of a group including Robert Bloch who incorporated its idol H.P. Lovecraft's work into their own. A half dozen of these stories reflect that influence.

To me Kuttner was always at his best when he wrote dark. And these stories qualify as that. Plus they offer an interesting historical viewpoint of Depression America. Garyn G. Roberts writes a long and rich introduction.

But it is Richard Matheson's shorter piece that contains one of the funniest stories I've ever read. Seems that in the late forties The Fictioneers--the group of pulp writers that later became legend--got into some kind of argument with another group of writers. Bill Cox (William R. Cox) and Bill Gault (William Campbell Gault) decided to go punch it out with them. I knew both of them and that is certainly within the realm of possibility. Kuttner insisted on going along. They were skeptical.

Every photo I've ever seen of Kuttner shows him to have been a slim extremely well-dressed man. I get the impression he weighed very little and wasn't at all the fighting type. But nobody ever mentioned his attire until Matheson's piece. His first word is "Dapper." All this plays into the fact that he wouldn't take no for an answer. He insisted on going along for the fight. Did it ever come off? Was anybody hurt? How drunk were they when they arrived? The answers are lost to time. Or at least to fuzzy hangover memories. :)

This is a knock-out collection in every sense. And there is a second volume to come. Grab it now before it goes out of print.

by Henry Kuttner
is, uh, in the house!

click image for more info
Preface by
Richard Matheson
Introduction by
Dr. Garyn G. Roberts

The Graveyard Rats, Weird Tales Mar ’36
Bamboo Death, Thrilling Mystery Jun ’36
The Devil Rides, Thrilling Mystery Sep ’36
The Secret of Kralitz, Weird Tales Oct ’36
Power of the Snake, Thrilling Mystery Nov ’36
Coffins for Six, Thrilling Mystery Dec ’36
It Walks by Night, Weird Tales Dec ’36
Laughter of the Dead, Thrilling Mystery Dec ’36
The Eater of Souls, Weird Tales Jan ’37
Terror in the House, Thrilling Mystery Jan ’37
The Faceless Fiend, Thrilling Mystery Jan ’37
The Dweller in the Tomb, Thrilling Mystery Feb ’37
I, the Vampire, Weird Tales Feb ’37
Nightmare Woman, Thrilling Mystery Mar ’37
The Salem Horror, Weird Tales May ’37
My Brother, The Ghoul, Thrilling Mystery Jun ’37
I Am the Wolf, Thrilling Mystery Jul ’37
The Jest of Droom-Avista, Weird Tales Aug ’37
Four Frightful Men, Thrilling Mystery Sep ’37
When the Earth Lived, Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct ’37
Terror on the Stage, Thrilling Mystery Sep ’37
Lord of the Lions, Thrilling Mystery Nov ’37
The Bloodless Peril, Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec ’37
Invasion from the Fourth Dimension, Thrilling Mystery Jan ’38
Messer Orsini’s Hands, Spicy Mystery Jan ’38
Worlds' End, Weird Tales Feb '38
The Graveyard Curse, Spicy Mystery Mar ’38
The Unresting Dead, Thrilling Mystery Mar ’38
The Shadow on the Screen, Weird Tales Mar ’38
Hell’s Archangel, Spicy Mystery Apr ’38
My Name Is Death, Spicy Mystery May ’38
Devil’s Masquerade, Mystery Tales Jun ’38
The Dark Heritage, Marvel Science Stories Aug ’38
Dictator of the Americas, Marvel Science Stories Aug ’38
The Disinherited, Astounding Science Fiction Aug ’38
Hands Across the Void, Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec ’38
The Frog, Strange Stories Feb ’39
The Invaders, Strange Stories Feb ’39
The Bells of Horror, Strange Stories Apr ’39
Beyond Annihilation, Thrilling Wonder Stories Apr ’39


Anonymous said...

This has been on my To Get List since I heard about it a number of months ago. Very exciting to see it's finally out; I'll be placing my order next week.

Ron C.

Scott Cupp said...

My copy is already in the mail and I am awaiting it anxiously.

Matt Paust said...

Gives me the willies just reading the titles. I think some of these stories made it into the comic books when I was growing up in the '40s and '50s. They seem eerily familiar.

David Cranmer said...

Thanks for featuring this, Ed. I will grab a copy. Sharp cover.