Henry Kuttner was an author whose work I was introduced to at a very young age. I recall that the short stories from The Best of Henry Kuttner held my attention longer than any of my toys did at the time! I felt that a selection of these stories would be perfect for the launch of NetherWords, and I will give a brief synopsis of each one here:
“The Twonky” is the first story I recorded. Like many of Kuttner’s stories, it features a perfectly domestic 1940’s-era husband and wife, Kerry and Martha Westerfield. They have just purchased a brand-new state-of-the-art console radio. Martha remarks that it practically does everything but wash the dishes. However, when it starts to light Kerry’s cigarettes, things start to get interesting.
“A Gnome There Was” is the second in my Kuttner line-up. In this adventure, Tim Crocket, the entitled California son of a successful lawyer, decided to check up on labor conditions on the so-called “lower classes” in a mine in Pennsylvania. Only when he accidentally gets trapped in an abandoned shaft does he begin to see things … even though it’s pitch-black.
Finally, “Two-Handed Engine” takes us to 22nd-century Earth. Mankind has handed over the reigns of society to the iron grip of their former machine servants, in a last-ditch effort to save humanity. But Danner doesn’t want any part of it. He misses the golden years, where pleasure was handed out for free. So much so that he’s willing to risk the one crime left on the books: murder.