Saturday, September 17, 2005

Mother Hutton's Littul Kittons

Over the course of your life you read stories in comics and books, watch movies at a movie theater or on TV, and for the most part they entertain and go on their way, but now and again for no obvious reason one of them sticks forever in your mind.

One of the authors I discovered at an impressionable age was Cordwainer Smith. He didn't write a whole lot, and all his science fiction works can be found in two volumes of short stories and one novel, but he had such style. He seemed to be in love with language itself, and his words are poetic and evocative, weaving subtext and symbolism and hinting at so much more while telling hard science fiction stories with titles like The Colonel Came Back from Nothing At All, Scanners Live In Vain, The Game of Rat and Dragon, The Dead Lady of Clown Town, and The Lady Who Sailed the Soul.

These stories give glimpses of a history stretching far into the future, where the Go Captains and their starships are protected from the dragons of space by pinlighters and their cats, where the galaxy is ruled by the benign dictatorship of the near immortal Lords of the Instrumentality, defended by the mythical golden ships larger than moons, and served by the underpeople - animals genetically altered to a human form (including, yes, catgirls), and where the secret of immortality can only be found on the planet of Nostrilia, where giant sheep are farmed for a sickness that produces Stroon, the immortality drug.

But when you produce the most valuable commodity in the galaxy, you need the best security system in the galaxy. Nostrillia has Mother Hutton's Littul Kittons, and for one reason or another the phrase has stuck with me ever since I first read about them.

And no, I can't tell you what Mother Hutton's Littul Kittons are or I'd have to kill you.

Or worse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Scanners live in vain? (I read that in the context of comics. :)