The Many Names of Catherine Lucille Moore


Women are vastly underrepresented in science fiction circles, especially back in the pulp days. While many point to Mary Shelley, her role is a real influence, but still removed from the modern science fiction market. As we move further up in time, the pulp era saw the first professional female authors who would continually shake up the genre. Catherine Lucille Moore was one of the earlier authors to have been writing, with her first stories published in the early 1930s.

Researching C.L. Moore was an a frustrating, but rewarding endeavor. Up until now, I’ve put together a fairly good go-to list of books for background information on my subjects, which generally requires some additional research by combing through author or book specific texts. In this instance, C.L. Moore is largely ignored by most SF History scholars. When mentioned, it’s often in the context of being married to her husband, Henry Kuttner, who’s generally considered a lesser author. There is no formal biography, and the information that I found for this piece was spread out among a number of sources – a bit of information here, a bit there, and so forth.

More research was – and is – needed. Contacting Indiana University’s archives, I found the existence of three previously unknown stories, and other online searches found a considerable amount of anecdotal information on Moore and her works.

Read up on The Many Names of Catherine Lucille Moore over on Kirkus Reviews.

Here’s the sources that I used:

The Bulletin, Fall 2012, SFWA: This feature in the SFWA bulletin has some good background information on Moore’s career, in a discussion between Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg, two admirers of Moore’s.

Moore, C L, SF Encyclopedia: This entry on Moore has a good look at her publication history and a good discussion about her work with her husband, Henry Kuttner (His entry provided some good background information on him).

Doomsday Morning, C.L. Moore: While writing this piece, I happened upon a used copy of this book, which provided a nice author biography, which brought out a couple of neat details: that she liked writing with a view.

Seekers of Tomorrow: Masters of Modern Science Fiction, Sam Moskowitz: Moskowitz’s history is one that I continue to take with a grain of salt, due to anecdotal evidence that he never disclosed his sources, and a lot seems to be based on second-hand stories. Nonetheless, he devotes an entire chapter to Moore and her life, providing some biographical notes in context with her work.

Catherine Lucille Moore & Henry Kuttner: A Marriage of Souls and Talent: A Working bibliography: When I got this from interlibrary loan, I thought that this volume would have more of a biographical component, but all that it contains is a fairly comprehensive listing of Moore and Kuttner’s works. It did, however, yield some good information about the publication dates of some stories, as well as a listing for her Gandalf Award, which I didn’t know about (none of the other sources that I came across had this information).

Indiana University: I’m particularly indebted to Assistant Archivist Carrie Schwier and intern Cynthia Lynn, at Indiana University’s archives, who was able to help me locate some early stories that Moore published, as well as some other archival information.

Many thanks are owed to Mike Resnick, who provided some great memories of Moore, and some good background information on her life.

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