Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Henry Kuttner's "Beauty and the Beast" (short story, irony, free): Appearance can be deceptive. And dangerous when coupled with prejudice.

Quote from the short story titled Beauty and the Beast by Henry KuttnerTelling style is very pulp-era, but I liked the story as a whole. And there is a distinct similarity with some parts of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".

Story summary.

An ordinary farmer has come into possession of a hibernating alien & some seeds of pretty flowers the first human explorer to Venus (who returned dead) brought back. Farmer brought the alien to life & planted the seeds.

Pretty flowers that resulted were very popular & easy to grow, & their cultivation spread throughout earth.

The alien who emerged was actually of the now extinct Venusian dominant race. Huge dinosaur sized reptilian ("Beast" to humans), very intelligent & full of gratitude for humanity. Communicating with humans, however, is tricky because of their prejudices about his appearance, but the warning he must give them is urgent...

Very Kuttnerian ending.

Fact sheet.

First published: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Fall 1940.
Download full text.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of Henry Kuttner; Tuesday Classics.