Henry Kuttner's "What Hath Me" (novelette, adventure, free): Good & evil posthumans fight, using a man as tool
A cocktail of many much-hashed themes here, & while not entirely unreadable, I'll put it among the most meaningless pieces from Kuttner.
Story summary.1000 years ago, evolution speeded up for 7 humans - a step that magically transformed them into posthumans millions of years in advance of normal humanity. They became the source of Norse legends - "Aesir", & "John Starr and Lorna". We also see a related legend of "Asgard" "where the Aesir lived and ruled the worlds of Man".
Two of these posthumans are "good" - John Starr & Lorna, collectively called "Protectors". Other 5 are evil; they're Aesir - a species of their own. Aesir live on an artificial world in Asteroid belt called Asgard, & frequently take sacrifices - humans, Venusians, Martians, ... - apart from ultimately ruling these worlds via puppet native rulers.
Protectors have been trying to destroy Aesir through centuries, without success. Now using Derek Stuart as a tool, they'll succeed in their mission.
- E E "doc" Smith's "Lensman" series. Aesir & Protectors sounded a lot like Eddorians & Assyrians.
- Henry Kuttner's "The Creature from Beyond Infinity": Another story where evolution suddenly speeds up greatly for some people.
- Aesir "feed" on their victim's intangible "human warmth" - another trope that has been used in many stories. See, e.g., Eric Frank Russell's "Sinister Barrier", & C L Moore's "Shambleau" (download) & "Black Thirst" (in the last one, the evil aliens "eat" the "beauty" of victim girls!)
- We meet some of the agents of Aesir, as well sometimes Aesir themselves, where their manifestation is as a luminosity or "star lights" - a not uncommon rendition for advanced aliens in fiction. One of the most famous story of this kind is Abraham Merritt's "The Moon Pool" (download); less well known are Eric Frank Russell's "Hobbyist" & Kono Tensei's "Hikari" (included in this collection).
Fact sheet.First published: Planet Stories, Spring 1946.
Download full text from Internet Archive or this unnamed site.
Related: Stories of Henry Kuttner.