Kicking Down The Door

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

That more people don't know the name C. L. Moore is one of the biggest tragedies in science fiction and fantasy. This October, Planet Stories plans to do everything we can to change that.

First published in Weird Tales in 1934, Catherine Lucille Moore was writing science fiction and fantasy in a time where female authors were rare across the board, and practically unheard of in genre fiction. Abbreviating her name to hide her gender, Moore quickly rose through the ranks of the pulp authors, publishing alongside contemporaries like Robert E. Howard and even earning praise from H. P. Lovecraft himself. (So successful was her disguise, in fact, that she first met fellow SF author Henry Kuttner when he wrote her a fan letter believing her to be a man. The two were married a few years later, and went on to collaborate extensively.) What's more, she continued to excel once her gender became known, and in doing so paved the way for countless female fantasy and science fiction authors to come.

In Black God's Kiss, we've collected all six Jirel of Joiry stories, in which Moore introduced the world to the first-ever female fantasy protagonist. Where the pulp stories around her were filled with distressed damsels and helpless shrinking violets in need of rescue, Jirel burst onto the scene larger than life. Sword swinging, teeth ready to tear out the throats of her enemies, Jirel ruled her domain in Moore's medieval France analogue with an iron fist, holding it against all comers through the strength of her blade. Moore's moody, illustrative prose was equally anomalous for the time period, and from the hellish landscape beneath Jirel's castle to the fields of alien ghouls in "Quest of the Starstone," Moore's boundless imagination continues to inspire fans and authors to this day.

As noted SF author Suzy McKee Charnas points out in the introduction, C. L. Moore and Jirel of Joiry didn't just open the door for women in science fiction and fantasy—they kicked it down. Male or female, Black God's Kiss is a must-have for any serious fantasy enthusiast.

Come read the stories that started a revolution. You won't be disappointed.

James Sutter
Editor, Planet Stories

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Tags: Black God's Kiss C. L. Moore Henry Kuttner Jirel of Joiry Planet Stories
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