Ro, Ro, Ro the ‘Bots, Gently Down the Stream…

I took last week off, for sheer laziness patriotic reasons, but my Blog Gate post for this week is at last up. It’s about Planet Stories reissue of Henry Kuttner’s Robots Have No Tails, but you probably vastened that already.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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6 Responses to Ro, Ro, Ro the ‘Bots, Gently Down the Stream…

  1. For some reason, I laughed when I read this:

    “Candidly, I was at a loss for a subject”

    I find that difficult to imagine 😉

    Anyway, as someone who has never read a word of Kuttner (before my time, you might say) I greatly enjoyed the post and will strongly consider reading some of the man’s fictions.

    • JE says:

      Glad you liked the post. The Gallagher stories are good reads, but The Dark World or The Best of Henry Kuttner (in print these days as “The Last Mimzy and Other Stories”) might give you a better sense of his range.

  2. le_trombone says:
    1. I keep hearing about the delicacy of Lancer books, but my copy of Robots Have No Tails is still quite sturdy, as is my copy of Iceworld.
    2. Are the stories in the correct order this time? “Timelocker” kept getting put in last, because the final line is a great closing line in general. But the story seems likely to be the first one in publication order.
    3. The cover… okay. I suppose it does its job. But nothing compares to the art deco greatness of the Lancer edition cover.
    • JE says:

      1. I guess this is the luck of the draw. My Lancer copy has lived a very coddled life, but its browning pages fall like rain whenever I pick it up.

      2. Yes, they’re in order of publication. I think James Blish speculates that “The Proud Robot” was put first in the Gnome collection to justify the title (which he wasn’t crazy about, if I remember right).

      3. This may just be a beyond-argument matter of taste, or our Lancers may have different covers. Mine is the same as this image (which I copped off Amazon). I don’t think it’s terrible but it probably wouldn’t have persuaded me to pick up the book if Kuttner’s name weren’t on it.

      • le_trombone says:

        Heh. My Lancer copy came from a vending machine in Canada.

        Yep, that’s the awesome cover I was referring to. A robot (with gears!) looking at itself in the mirror, with art deco diamond decoration. How can you resist?

        (In fact, Joe’s description is pretty much a perfect match for the cover. This is something that needs to be encouraged.)

        • JE says:

          Well, the robot is pretty clearly Joe-inspired, anyway. But Joe is described as walking (not rolling on wheels) and clearly (so to speak) was transparent all over, not just in his head. (Gallagher speaks of his “transparent hull” and “transparent hide”.)

          But that doesn’t bother me: the robot on the new cover is even less Joe-y. Really it’s the colors in the Lancer cover that I’m not crazy about: chilly and pastel. The hotter, more vivid colors in the Planet Stories edition appeal to me more. De gustibus, I guess.

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