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C. L. Moore

American author
Nothing I have ever written was given the slightest deliberation. It was there in the typewriter and it came out, a total bypassing of the brain.

Catherine Lucille Moore (24 January 19114 April 1987) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, usually credited as C. L. Moore. She was one of the first women to write in the genre. After marrying fellow writer Henry Kuttner she worked on many stories in close collaboration him, most often using the joint pseudonym "Lewis Padgett." In 2007 their most famous collaboration "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" was adapted into a film The Last Mimzy.

QuotesEdit

 
She had gone this path once before and once only, and never thought to find any necessity in life strong enough to drive her down again. The way was the strangest she had ever known.
 
She felt intuitively that the bend and slant of the way she went were somehow outside any other angles or bends she had ever known.
 
All about her, as suddenly as the awakening from a dream, the nothingness had opened out into undreamed-of distances.
  • Nothing I have ever written was given the slightest deliberation. It was there in the typewriter and it came out, a total bypassing of the brain.
    • In a 1980 interview with Jean W. Ross, published in Contemporary Authors Vol. 104 (1982)

Short fictionEdit

Northwest of Earth (1954)Edit

Collection reprinted numerous times under different names. Page numbers here are from the mass market edition Northwest Smith, published by Ace; ISBN 0-441-58613-9 first printing, October 1982
All ellipses as in the book
See C. L. Moore's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • She was unbinding her turban...
    He watched, not breathing, a presentiment of something horrible stirring in his brain, inexplicably...The red folds loosened, and—he knew then that he had not dreamed—again a scarlet lock swung down against her cheek...a hair, was it? A lock of hair?... thick as a thick worm it fell, plumply, against that smooth cheek...more scarlet than blood and thick as a crawling worm...and like a worm it crawled.
    • Shambleau (1933); p. 19
  • Death in your eyes, Earthman. Nothing in your mind but murder. Can that brain of yours comprehend nothing but battle? Is there no curiosity there? Have you no wonder of why I brought you here? Death awaits you, yes. But a not unpleasant death, and it awaits all, in one form or another. Listen, let me tell you—I have reason for desiring to break through that animal shell of self-defense that seals in your mind. Let me look deeper—if there are depths. Your death will be—useful, and in a way, pleasant. Otherwise—well, the black beasts hunger. And flesh must feed them, as a sweeter drink feeds me...Listen.
    • Black Thirst (1934); p. 63
  • Beauty is as tangible as blood, in a way. It is a separate, distinct force that inhabits the bodies of men and women. You must have noticed the vacuity that accompanies perfect beauty in so many women...the force so strong that it drives out all other forces and lives vampirishly at the expense of intelligence and goodness and conscience and all else.
    • Black Thirst (1934); p. 64
  • The stone walls were incised with those inevitable, mysterious symbols which have become nothing more than queer designs now, though a million years ago they bore deep significance.
    • The Cold Gray God (1935), p. 235

Jirel of Joiry (1969)Edit

Collection reprinted numerous times under different names, usually Jirel of Joiry for the paperback editions and The Black God's Kiss for the hardcover editions. Page numbers here are from the mass market edition Jirel of Joiry, published by Ace; ISBN 0-441-38570-2 first printing, November 1982
See C. L. Moore's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
 
She was a little stunned by finding open sky so far underground, though she was intelligent enough to realize that however she had come, she was not underground now.
  • Now she took the sword back into her hand and knelt on the rim of the invisible blackness below. She had gone this path once before and once only, and never thought to find any necessity in life strong enough to drive her down again. The way was the strangest she had ever known. There was, she thought, no such passage in all the world save here. It had not been built for human feet to travel. It had not been built for feet at all. It was a narrow, polished shaft that cork-screwed round and round. A snake might have slipped in it and gone shooting down, round and round in dizzy circles—but no snake on earth was big enough to fill that shaft. No human travelers had worn the sides of the spiral so smooth, and she did not care to speculate on what creatures had polished it so, through what ages of passage.
    • Black God's Kiss (1934); pp. 9-10
  • It was a long way down. Before she had gone very far the curious dizziness she had known before came over her again, a dizziness not entirely induced by the spirals she whirled around, but a deeper, atomic unsteadiness as if not only she but also the substances around her were shifting. There was something queer about the angles of those curves. She was no scholar in geometry or aught else, but she felt intuitively that the bend and slant of the way she went were somehow outside any other angles or bends she had ever known. They led into the unknown and the dark, but it seemed to her obscurely that they led into deeper darkness and mystery than the merely physical, as if, though she could not put it clearly even into thoughts, the peculiar and exact lines of the tunnel had been carefully angled to lead through poly-dimensional space as well as through the underground—perhaps through time, too.
    • Black God's Kiss (1934); pp. 10-11
  • All about her, as suddenly as the awakening from a dream, the nothingness had opened out into undreamed-of distances. She stood high on a hilltop under a sky spangled with strange stars. Below she caught glimpses of misty plains and valleys with mountain peaks rising far away. And at her feet a ravening circle of small, slavering, blind things leaped with clashing teeth.
    • Black God's Kiss (1934); p. 15
  • She half expected, despite her brave words, to come out upon the storied and familiar red-hot pave of hell, and this pleasant, starlit land surprised her and made her wary. The things that built the tunnel could not have been human. She had no right to expect men here. She was a little stunned by finding open sky so far underground, though she was intelligent enough to realize that however she had come, she was not underground now. No cavity in the earth could contain this starry sky.
    • Black God's Kiss (1934); p. 16
  • And not until then did she remember how fatal it is said to be to accept a gift from a demon. Buy, or earn it, but never accept the gift.
    • Black God's Kiss (1934); p. 23
  • She turned her face up to the strange stars and wondered in what direction her course lay. The sky looked blankly down upon her with its myriad meaningless eyes.
    • Black God's Kiss (1934); p. 23
  • Only fools offend me, woman, and they but once.
    • Jirel Meets Magic (1935); p. 94

Quotes about MooreEdit

  • Catherine Leigh Moore shattered the masculine barriers of fantasy and science fiction when she started publishing her remarkable short stories in Weird Tales in the 1930s. Her character Jirel, the ruler of the fiefdom of Joiry in medieval France, was the first female Sword-and-Sorcery hero. And, considering how much competition she faces today from the warrior women who have followed the path she blazed, she remains one of the best.

External linksEdit