Thursday, December 15, 2016

January's Puppy of the Month: Shambleau, by Catherine "C. L." Moore

As part of the six stories in this short story anthology, a roguish smuggler saves a mysterious girl from a lynch mob on Mars and a defeated warrior queen is driven by hatred to descend into Hell to find the one weapon able to defeat her captor. When Weird Tales published these two stories in 1933 and 1934, they announced the arrival of Catherine "C. L." Moore to the genres of planetary romance and sword and sorcery.

In Issue #2 of Cirsova, Kristine Kathryn Rusch called C. L. Moore "perhaps the most influential woman to write science fiction and fantasy in the early period." Moore corresponded with R. E. Howard of Conan fame, married and co-wrote seamlessly with Henry Kuttner, and influenced a generation of writers that included Ray Bradbury, previous Puppy pick Roger Zelazney, and Leigh Brackett. That list features three Appendix N authors and two of science fiction's all time masters.

But what really matters is her stories. And these come recommended by fans such as Daddy Warpig, Puppy writers like John C. Wright, and Puppy critics including Jeffro Johnson. Johnson has even written in Cirsova #3 that "C. L. Moore wrote some of the best science fiction and fantasy ever penned." Han Solo and Malcom Reynolds owe much to Moore's roguish Northwest Smith, and Jirel of Joiry is not only one of the few heroines of the sword and sorcery genre, she is also among the best heroes of the same. Fans of adventure, noir romance, and exotic settings will find much in Moore's stories to enjoy, while her mastery of mood is something to savor.

It is a pleasure to announce Shambleau by C. L. Moore as the January Puppy of the Month.  As always, readers are invited to read the book and comment, or write your own post if you feel adventurous or have something to say!


From the Publisher: 

"Shambleau": Passing through the streets of Lakkdarol, the newest human colony on Mars, Northwest Smith witnesses a bizarre sight: a young woman, clad in scarlet, being chased by a mob chanting “Shambleau! Shambleau!” As beautiful as she is frightened, Northwest shields her from death at the hands of the mob, but alone in his quarters, she reveals how she intends to thank him and what lies inside the closely wrapped turban on her head... 

"Black God's Kiss": With her red hair flowing, her yellow eyes glinting like embers, and her face streaked with blood, Jirel is strong, fearless, and driven by honor. Her legendary debut begins as her castle, Joiry, is overrun by invaders, but knowing that this is one battle she cannot fight, she summons her courage and cunning and descends into the castle’s hidden reaches, where she crosses through a doorway into Hell itself… 


Shambleau can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


  1. I was really blown away by Shambleau--the story itself--when I read Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Women of Futures Past anthology.

    1. So was I when I first read it. Absolutely amazing, as an adventure and a romance.