Moore, C.L.-Photo

C. L. Moore joins her sister in history Mary Shelley as a women who practically invented something that is now regarded as a boys only club. Enter the Space Western; FireFly fans rejoice.

C. L. Moore was born Catherine Lucille Moore on January 24th, 1911. She suffered from chronic illnesses as a child and spent much of her early years confined to bed with only books to keep her company. She regained her health as a young adult, and left to find employment during the Great Depression. She started writing short stories around 1935, which began to earn her acclaim; and money. Her writings focused on emotional aspects, which was unusual at the time. She’d created the character of NorthWest Smith (see, maybe Kim wasn’t trying to be original?) a space cowboy with a space-tanned complexion. Though an anti hero in the business of smuggling, he often puts others safety before his (*Cough* Malcolm Reynolds *Cough*) She would continue to use NorthWest as a protagonist in later works.

Her work received praise from all, including H. P. Lovecraft. She caught the eye of fellow writer Henry Kuttner. He wrote to her as a fan and, because she presented her first two names with initials, he was unaware she was a women. When he found out the truth, he didn’t seem to care much. They were married, and their work became homogenous. They would quite literally, finish each other’s sentences on a typewriter. They were one, according to all who met them. After his death, Moore abandoned NorthWest and scifi.

Maybe the spark that fueled her space westerns left her when her husband did. Maybe she was just sick of NorthWest and his adventures. Whatever the reason, she continued to be acclaimed until her death, and without her, scifi would be severely lacking on subgenera that has shaped lives and imaginations.

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