Two Handed Engine, by Kuttner & Moore


Orthodox Herbertarian

Kuttner & Moore's Two Handed Engine is one of the biggest draws in Greenberg and Olander's Criminal Justice Through Science Fiction, for sure. If this book were a shopping center, then this story would be Macy's or Bloomingdale's - that is to say, the big anchor store. Two Handed Engine is a post golden-age story with pulp leanings about a post apocalyptic society that had forgotten where it came from, and knew even less than we do about where it was going. Owing a debt of rough genesis to Milton,

But that two-handed engine at the door,

stands ready to smite once, and smite no more . . .

as well as Francis Thompson
Those strong feet that followed, followed after

with unhurrying chase, and unperpurbed pace,

deliberate speed, majestic instancy . . .

I shook the pillaring hours

And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,

I stand amid the dust of the mounded years -

My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.

this story is one of the best known tales by the couple that wrote it, which says quite a bit about its popularity. Kuttner and Moore, a married couple that produced reams of stories under a host of pseudonyms, contributed greatly to the body of quality SF work before Kuttner's rather early death, followed by Moore's retirement. ..Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..