“When the Bough Breaks,” Lewis Padgett, 1944

“When the Bough Breaks,” Lewis Padgett (Kuttner and Moore), 1944 – Strange beings arrive to declare a young couple’s baby their future genius-king, the next stage in human development.  They report that the king has tasked them with traveling in time to his infancy in order to speed up the development of his powers.  At first the couple permits the contemptuous and intrusive nursemaids; soon, they are given no choice.  As their child becomes more aware of its powers, having no bond with other humans or no moral sense, it begins to toy with its parents.  Eventually, the parents attempt to kill their child.

Comments: A horror story relying on the “alienness” and brutality of (unsocialized) children.  This is a theme that appeared more than once in the Kuttners’ writings, as well as in the works of Kuttner’s student, Ray Bradbury (see “Zero Hour”).  A possible analogy for the fear of power in immature hands.  Also, a time travel story in which past events may be changed slightly, as all events tend toward a norm.

Author: Wikipedia: “Lewis Padgett was the joint pseudonym of the science fiction authors and spouses Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, taken from their mothers’ maiden names. They also used the pseudonyms Lawrence O’Donnell and C. H. Liddell, as well as collaborating under their own names.”


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1940-1945, evolution, favorites, generational conflict, horror, intelligence, love/family/children, superhumans, time/history/causality, violence. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “When the Bough Breaks,” Lewis Padgett, 1944

  1. Pingback: “Zero Hour,” Ray Bradbury, 1947 | jennre

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