Vintage Season

For the term in wine-making, see Vintage.

"Vintage Season" is a science fiction novella by American authors Catherine L. Moore and Henry Kuttner, published under the joint pseudonym "Lawrence O'Donnell" on September, 1946. It has been anthologized many times and was selected for The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 2A.[1]

Vintage Season
AuthorC. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner (as "Lawrence O'Donnell")
CountryUnited States
GenreNovella, Science fiction
PublisherAstounding Science Fiction
Publication date
September, 1946
Media typePrint (Periodical, Anthologies)


This story is often said to be Moore's[2][3] or "almost entirely" hers,[4] but scholars are not certain of how much Kuttner was involved[2] and at least one gives him some credit.[5]


The story is set in an unnamed American city at about the time of publication. There are several mentions of how beautiful the weather is.

Oliver Wilson is renting an old mansion to three vacationers for the month of May. He wants to get rid of them so he can sell the house to someone who has offered him three times its value, provided the buyer can move in during May. His fiancée, Sue, insists that he arrange for them to leave, so that he can sell the house, giving them enough money for their impending marriage.

The tenants are a man, Omerie Sancisco, and two women, Klia and Kleph Sancisco. They fascinate Oliver with the perfection of their appearance and manners, their strange connoisseur's attitude to everything, and their secretiveness about their origin and about their insistence on that house at that time. Oliver's half-hearted attempts to evict them founder when he becomes attracted to Kleph. The mystery deepens with remarks she lets slip, with the unspectacular but advanced technology of things she has in her room—including a recorded "symphonia" that engages all the senses with imagery of historical disasters—and with the appearance of the would-be buyers, a couple from the same country, who plant a "subsonic" in the house intended to drive the residents out.

Hearing Kleph sing "Come hider, love, to me" from the Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Oliver realizes that she and her friends are time travelers from the future. He traps Kleph into admitting they are visiting the most perfect seasons in history, such as a fall in the late 14th century in Canterbury.[6] Oliver happens to see a healed scar on her arm, which she hastens to cover and admits with obvious shame that it is an inoculation; the reason for her shame would become clear only at the end.

At the end of May, more time travelers visit the house. A meteorite lands nearby, destroying buildings and starting fires—the "spectacle" that the time travelers wanted to end their visit with. Oliver's house survives, as the visitors had already known it would.

The time travelers leave for the coronation of Charlemagne in 800, except Cenbe, the genius who composed the symphonia Oliver had experienced. In conversation with Oliver, Cenbe admits that the time travelers could prevent the disasters they savor but do not do so because changing history would keep their culture from coming to be. Oliver goes to his room, feeling ill.

In a short scene set in the future, the final version of Cenbe's symphonia is performed, including a powerful image of what is apparently Oliver's face in the "emotional crisis" induced by his conversation with Cenbe.

Oliver writes down a warning about the time travelers, which he hopes will change history. However, he dies of a new plague, apparently brought to Earth by the meteor. The house and the unread message are destroyed in a futile effort at quarantine.

What would become known as "The Blue Death" enters history as a disastrous event comparable with the Black Death of the Middle Ages, both being part of Cenbe's symphonia (as well as the Great Plague of London). Eventually humanity manages to develop a cure and inoculation against it, which would in future be given to time-travelers returning to this period - but that would come far too late for Oliver Wilson and countless others.


Readers immediately acclaimed the story.[3][7] It has been called "great",[8] "perhaps the ultimate expression of Catherine L. Moore's art",[3] "her masterpiece",[5][9] "hauntingly memorable",[4] "classic"[10] and "one of the most brilliant stories in modern science fiction."[7] One reviewer praised its "carefully controlled suspense".[5]

Derivative works

Robert Silverberg wrote a story about the aftermath, "In Another Country",[11] which was published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in 1989 and reprinted with "Vintage Season" as a Tor Double in 1990.[12] Silverberg also took up the theme of time-travel used for tourism in his novel "Up the Line".

The 1992 American film Timescape, also titled Grand Tour: Disaster in Time, was loosely based on "Vintage Season".[13] - though with a Happy ending substituted for the somber conclusion of Moore's original.


  1. ^ "Bibliography: Vintage Season". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  2. ^ a b Asimov, Isaac (1984). Isaac Asimov Presents the Golden Years of Science Fiction: Fourth Series : 26 Stories and Novellas. Random House Value Publishing. p. 548.
  3. ^ a b c Gunn, James (1984). "Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Lewis Padgett, et al.". In Clareson, Thomas D. Voices for the Future: Essays on Major Science Fiction Writers. Bowling Green State University Popular Press. p. 206. ISBN 0-87972-120-0. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  4. ^ a b Knight, Damon (1956). "Genius to Order: Kuttner and Moore". In Search of Wonder: Essays on Modern Science Fiction. Advent. p. 98.
  5. ^ a b c Magill, Frank N. (1979). Survey of Science Fiction Literature. Salem Press. p. 176. ISBN 0-89356-194-0.
  6. ^ Hider is Chaucer's spelling of hither.
  7. ^ a b Moskowitz, Sam (1966). Seekers of Tomorrow. World Publishing Co. p. 316.
  8. ^ Gunn, Voices, p. 208
  9. ^ Stover, Leon E. (2002). Science Fiction from Wells to Heinlein. McFarland. p. 107. ISBN 0-7864-1219-4.
  10. ^ Del Rey, Lester (1980). The World of Science Fiction, 1926-1976: The History of a Subculture. Garland. p. 110. ISBN 0-8240-1446-4.
  11. ^ Pederson, Jay P. (1996). St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers (Fourth ed.). St. James Press. p. 854. ISBN 1-55862-179-2.
  12. ^ "Bibliography: In Another Country". Internet Science Fiction Database. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  13. ^ "Timescape (1992)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-01-13.

External links

A Treasury of Science Fiction

A Treasury of Science Fiction is an American anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Groff Conklin. It was first published in hardcover by Crown Publishers in 1948, and reprinted in March 1951. A later edition was issued by Bonanza Books/Crown Publishers in March 1980. An abridged paperback version including eight of its thirty stories was published by Berkley Books in July 1957 and reprinted in January 1958 and January 1965.The book and Adventures in Time and Space were among the only science fiction hardcovers from large, mainstream publishers before about 1950. It collects thirty novellas, novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors, together with an introduction by the editor. The stories were previously published from 1929-1947 in various science fiction and other magazines. Conklin did not know how to contact Martin Pearson, and used an advertisement in Astounding Science Fiction to find him to pay the royalty.


Abrusco is a red Italian wine grape variety grown primarily in the Tuscany region where it is a minor blending component permitted in the wines of Chianti. The grape has long history in the region and was mentioned in 1600, under its synonyms Abrostino and Colore, in the posthumously published work by Italian agronomist Giovan Vettorio Soderini Trattato della coltivazione delle viti, e del frutto che se ne può cavare. There Soderini notes that the grape was often used to add deeper, more red color to Tuscan wines.The variety is considered quite rare and is close to extinction with only 6 hectares (15 acres) of the grape variety reported in the 2000 Italian census. The Tuscan producer Le Tre Stelle has worked to keep the variety still viable, producing a limited production Indicazione geografica tipica (IGT) wine made of 100% Abrusco from 20 vines that were discovered growing among other varieties in an old vineyard owned by the winery. Another Tuscan producer Ferlaino is also working with the centre of research and development for Tuscany to produce wines of 100% Abrusco from 0.2 hectares of land on their estate in Cetona, Siena.

Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Analog Science Fiction and Fact is an American science-fiction magazine published under various titles since 1930. Originally titled Astounding Stories of Super-Science, the first issue was dated January 1930, published by William Clayton, and edited by Harry Bates. Clayton went bankrupt in 1933 and the magazine was sold to Street & Smith. The new editor was F. Orlin Tremaine, who soon made Astounding the leading magazine in the nascent pulp science fiction field, publishing well-regarded stories such as Jack Williamson's Legion of Space and John W. Campbell's "Twilight". At the end of 1937, Campbell took over editorial duties under Tremaine's supervision, and the following year Tremaine was let go, giving Campbell more independence. Over the next few years Campbell published many stories that became classics in the field, including Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, A.E. van Vogt's Slan, and several novels and stories by Robert A. Heinlein. The period beginning with Campbell's editorship is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction.

By 1950, new competition had appeared from Galaxy Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Campbell's interest in some pseudo-science topics, such as dianetics (an early version of scientology), alienated some of his regular writers, and Astounding was no longer regarded as the leader of the field, though it did continue to publish popular and influential stories: Hal Clement's novel Mission of Gravity appeared in 1953, and Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" appeared the following year. In 1960, Campbell changed the title of the magazine to Analog Science Fiction & Fact; he had long wanted to get rid of the word "Astounding" in the title, which he felt was too sensational. At about the same time Street & Smith sold the magazine to Condé Nast. Campbell remained as editor until his death in 1971.

Ben Bova took over from 1972 to 1978, and the character of the magazine changed noticeably, since Bova was willing to publish fiction that included sexual content and profanity. Bova published stories such as Frederik Pohl's "The Gold at the Starbow's End", which was nominated for both a Hugo and Nebula Award, and Joe Haldeman's "Hero", the first story in the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning "Forever War" sequence; Pohl had been unable to sell to Campbell, and "Hero" had been rejected by Campbell as unsuitable for the magazine. Bova won five consecutive Hugo Awards for his editing of Analog.

Bova was followed by Stanley Schmidt, who continued to publish many of the same authors who had been contributing for years; the result was some criticism of the magazine as stagnant and dull, though Schmidt was initially successful in maintaining circulation. The title was sold to Davis Publications in 1980, then to Dell Magazines in 1992. Crosstown Publications acquired Dell in 1996 and remains the publisher. Schmidt continued to edit the magazine until 2012, when he was replaced by Trevor Quachri.

Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley is a valley in South Australia located 60 kilometres (37 mi) northeast of Adelaide city centre. The valley is formed by the North Para River. The Barossa Valley Way is the main road through the valley, connecting the main towns on the valley floor of Nuriootpa, Tanunda, Rowland Flat and Lyndoch. The Barossa Valley is notable as a major wine-producing region and tourist destination.

C. L. Moore

Catherine Lucille Moore (January 24, 1911 – April 4, 1987) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, who first came to prominence in the 1930s writing as C. L. Moore. She was among the first women to write in the science fiction and fantasy genres, though earlier woman writers in these genres include Clare Winger Harris, Greye La Spina, and Francis Stevens, amongst others. Nevertheless, Moore's work paved the way for many other female speculative fiction writers.

Moore married her first husband Henry Kuttner in 1940, and most of her work from 1940-1958 (Kuttner's death) was written by the couple collaboratively. They were prolific co-authors under their own names, although more often under any one of several pseudonyms.

As "Catherine Kuttner", she had a brief career as a television scriptwriter from 1958 to 1962. She retired from writing in 1963.

City of Griffith

The City of Griffith is a local government area in Riverina region of south-western New South Wales, Australia. The area comprises 1,640 square kilometres (630 sq mi) and is located in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and on Kidman Way.

The Mayor of the City of Griffith Council is Clr. John Dal Broi, an unaligned politician.

Henry Kuttner

Henry Kuttner (April 7, 1915 – February 3, 1958) was an American author of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines to 1950

Science fiction and fantasy magazines began to be published in the United States in the 1920s. Stories with science fiction themes had been appearing for decades in pulp magazines such as Argosy, but there were no magazines that specialized in a single genre until 1915, when Street & Smith, one of the major pulp publishers, brought out Detective Story Magazine. The first magazine to focus solely on fantasy and horror was Weird Tales, which was launched in 1923, and established itself as the leading weird fiction magazine over the next two decades; writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard became regular contributors. In 1926 Weird Tales was joined by Amazing Stories, published by Hugo Gernsback; Amazing printed only science fiction, and no fantasy. Gernsback included a letter column in Amazing Stories, and this led to the creation of organized science fiction fandom, as fans contacted each other using the addresses published with the letters. Gernsback wanted the fiction he printed to be scientifically accurate, and educational, as well as entertaining, but found it difficult to obtain stories that met his goals; he printed "The Moon Pool" by Abraham Merritt in 1927, despite it being completely unscientific. Gernsback lost control of Amazing Stories in 1929, but quickly started several new magazines. Wonder Stories, one of Gernsback's titles, was edited by David Lasser, who worked to improve the quality of the fiction he received. Another early competitor was Astounding Stories of Super-Science, which appeared in 1930, edited by Harry Bates, but Bates printed only the most basic adventure stories with minimal scientific content, and little of the material from his era is now remembered.

In 1933 Astounding was acquired by Street & Smith, and it soon became the leading magazine in the new genre, publishing early classics such as Murray Leinster's "Sidewise in Time" in 1934. A couple of competitors to Weird Tales for fantasy and weird fiction appeared, but none lasted, and the 1930s is regarded as Weird Tales' heyday. Between 1939 and 1941 there was a boom in science fiction and fantasy magazines: several publishers entered the field, including Standard Magazines, with Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories (a retitling of Wonder Stories); Popular Publications, with Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories; and Fiction House, with Planet Stories, which focused on melodramatic tales of interplanetary adventure. Ziff-Davis launched Fantastic Adventures, a fantasy companion to Amazing. Astounding extended its pre-eminence in the field during the boom: the editor, John W. Campbell, developed a stable of young writers that included Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and A.E. van Vogt. The period starting in 1938, when Campbell took control of Astounding, is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Well-known stories from this era include Slan, by van Vogt, and "Nightfall", by Asimov. Campbell also launched Unknown, a fantasy companion to Astounding, in 1939; this was the first serious competitor for Weird Tales. Although wartime paper shortages forced Unknown's cancellation in 1943, it is now regarded as one of the most influential pulp magazines.

Only eight science fiction and fantasy magazines survived World War II. All were still in pulp magazine format except for Astounding, which had switched to a digest format in 1943. Astounding continued to publish popular stories, including "Vintage Season" by C. L. Moore, and "With Folded Hands ..." by Jack Williamson. The quality of the fiction in the other magazines improved over the decade: Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder in particular published some excellent material and challenged Astounding for the leadership of the field. A few more pulps were launched in the late 1940s, but almost all were intended as vehicles to reprint old classics. One exception, Out of This World Adventures, was an experiment by Avon, combining fiction with some pages of comics. It was a failure and lasted only two issues. Magazines in digest format began to appear towards the end of the decade, including Other Worlds, edited by Raymond Palmer. In 1949, the first issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction appeared, followed in October 1950 by the first issue of Galaxy Science Fiction; both were digests, and between them soon dominated the field. Very few science fiction or fantasy pulps were launched after this date; the 1950s was the beginning of the era of digest magazines, though the leading pulps continued until the mid-1950s, and authors began selling to mainstream magazines and large book publishers.

Hunter Valley wine

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia's best known wine regions. Located in the state of New South Wales, the region has played a pivotal role in the history of Australian wine as one of the first wine regions planted in the early 19th century. Hunter Valley Semillon is widely considered the iconic wine of the region but the Hunter produces wine from a variety of grapes including Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Verdelho.Under Australia's wine appellation system, the Hunter Valley zone Australian Geographical Indication (GI) covers the entire catchment of the Hunter River and its tributaries. Within that, the Hunter region is almost as large, and includes most of the wine-producing areas, excluding the metropolitan area of Newcastle and nearby coastal areas, some national parks, and any land that was in the Mudgee Shire (at the western heights of the catchment). There are three named subregions in the Hunter region. These are the Upper Hunter Valley, Broke Fordwich and Pokolbin subregions. The Lower Hunter Valley is not strictly defined, but in general includes the Pokolbin subregion, along with the districts around Wollombi, Mount View, Cessnock and Lovedale. Much of the history of Hunter was played out in this area and it is generally what is referred as the Hunter Valley wine country.The majority of the Hunter Valley's most prestigious vineyards are located on the southern valley and foothills of the Brokenback Range (part of the Great Dividing Range). The topography of the Hunter includes mostly gently sloping hills with modest gradients. The one notable exception are the vineyards of Mount View just west of the town of Cessnock. The terrain of the Upper Hunter is noticeably flatter as the Goulburn River and other tributaries of the Hunter River dominate the area. The greater river system of the Hunter, which includes the Goulburn and important tributaries such as Giants Creek, do provide needed irrigation for areas such as the Upper Hunter than can be prone to drought condition.The success of the Hunter Valley wine industry has been dominated by its proximity to Sydney with its settlement and plantings in the 19th century fuelled by the trade network that linked the valley to the city. The steady demand of consumers from Sydney continues to drive much of the Hunter Valley wine industry, including a factor in the economy by the tourism industry.

Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 8 (1946)

Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 8 (1946) is an English language science fiction story collection, edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg. It is part of a series which attempts to list the great science fiction stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction. They date the Golden Age as beginning in 1939 and lasting until 1963. The book was later reprinted as the second half of Isaac Asimov Presents The Golden Years of Science Fiction, Fourth Series with the first half being Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 7 (1945).

This volume was originally published by DAW books in November 1982.

Lewis Padgett

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.

Writing as 'Lewis Padgett' they were the author of many humorous short stories of science fiction in the 1940s and 1950s. Among the most famous were:

The "Gallegher" series of stories, collected in Robots Have No Tails (Gnome, 1952):

"The Proud Robot"

"Gallegher Plus"

"The World Is Mine"

"Ex Machina"

"Time Locker"

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves"

"The Twonky"

"What You Need"

List of science fiction short stories

This is a non-comprehensive list of short stories with significant science fiction elements.

List of time travel works of fiction

The lists below describes notable works of fiction involving time travel, where time travel is central to the plot or the premise of the work. For stories of time travel in antiquity, see the history of the time travel concept. For video games and interactive media featuring time travel, see list of games containing time travel.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two is an English language science fiction two-volume anthology edited by Ben Bova and published in the U.S. by Doubleday in 1973, distinguished as volumes "Two A" and "Two B". In the U.K. they were published by Gollancz as Volume Two (1973) and Volume Three (1974). The original U.S. subtitle was The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time.

Twenty-two novellas published from 1895 to 1962 were selected by vote of the Science Fiction Writers of America, as that body had selected the contents of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964, a collection of the best-regarded short stories. SFWA had been established in 1965 and that publication year defined its first annual Nebula Awards. Introducing the collected novellas, Bova wrote, "The purpose of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthologies is to bestow a similar recognition on stories that were published prior to 1966 [sic], and thus never had a chance to earn a Nebula."The selection process generated both a top ten stories and a top ten authors.

Although the original publication dates ranged from 1895 to 1962, only two stories were published before 1938, "The Time Machine" by Wells (1895) and "The Machine Stops" by Forster (1909).

Theodore Sturgeon reviewed the anthology favorably, praising the decision to issue it in two volumes rather than scale back the contents.

Bova's introduction thanks Doubleday science fiction editor Larry Ashmead for that.

The Time Traveler's Almanac

The Time Traveler's Almanac (British title: The Time Traveller's Almanac) is a 2013 anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. It contains stories that focus on time travel. It was released on November 2013 in the UK and on March 18, 2014 in the US.

The World Treasury of Science Fiction

The World Treasury of Science Fiction (ISBN 0-316-34941-0) is a science fiction anthology edited by David G. Hartwell, published by Little, Brown and Company in 1989.

Time travel in fiction

Time travel is a common theme in fiction and has been depicted in a variety of media, such as literature, television, film, and advertisements.The concept of time travel by mechanical means was popularized in H. G. Wells' 1895 story, The Time Machine. In general, time travel stories focus on the consequences of traveling into the past or the future. The central premise for these stories oftentimes involves changing history, either intentionally or by accident, and the ways by which altering the past changes the future and creates an altered present or future for the time traveler when they return home. Some stories focus solely on the paradoxes and alternate timelines that come with time travel, rather than time traveling itself. They often provide some sort of social commentary, as time travel provides a "necessary distancing effect" that allows science fiction to address contemporary issues in metaphorical ways.Time travel in modern fiction is sometimes achieved by space and time warps, stemming from the scientific theory of general relativity. Stories from antiquity often featured time travel into the future through a time slip brought on by traveling or sleeping, or in other cases, time travel into the past through supernatural means, for example brought on by angels or spirits.

Timescape (1992 film)

Timescape, released on video as Grand Tour: Disaster in Time, is a 1992 American science fiction film directed by David Twohy and starring Jeff Daniels and Ariana Richards. Featuring a cameo appearance by Robert Colbert, one of the co-stars of Irwin Allen's 1960s TV series The Time Tunnel, it is based on the novella Vintage Season by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore.

Tor Double Novels

Tor Doubles are a series of science fiction books published by Tor Books between 1988 and 1991, mostly in tête-bêche format. The series was inspired by the Ace Doubles, published between 1952 and 1973.

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