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And We’ll Pray That There’s No God

Fury  (Keeps, volume 2)

By C L Moore & Henry Kuttner 

27 Feb, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


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C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner’s 1950 Fury—often but incorrectly credited to Kuttner alone — is the second in their Keeps science fiction series1.

By the twenty-seventh century, Earth’s atomic death is six centuries in the past. Humanity survived only because Venus was at hand to provide a second life-bearing home. Because the continents teemed with life that 21st century humans were not equipped to survive, let alone dominate, humans are confined to the subsea Keeps, which no Venusian lifeform can penetrate.

Life in the Keeps is tolerable and stagnant. Ruled by Immortal mutants such as the Harkers, society might have been fated to continue its long decline into decadence, save for an act of spite by a grieving father.

Sam Harker’s mother Bessi died giving birth to Sam. Enraged at his lover’s death, Blaze Harker had his son Sam surgically modified and then abandoned the infant, secure that the infant’s now brutish appearance would keep Sam consigned to the lowest orders of civilization. The secret of his Harker heritage would be hidden … or so Blaze assumes. 

Sam’s superior bloodline ensures that he will excel. His dismal circumstances ensure that he will excel at being a criminal. Brilliant and utter uninhibited by anything resembling a moral sense, he carves out a niche for himself in Venus’ underworld.

Immortal Robin Hale is at loose ends. The military Companies into which he poured his life are gone. Hale has no idea what to do with himself in the centuries that loom before him. Consulting the Logician — widely believed to be a computer but in fact an Immortal mutant even more unusual than most Immortals — he is advised to colonize Venus’ forbidding continents. 

Sam’s grandfather Zacharia and the rest of the Harkers believe Hale’s project will not simply fail, but fail so completely that no second attempt will ever be made. Aware that humans will have to settle the continents eventually, the Harkers hire Sam Reed to kill Hale. Like Sam himself, they have no idea that Sam Reed is the long-missing Sam Harker.

Sam may be a superman by dint of his genes, but he is a reprobate by dint of environment. Intrigued by Hale’s scheme, Sam throws in with Hale. This is not because Sam has been won over by Hale’s vision. It is because Sam has a vision of his own involving a monumental confidence scheme. Key to the scheme: the failure of Hale’s project, lest investors discover Sam has sold three hundred percent of the profits. 

Before Sam can cash in, the Harkers retaliate for his betrayal. Dosed with an instantly addictive drug, Sam should have spent the rest of his life a befuddled addict. Sam manages to shake off the addiction … forty years later.

Forty years have left no mark on Sam. Now he is aware he is, like the Harkers, immortal. In consequence, Sam will reshape Venus and save humanity in the process … out of pure spite, greed, and fury.


It is often a given in old timey Campbellian SF that MAN! (Occasionally with the assistance of girl) must triumph over mere nature. In the case of Moore and Kuttner’s ravenous Venus, this victory is not assured. It takes six centuries before humans are ready to tackle the continents and since this was, as far as I know, the final book in the Keeps series, it’s not clear if Hale’s project was ultimately successful. 

It happens that the edition I own is the Lancer, which matters for two reasons. Firstly, this allows me to complain yet again about the poor quality of Lancer binding. My copy survives thanks to a couple of elastic bands holding the flimsy paperback in one piece.

More importantly this and the Magnum/Prestige edition2 are the only editions of which I am aware that contain Moore’s introduction, which details her contribution to the novel and which makes me comfortable crediting this novel to both Kuttner and Moore.

The plot is an interesting interplay between nurture and nature. The novel accepts eugenics wholeheartedly. Sam will never be happy in the underclass because his superior genes destine him for high station. At the same time, he is unable to overcome the blinkered worldview caused by his upbringing. Even his greatest deeds are committed from the basest of motivations. 

This may not be a great novel but it is an extremely energetic novel, filled with helpful infodumps, pontifications on Man’s Destiny, cunning schemes, sudden betrayals, two-dimensional characters3, an incredibly bitter anti-hero, and an extremely memorable final line.

Fury is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), and here (Book Depository). I did not find Fury at either Barnes & Noble or Chapters-Indigo.

1: The first, Clash by Night, was reviewed here.

2: I am not sure if Magnum/Prestige was connected to Lancer in some way. 

3: The women in particular are never more than stock characters.