C. L. Moore’s Student Stories

Three stories C. L. Moore wrote for Indiana University’s literary magazine The Vagabond are available to read on the IU library blog.

She studied at IU in the early 1930s —

However, before officially declaring a major, she withdrew from the university due to the financial hardships of the Great Depression and returned to Indianapolis to work as a secretary.

Her 1931 story “Semira” begins –

“For the past ten years I have been a Deity, omnipotent over the population of an island group located, at present, somewhere indeterminately southward in the Pacific.”

The rest of it doesn’t live up to the hook – nothing really happens to make a reader invest in the story’s characters or outcome — yet Moore’s style and pacing kept me turning the pages.

“Two Fantasies” delivers a pair of evocative fragments, one mythic, one weird.

“Happily Ever After,” the best of the three, tells why Cinderella’s life was miserable after her dream came true – in sprightly, humorous prose leading to an even happier ending.

Moore was rapidly developing as a writer when she had to leave Indiana University. Less than two years after her final contribution appeared in The Vagabond Moore premiered in Weird Tales with the classic “Shambleau.”

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]