Plot Summary Edit

"Shambleau" is set on Mars on its newest colony, with the protagonist being Northwest Smith. It occurs during a futuristic, fantasy timeline where people are known on many planets, such as Smith is described to be, and where Martians, Earthmen and Venusians live together. The story begins with a mob shouting "Shambleau, Shambleau!" The town is running around in an angry mob but when Smith sees the Shambleau, he is mesmerized by her and decides to take care of her and take her away from the mob. He is surprised with how easily the angry mobs breaks up and let him take care of her.

Once Smith has time to really look at Shambleau, he realizes that she is not human. Although her "sweet body was shaped like a woman's," the rest of her features made her seem less human (Moore)[1]. He saw that she did not have hair on her face and hid her head in a turban.

As the story goes on, Smith comes to discover that Shambleau lives off of other people. He questions what she eats, guessing that she consumes blood. She takes this to offense and she believes that Smith thinks she is a vampire, and reassures him that she is a Shambleau.

Smith continues to fall more and more for Shambleau and it is not until his friend, Yarol, who has knowledge of the power of Shambleau's gaze, shoots her, ending her life. Yarol speculates that Shambleau is Medusa that is spoken of in Greek mythology, saying that she came from Greece many years ago to live on Mars. Like Shambleau, Medusa also had a deathly gaze and hair made of snakes.



C.L. Moore Edit

C.L. Moore's legal name is Catherine Lucille Moore. C.L. Moore was her pen name along with other pen names. She was born in 1911 and died in 1987. She participated in the era of up and coming female writers in science fiction along with Mary Shelley. [3] Being born right out of the 19th century, Moore assisted in the feminist movement started in the Victorian Era. The gender roles in the 19th century as described by Kathryn Hughes stereotyped women to be in "separate spheres," with women being dominated by men. [4] Moore challenges this through her writing pieces which contain feminine figures no longer dominated by men.

She received many awards for her many pieces of writing, the most prestigious being inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.. Her pieces of writing include Earth's Last Citadel, that she cowrote with her husband, Henry Kuttner, Doomsday Morning, "Vintage Season", also cowrote with her husband, and many others. It is said that "Shambleau" is her most famous piece.

  1. Moore, C. L. "Shambleau." 1933.
  2. Image source:
  3. Liptak, Andrew. "The Many Names of Catherine Lucille Moore."
  4. Hughes, Kathryn. "Gender Roles in the 19th Century."

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