Young People Read Old SFF

Housing Problems

Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore

The CBS Radio Workshop (January 1956 – September 1957) was an experimental radio show, venturing through a wide variety of subjects, themes, and presentation styles over the course of its 20 month run. Science fiction and fantasy was one of the genres the show featured.

Kuttner and Moore met through their mutual friend H. P. Lovecraft. Until he met Moore, Kuttner had assumed the author whose work he so liked was a man. After they met, it didn’t take long for Kuttner and Moore to marry and more importantly, collaborate on various works of fiction. Due to certain work habits, it’s hard to sort out which of them wrote what stories but "Housing Problems" is definitely by both.

This story was cute and quaint. I thought it might be a lot scarier, but instead it was just fanciful and cute. So much so, that it might be a good story for children. In fact, it sort of reminds me of the fairy hoax popularized by Arthur Conan Doyle. People at the time could have been really taken with this story like they were with that story, but I imagine nowadays people would find this radio story to be too quaint and stereotypically suburban.

It was better that the pixies were never described or seen directly and that it was just implied what they were like.

Overall, I would rate this story a middling score: okay to listen to once, but it’s like candy – a little too saccharine and not satisfying if one is really hungry for some substance.

—Mel

This was an adorable story about a suburban couple and where their curiosity leads them. I loved the personalities of the narrator and his wife, and the way they talked themselves into trouble. It was a clean and simple plot that built up your curiosity with that of the characters.

—Melissa

This story was ok. It has aged well, in that the main plot of the story still works, but I didn’t feel particularly invested in the story. If I hadn’t been listening to the story for a review, I probably wouldn’t have finished it.

I feel like most of the story is waiting for the reveal of what’s in the house, but the answer was predictable. I did like the idea of them paying the rent in luck, but it isn’t a big enough part of the story to keep me interested in it.

The same idea told from a different point of view might have interested me more. I just didn’t really care about any of the characters in the story, particularly not the nosy couple.

Overall, this story was fine, just boring.

—Mikayla

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