Tomorrow and Tomorrow/The Fairy Chessmen

“Lewis Padgett” is the pseudonym used by the husband and wife team of Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore for their prestige stories sold to John W. Campbell and published in Unknown and Astounding, the first one being “A Gnome There Was” in the October 1941 Unknown Worlds. Kuttner had been selling since 1936, and while he was a regular in Weird Tales he was stuck in the minor SF markets. Moore was the star of the duo, starting out on top in Weird Tales and Astounding in 1933 and 1934. She was a slow writer, crafting her stories; Kuttner was a dervish, always flinging out ideas as fast as his fingers could strike the keys. They balanced each other to keep a steady stream of superior stories flowing. More about Moore will appear under her entry for Judgment Night.

The two married on June 7, 1940, four years after Kuttner sent a fan letter to Mr. Moore and was amazed to receive a reply signed Catherine. She lived in Indianapolis; he in Los Angeles, stopping in to see her on trips to New York. Their collaboration began during the courtship: the first joint story is “All Is Illusion,” which appeared under Kuttner’s name in the April 1940 Unknown. Thus began the coming bibliographic nightmare. Kuttner wrote as Kuttner but added pseudonyms, Moore wrote as Moore, Kuttner and Moore wrote as Lawrence O’Donnell, C. H. Lidell, and Lewis Padgett. They famously would leave a story in the typewriter with a sentence half-written and the other would take over seamlessly. But the prodigiously prolific Kuttner might also finish a story by himself and send it out under the Padgett name. I doubt that they could tell you whose work was whose and we only know details about a few stories by accident. (See more about this in the coming entry for Robots have No Tails.)

“Lewis” was Kuttner’s mother’s maiden name; “Padgett” was Moore’s grandmother’s maiden name. I doubt that many readers outside the fan community knew that Lewis Padgett was a collaboration. Fanzines revealed that the pseudonym was Kuttner’s as early as 1943 but Moore’s name seemingly wasn’t referenced as a contributor until after WWII. The Fairy Chessmen is a short novel first published in the January and February 1946 issues of Astounding, as by Lewis Padgett. Tomorrow and Tomorrow repeated that in the January and February 1947 issues. There’s no evidence that they weren’t a true collaboration of Moore and Kuttner. Even so, most people inside the community tended to assign all the Padgett stories to Kuttner and slighted Moore’s contribution almost entirely. This seems an outrageous accusation, but as evidence I give you The Best of Henry Kuttner, a posthumous collection from 1975. Ray Bradbury wrote the Introduction, a paean to Kuttner. Nowhere in it is Moore’s name mentioned. Nowhere in it is Padgett’s name mentioned, even though most of the stories were published under that name. It get worse. Bradbury finishes by writing, “Kuttner had no family…” The book is copyright by Catherine Moore Kuttner, who was very much alive in 1975 and had to know exactly what was contained in Bradbury’s intro.

The dust jacket cover reads “Two Science Fiction Novels” as does the jacket spine. The boards spine merely puts Tomorrow and Tomorrow over The Fairy Chessmen with an atom symbol in the middle, while the jacket spine has The Fairy Chessman on top, separated by a dot from Tomorrow and Tomorrow. This formulation is practically identical to, even a bit more confusing than, the one used for L. Ron Hubbard’s Typewriter in the Sky/Fear, yet bibliographers go crazy in trying to parse that title and leave this one entirely alone, almost universally adopting to connect the stories with an “and” while making Tomorrow and Tomorrow the first mentioned title. I’m going with the slash for consistency’s sake.

Yes, that is the writer Harry Harrison who did the cover art. He started out as an artist and gradually moved over to stories because his art was none that good. This is the one and only cover he is credited with, although he did interior illustrations for magazines. The rear cover and the rear flap are printed in a nearly unreadable light blue ink, but the front flap had the standard black ink. A production mistake or a bad decision on Dave Kyle’s part? Either way, one of the least aesthetically successful Gnome books.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow/The Fairy Chessmen, by Lewis Padgett (pseud. of Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore), 1951, title #13, 254 pages, $2.75. 4000 hardbound copies printed.

Hardback, dark gray boards with black lettering. Jacket design by Harry Harrison. “FIRST EDITION” stated on copyright page. Printed and bound by H. Wolff. Designed by David Kyle. Back cover: 3 titles plus 1952 Fantasy Calendar. Gnome Press address given as 80 East 11th St., N.Y. 3.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow jacket cover
Tomorrow and Tomorrow jacket flaps
Tomorrow and Tomorrow dark gray boards

2 thoughts on “Tomorrow and Tomorrow/The Fairy Chessmen

  1. There may be at least two states of this book. Your picture shows Padgett at the spine bottom. My copy has about an inch below CHESSMEN, 25% of the way from the spine top, and Gnome Press at the spine bottom. The dust jacket appears to be identical.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *