34. Mutant


Lewis Padgett was normally the joint pseudonym of husband/wife team Henry Kuttner and C. L. (Catherine) Moore. My copy is even inscribed by Moore herself (to Dick Spelman, presumably the long-term fan and book dealer). Sam Moskowitz, in Seekers of Tomorrow, gave some idea into the details of their collaboration:

More and more, writing became a symbiotic relationship. They frequently wrote in relays, one taking over sometimes in the middle of a sentence, helping the other past a writing block. Often one supplied the idea, and the other wrote the story. Just as frequently, Henry Kuttner would write the first draft and C. L. Moore would put it into its final form. Kuttner was better than Moore at plotting, but Moore was a far better stylist.

However, Moskowitz also stated that Kuttner alone wrote all the stories in Mutant except for “Beggars in Velvet,” which presumably was in collaboration with Moore. No one else seems to have picked up on this, and no confirmation is possible at this point.

Gnome Notes

“Padgett” is clearly identified as Kuttner on the other-books-by page but Moore is never hinted at, there or on the jacket flaps. The omission is odd, particularly considering the fuss Gnome made over books it issued by Moore. Whose decision such a deliberate concealment was would be nice to know.

cover art by William Timmins


J. Francis McComas, New York Times Book Review, December 20, 1953
So perfect, so complete is this study of people with extra talents that all writers who have tried the theme since Padgett’s first story have been confined within his all-embracing framework. And, as always, Lewis Padgett propounds his ideas in a beguiling story rich in reading entertainment.

Damon Knight, Future Science Fiction, October 1954
[D]espite Gnome’s inspired tinkering, this book isn’t a novel; the Lord Almighty couldn’t make it one without rewriting it from the beginning.

Contents and Original Publication

• “One” (original to this volume).
• “The Piper’s Son” (Astounding Science Fiction, February 1945).
• “Two” (original to this volume).
• “Three Blind Mice” (Astounding Science Fiction, June 1945).
• “Three” (original to this volume).
• “The Lion and the Unicorn” (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1945).
• “Four” (original to this volume).
• “Beggars in Velvet” (Astounding Science Fiction, December 1945).
• “Five” (original to this volume).
• “Humpty Dumpty,” (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1953).
• “Six” (original to this volume).

Bibliographic Information

Mutant, by Lewis Padgett (pseud. of Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore), 1953, copyright registration 20Oct53, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 53-12601, title #34, back panel #24, 210 pages, $2.75. 4000 hardbound copies printed. Hardback, blue boards, spine lettered in black. Jacket Design by Ric Binkley. “First Edition” on copyright page. Printed by H. Wolff. Manufactured in the U.S.A. Back panel: 25 titles. Gnome Press address given as 80 East 11th Street, New York 3.


None known.


Mutant, blue boards, black lettering