notgettingenough 's Reviews > Space Lords

Space Lords by Cordwainer Smith
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Apr 01, 11

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bookshelves: science-fiction
Read from March 15 to April 01, 2011

Incredibly alienating. The bizarre badly written. I know he's a cult figure and I seem to be down on them, but.

Pohl tells a story on his blog about the reason Smith stopped writing about the world of the Space Lords. He had any number of ideas which he kept in a note book. One day he bent over the side of a boat on the Meditteranean. You can guess what happened.

Apparently he couldn't write unless nobody knew who he was. I'm sorry, but what I want to say is I don't blame him.

Surely nobody thinks he can write? Surely.

Taking a look around for more on him, I see that Christianity was very important to him and that his science fiction is riddled with his consequent beliefs. Maybe that is why I find his stuff so repelling. It does read like propaganda and that is his field in real life, psychological warfare. The article in question is here: http://www.sunpopblue.com/Music-Art-B...

I'm sorry, I was really looking forward to reading this and feel like I've failed some sort of sci fi test.

Darn.

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Reading Progress

03/15/2011 page 9
4.0% "To find out what other books he wrote under various pseudonyms, I found myself at wiki discovering that this guy is completely amazing. Surely the stories are going to be as well! Fancy having Sun Yat-sen as your godfather. I'm just a tad envious." 1 comment
03/18/2011 page 45
22.0% "Loving this."

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant I had a whole Cordwainer Smith thing going once. Drunkboat, A Planet Named Shayol, Scanners Live in vain...great stuff.


notgettingenough Paul wrote: "I had a whole Cordwainer Smith thing going once. Drunkboat, A Planet Named Shayol, Scanners Live in vain...great stuff."

Been a bit busy, but hoping to knock it off on the weekend. To be honest, I think I needed a break to think about it for a while. Based on 2.5 stories so far, it is all extremely odd, don't you think?


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant well, he was an odd bird - Kennedy's Chinese expert, fluent in mandarin and what-all, and writing wild SF using Chinese myths & legends. I used to love it.


message 4: by DoctorM (new)

DoctorM Smith was the first sci-fi writer I found who actually made the future and other worlds seem *different* and really *alien*...and I loved his voice, loved the cadences...


Manny Very interesting link, but I'm not sure I buy the Christian analysis. "Sun Pop Blue" seems to be an extreme Christian type himself, and I think he's trying to shoehorn Smith into his own worldview. In particular, I'm having trouble believing this key passage on Scanners Live In Vain, one of his best-known stories:
This story is a full-blown allegory of the coming of the New Covenant, and reveals a very sophisticated understanding both of the Biblical narrative and typology (e.g., the smell of roast lamb reminds the central character of the smell of burning people), and of the theological and philosophical tenets of the Christian religion.
I don't think that's what Scanners is about at all. It contains a striking and poetic image of how people dehumanize themselves to achieve goals they think are important, and I'd hate to dismiss it as just a piece of religious propaganda.


message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Absolutely right, Manny.


notgettingenough Manny wrote: "Very interesting link, but I'm not sure I buy the Christian analysis. "Sun Pop Blue" seems to be an extreme Christian type himself, and I think he's trying to shoehorn Smith into his own worldview....I don't think that's what Scanners is about at all. It contains a striking and poetic image of how people dehumanize themselves to achieve goals they think are important, and I'd hate to dismiss it as just a piece of religious propaganda. "

Why on earth can't that be Christian, the idea that it is dehumanising ourselves to achieve goals.

The anti-Christian brigade is so close-minded it beggars belief. Sorry, but the moment you guys see somebody is Christian, it's like therefore the following applies.

Honestly.


message 8: by Paul (last edited Apr 03, 2011 03:32AM) (new)

Paul Bryant Maybe i see Christianity as a subdivision of human thought whereas Christians see human thought as a subdivision of Christianity... anyway i don't mean to be flippant but overlaying a strictly Christian allegory onto an SF story which does very well without one is over-interpretation, i think.


Manny Well, some of his stories are clearly Christian in theme, e.g. The Dead Lady Of Clown Town. I just don't see that Scanners falls into that category, and neither do several other famous ones, e.g. The Game Of Rat And Dragon or Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons. Please tell me why they might be!


message 10: by notgettingenough (last edited Apr 03, 2011 03:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

notgettingenough Manny wrote: "Well, some of his stories are clearly Christian in theme, e.g. The Dead Lady Of Clown Town. I just don't see that Scanners falls into that category, and neither do several other famous ones, e.g. T..."

Well. I was discussing my general uneasiness, not particular stories. I don't see why Mother Hitton can't have a religious aspect to it, however. Why not? Look at what the protagonist did and what happened to him next....he tried to justify an act of murder in order to better life elsewhere. That seems like a kind of biblical theme to me.

So, I haven't ever read the bible. I have no idea what's in the Southern Hemisphere. Not much, I discover to my surprise this morning when it was shown to me.

BUT. To me, when I started reading about the guy and discovered that he is particularly Christian, that made me feel like I now understood why I didn't like him.

So there, Paul and Manny.

I love being ganged up on by you guys. It's fun!!!


Manny I don't see why Mother Hitton can't have a religious aspect to it, however. Why not? Look at what the protagonist did and what happened to him next....he tried to justify an act of murder in order to better life elsewhere. That seems like a kind of biblical theme to me.

But on this analysis, isn't almost any story about murder and revenge biblical?

Mind you, on thinking about it, I did recently see the Russ Meyer movie Motor Psycho described in exactly those terms. So I guess you're not alone. It still seems to me that you're kind of overusing the word. I mean, are we now going to say that the movie Romance is biblical?


message 12: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant I made the mistake of seeing that one!!


message 13: by Stas (new)

Stas Excuse me: what an interesting discussion. I believe that to the degree that Christianity is a dying religion, some of the most rabidly Christian messages will have to sound oddly un- or even anti-Biblical. Why, for example, are that those supposed liberals (some of whom even self-identify as being on the Left) who jump on the Samantha Powered train, are also likely to be violently atheistic.
Take this for example.
http://www.trappedbythemormons.com/hi...


message 14: by Paul (last edited Apr 04, 2011 12:58AM) (new)

Paul Bryant Christianity is fading in Europe but is alive and well in Africa and South America, so I don't think it's a dying religion.

I await with interest the results of the latest British censis to see if the Jedi religion has made many new converts since last time. Wiki says that

In England and Wales 390,127 people (almost 0.8%) stated their religion as Jedi on their 2001 Census forms

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi_cen...


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