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Authors > Cordwainer Smith

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message 1: by Anya (last edited May 07, 2018 05:45AM) (new)

Anya Leninjav (spacecadet1stclass) | 1 comments Cordwainer Smith (Paul Linebarger) is one of my favorite science fiction writers. His 'Instrumentality of Mankind' series has all the usual hallmarks of Empire fiction space opera - FTL nonsense drives, an excessively long history, an obscurantist guild of spacers - but his style and themes are quite different from Asimov or Niven. His work includes unusual currents of sadism, sexuality, a love of cats and a fascination with China ('Chinesians' as they're called in the Instrumentality stories). He himself worked as a propagandist for Chiang Kai-Shek (as his father had also worked for the KMT). He was apparently influenced by certain Chinese novels.

Sadly there isn't as much by him as I'd like (the 1993 collection 'The Rediscovery of Man' contains almost all of his science fiction work) but ever since I came across him a few years ago I haven't been able to get certain of his stories out of my head.

He also wrote under the pseudonym Carmichael Smith. His novel "Atomsk" is considered the first Cold War spy novel, a genre I also like (LeCarre and Ian Fleming in particular).


message 2: by mark, personal space invader (new)

mark monday (majestic-plural) | 1276 comments Mod
one of my favorite authors! fascinating person and a wonderful writer.


message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard (thinkingbluecountingtwo) | 233 comments I’m definitely with Anya and mark on this.
I consider him one of a kind in the SF world and a must read for any Science Fiction Aficionado.


message 4: by Dave (new)

Dave Cordwainer Smith is a favorite. It’s also good when other authors riff on his ideas or characters -Lavie Tidhar in Central Station, Geary Gravel in The Alchemists or some of the early stories by Ian McDonald.


message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim  Davis | 58 comments Very unique. I've read about 90% of what he wrote and it's terrific. Too bad there's not more. I am now reading "The Planet Buyer".


message 6: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips I was reading about Smith and found an interesting coincidence. In the 60's, my father, an Air Force officer and trained psychologist, worked at the Pentagon on psychological warfare regarding Vietnam and China (the relationship between communist China & nationalist China - Taiwan - being close to open warfare). Smith/Linebarger died in 1966, so they would never have met, but I'm sure my dad, an early reader of sci-fi & the pulps, knew very well who he was. He more than likely used the training materials Linebarger wrote.


message 7: by mark, personal space invader (new)

mark monday (majestic-plural) | 1276 comments Mod
cool coincidence!


message 8: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 481 comments I rather like him myself. But I do have to warn that he's not to everyone's taste.


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