Smith, c. early 1960s
|Born||Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger|
July 11, 1913
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US
|Died||August 6, 1966 53) (aged|
|Occupation||Writer, professor, military officer|
|Education||PhD in political science|
|Alma mater||Johns Hopkins University|
|Subject||East Asia political science, psychological warfare|
|Notable works||"Scanners Live in Vain"|
|Relatives||Sun Yat-sen (godfather)|
Cordwainer Smith was the pen-name used by American author Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (July 11, 1913 – August 6, 1966) for his science fiction works. Linebarger was a US Army officer, a noted East Asia scholar, and an expert in psychological warfare. Although his career as a writer was shortened by his death at age 53 he is considered one of the more talented and influential science fiction authors.
Linebarger was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father, Paul M. W. Linebarger, was a lawyer and political activist with close ties to the leaders of the Chinese revolution of 1911. As a result of those connections, Linebarger's godfather was Sun Yat-sen, considered the father of Chinese nationalism.
While Sun Yat-sen was struggling against contentious warlords in China, Linebarger's father moved his family between a variety of places in Asia, Europe, and the United States and sometimes sent his son to boarding schools for safety; Linebarger attended more than 30 schools. In 1919 at a boarding school in Hawaii he was blinded in his right eye; the vision in his remaining eye was impaired by infection.
Linebarger was familiar with six languages by adulthood. At the age of 23, he received a PhD in political science from Johns Hopkins University.
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From 1937 to 1946, Linebarger held a faculty appointment at Duke University, where he began producing highly regarded works on Far Eastern affairs.
While retaining his professorship at Duke after the beginning of World War II, Linebarger began serving as a second lieutenant of the United States Army, where he was involved in the creation of the Office of War Information and the Operation Planning and Intelligence Board. He also helped organize the army's first psychological warfare section. In 1943, he was sent to China to coordinate military intelligence operations. When he later pursued his interest in China, Linebarger became a close confidant of Chiang Kai-shek. By the end of the war, he had risen to the rank of major.
In 1947, Linebarger moved to the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where he served as Professor of Asiatic Studies. He used his experiences in the war to write the book Psychological Warfare (1948), regarded by many in the field as a classic text.
He eventually rose to the rank of colonel in the reserves. He was recalled to advise the British forces in the Malayan Emergency and the U.S. Eighth Army in the Korean War. While he was known to call himself a "visitor to small wars", he refrained from becoming involved in the Vietnam War, but is known to have done work for the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1969 CIA officer Miles Copeland Jr. wrote that Linebarger was "perhaps the leader practitioner of 'black' and 'gray' propaganda in the Western world".According to Joseph Burkholder Smith, a former CIA operative, he conducted classes in psychological warfare for CIA agents at his home in Washington under cover of his position at the School of Advanced International Studies. He traveled extensively and became a member of the Foreign Policy Association, and was called upon to advise President John F. Kennedy.
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In 1936, Linebarger married Margaret Snow. They had a daughter in 1942 and another in 1947. They divorced in 1949.
In 1950, Linebarger married again to Genevieve Collins; they had no children. They remained married until his death from a heart attack in 1966, at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 53. Linebarger had expressed a wish to retire to Australia, which he had visited in his travels. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 35, Grave Number 4712. His widow, Genevieve Collins Linebarger, was interred with him on November 16, 1981.
Linebarger is long rumored to have been "Kirk Allen", the fantasy-haunted subject of "The Jet-Propelled Couch," a chapter in psychologist Robert M. Lindner's best-selling 1954 collection The Fifty-Minute Hour.According to Cordwainer Smith scholar Alan C. Elms, this speculation first reached print in Brian Aldiss's 1973 history of science fiction, Billion Year Spree; Aldiss, in turn, claimed to have received the information from science fiction fan and scholar Leon Stover. More recently, both Elms and librarian Lee Weinstein have gathered circumstantial evidence to support the case for Linebarger's being Allen, but both concede there is no direct proof that Linebarger was ever a patient of Lindner's or that he suffered from a disorder similar to that of Kirk Allen.
According to Frederik Pohl
In his stories, which were a wonderful and inimitable blend of a strange, raucous poetry and a detailed technological scene, we begin to read of human beings in worlds so far from our own in space in time that they were no longer quite Earth (even when they were the third planet out from Sol), and the people were no longer quite human, but something perhaps better, certainly different
Linebarger's identity as "Cordwainer Smith" was secret until his death.("Cordwainer" is an archaic word for "a worker in cordwain or cordovan leather; a shoemaker", and a "smith" is "one who works in iron or other metals; esp. a blacksmith or farrier": two kinds of skilled workers with traditional materials.) Linebarger also employed the literary pseudonyms "Carmichael Smith" (for his political thriller Atomsk ), "Anthony Bearden" (for his poetry) and "Felix C. Forrest" (for the novels Ria and Carola).
Smith's stories are unusual, sometimes being written in narrative styles closer to traditional Chinese stories than to most English-language fiction, as well as reminiscent of the Genji tales of Lady Murasaki. The total volume of his science fiction output is relatively small, because of his time-consuming profession and his early death.
Smith's works consist of one novel, originally published in two volumes in edited form as The Planet Buyer, also known as The Boy Who Bought Old Earth (1964) and The Underpeople (1968), and later restored to its original form as Norstrilia (1975); and 32 short stories (collected in The Rediscovery of Man (1993), including two versions of the short story "War No. 81-Q").
Linebarger's cultural links to China are partially expressed in the pseudonym "Felix C. Forrest", which he used in addition to "Cordwainer Smith": his godfather Sun Yat-Sen suggested to Linebarger that he adopt the Chinese name "Lin Bai-lo" (simplified Chinese :林白乐; traditional Chinese :林白樂; pinyin :Lín Báilè), which may be roughly translated as "Forest of Incandescent Bliss". ("Felix" is Latin for "happy".) In his later years, Linebarger proudly wore a tie with the Chinese characters for this name embroidered on it.
As an expert in psychological warfare, Linebarger was very interested in the newly developing fields of psychology and psychiatry. He used many of their concepts in his fiction. His fiction often has religious overtones or motifs, particularly evident in characters who have no control over their actions. James B. Jordan argued for the importance of Anglicanism to Smith's works back to 1949.But Linebarger's daughter Rosana Hart has indicated that he did not become an Anglican until 1950, and was not strongly interested in religion until later still. The introduction to the collection Rediscovery of Man notes that from around 1960 Linebarger became more devout and expressed this in his writing. Linebarger's works are sometimes included in analyses of Christianity in fiction, along with the works of authors such as C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Most of Smith's stories are set in the far future, between 4,000 and 14,000 years from now.After the Ancient Wars devastate Earth, humans, ruled by the Instrumentality of Mankind, rebuild and expand to the stars in the Second Age of Space around 6000 AD. Over the next few thousand years, mankind spreads to thousands of worlds and human life becomes safe but sterile, as robots and the animal-derived Underpeople take over many human jobs and humans themselves are genetically programmed as embryos for specified duties. Towards the end of this period, the Instrumentality attempts to revive old cultures and languages in a process known as the Rediscovery of Man, where humans emerges from their mundane utopia and Underpeople are freed from slavery.
For years, Linebarger had a pocket notebook which he had filled with ideas about The Instrumentality and additional stories in the series. But while in a small boat in a lake or bay in the mid 60s, he leaned over the side, and his notebook fell out of his breast pocket into the water, where it was lost forever. Another story claims that he accidentally left the notebook in a restaurant in Rhodes in 1965. With the book gone, he felt empty of ideas, and decided to start a new series which was an allegory of Mid-Eastern politics.
Smith's stories describe a long future history of Earth. The settings range from a postapocalyptic landscape with walled cities, defended by agents of the Instrumentality, to a state of sterile utopia, in which freedom can be found only deep below the surface, in long-forgotten and buried anthropogenic strata. These features may place Smith's works within the Dying Earth subgenre of science fiction. They are ultimately more optimistic and distinctive.
Smith's most celebrated short story is his first-published, "Scanners Live in Vain", which led many of its earliest readers to assume that "Cordwainer Smith" was a new pen name for one of the established giants of the genre. It was selected as one of the best science fiction short stories of the pre-Nebula Award period by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, appearing in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964 . "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell" was similarly honored, appearing in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two .
After "Scanners Live in Vain", Smith's next story did not appear for several years, but from 1955 until his death in 1966 his stories appeared regularly, for the most part in Galaxy Science Fiction .His universe featured strange and vivid creations, such as:
Titles marked with an asterisk * are independent stories not related to the Instrumentality universe.
Mark Clifton (1906–1963) was an American science fiction writer, the co-winner of the second Hugo Award for best novel. He began publishing in May 1952 with the widely anthologized story "What Have I Done?".
In the science fiction of Cordwainer Smith, the Instrumentality of Mankind refers both to Smith's personal future history and universe and to the central government of humanity within that fictional universe. The Instrumentality of Mankind is also the title of a paperback collection of short stories by Cordwainer Smith published in 1979.
Biopunk is a subgenre of science fiction that focuses on biotechnology. It is derived from cyberpunk, but focuses on the implications of biotechnology rather than information technology. Biopunk is concerned with synthetic biology. It is derived of cyberpunk involving bio-hackers, biotech mega-corporations, and oppressive government agencies that manipulate human DNA. Most often keeping with the dark atmosphere of cyberpunk, biopunk generally examines the dark side of genetic engineering and represents the low side of biotechnology.
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The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith (ISBN 0-915368-56-0) is a 1993 book containing the complete collected short fiction of American science fiction author Cordwainer Smith. It was edited by James A. Mann and published by NESFA Press.
"Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" is a classic science fiction short story by American writer Cordwainer Smith, first published in Galaxy Magazine in 1961, and partly based on Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. It is collected most recently in The Rediscovery of Man. It details the methods by which the Norstrilians of Smith's fictional "Instrumentality" universe maintain their monopoly on the precious immortality drug stroon. The story details part of the background to the novel Norstrilia.
Norstrilia is a science fiction novel published by Paul Linebarger under the pseudonym Cordwainer Smith. It is the only novel he published under this name, which he used for his science fiction works. It takes place in Smith's Instrumentality of Mankind universe, and was heavily influenced by the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. The novel is in part a sequel to Smith's 1962 short story "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell", featuring some of the same characters and settings.
"A Planet Named Shayol" is a science fiction story by American writer Cordwainer Smith. Like most of his science fiction work, it takes place in his Instrumentality of Mankind setting. It was first published in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine in October 1961.
"Knock", is a science fiction short story by American writer by Fredric Brown. It starts with a short-short story based on the following text of Thomas Bailey Aldrich:
IMAGINE all human beings swept off the face of the earth, excepting one man. Imagine this man in some vast city, New York or London. Imagine him on the third or fourth day of his solitude sitting in a house and hearing a ring at the door-bell!
"When the People Fell" is a science fiction short story by American writer Cordwainer Smith, set in his "Instrumentality" universe. It was originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine in April, 1959, and is collected in The Rediscovery of Man, and in the collection of which it is the title story. The story takes place relatively early in the Instrumentality timeline, and a "scanner Vomact" appears both in this story and the classic story "Scanners Live in Vain".
"The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal" is a science fiction short story by Cordwainer Smith, set in Smith's "Instrumentality" universe. It was first published in Amazing Stories in May 1964, and is collected in The Rediscovery of Man compendium.
"The Dead Lady of Clown Town" is a science fiction novella by American writer Cordwainer Smith, set in his Instrumentality of Mankind future history. It was originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction in 1964. It was included in the collection The Best of Cordwainer Smith and most recently in The Rediscovery of Man short story collection. A graphic novel adaptation by Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta was to have appeared in DC Comics during the late 1980s, but never materialized.
"Scanners Live in Vain" is a science fiction short story by American writer Cordwainer Smith. It was the first story in Smith's Instrumentality of Mankind future history to be published and the first story to appear under the Smith pseudonym. It first appeared in the semi-professional magazine Fantasy Book.
Glasshouse is a science fiction novel by British author Charles Stross, first published in 2006. The novel is set in the twenty seventh century aboard a spacecraft adrift in interstellar space. Robin, the protagonist, has recently had his memory erased. He agrees to take part in an experiment, during which he is placed inside a model of a late twentieth/early twenty-first century Euroamerican society. Robin is given a new identity and body, specifically that of a woman named "Reeve". Major themes of this novel are identity, gender determinism, self-image and conformity. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a sequel to his 2005 novel Accelerando, although Stross has stated that the two novels are not obviously incompatible. Glasshouse won the Prometheus Award for 2007, and was nominated for the Hugo, Campbell, and Locus Awards in 2007.
Atomsk, first published in 1949, is a Cold War spy novel by "Carmichael Smith", one of several pseudonyms used by Paul Linebarger, who wrote fiction most prolifically as Cordwainer Smith. Written two years after Winston Churchill's Sinews of Peace address, Atomsk is the first espionage novel of the Cold War, inaugurating a genre exemplified by writers such as Ian Fleming and John Le Carré.
"The Ballad of Lost C'Mell" is a science fiction novella by American writer Cordwainer Smith. It was first published in October 1962 in Galaxy Magazine, and since reprinted in several compilations and omnibus editions.
"Alpha Ralpha Boulevard" is a science fiction story by American writer Cordwainer Smith, set in his Instrumentality of Mankind universe, concerning the opening days of a sudden radical shift from a controlling, benevolent, but sterile society, to one with individuality, danger and excitement. The story has been reprinted a number of times, including in The Rediscovery of Man collection.
"Kirk Allen" was the pseudonym given to a patient of Robert M. Lindner's, in his book The Fifty-Minute Hour. Born in Hawaii, "Allen" soon became obsessed with a series of novels, the protagonist of which shared his name. Due to "Allen's" anonymity, it is unclear what the series was, apart from the fact that it was science fiction. Some have theorized that the series was the "Barsoom" books, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, featuring the main character "John Carter".
"Drunkboat" is a science fiction short story by American writer Cordwainer Smith. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories in October 1963. It was included in Space Lords, a collection of five stories by Cordwainer Smith published in May 1965. It appeared in The Instrumentality of Mankind, a collection published in May 1979, and it was in The Rediscovery of Man, a complete collection of his short stories, published in 1993.
Fomalhaut is a class A star on the main sequence approximately 25 light-years (7.7 pc) from the Sun. It is the brightest star in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus and at magnitude 1.2 is one of the brightest stars in the sky.