Monday, July 13, 2009

Science Fiction 28 – Cordwainer Smith

The stories of the late, great Cordwainer Smith are undoubtedly among the most unique and original works of Science Fiction ever written.

There is something in Cordwainer Smith’s writing that instantly transports the reader to the far flung future of the Instrumentality of Mankind. The stories are entrancing, strangely wonderful and wonderfully strange. A great many of the stories are told from the viewpoint of an unnamed narrator in an even more distant future, a sort retelling of the history and folklore of the Instrumentality.

You’ve only got to look at the titles of the stories to get some sense of the wonder waiting for you. How could you resist a story titled “Golden The Ship Was – Oh! Oh! Oh!” or "The Dead Lady of Clown Town” or “Alpha Ralpha Boulevard

smith_bestof smith_instrumentality
smith_norstrilia smith_quest

I came across Cordwainer Smith in the 1970s, so the above editions were all acquired then. I’m pretty sure my collection is complete, including the story, Down to A Sunless Sea published posthumously in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1975 written by Genevieve Linebarger, of which issue, I do have a copy, purchased no doubt because it had a Cordwainer Smith story.


Next – Robert Stallman

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