The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith

The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith

by Cordwainer Smith

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Smith (real name: Paul M. A. Linebarger) is one of many underappreciated science fiction writers of the 1950s and '60s, and this hefty volume should help reinvigorate his reputation. Editor Mann has gathered all of Smith's published science fiction stories, as well as a rewritten version of ``Ward 81-Q'' and another piece, ``Himself in Anachron'' (completed by Genevieve Linebarger, the author's widow), which have never appeared in print before. The vast majority of the tales take place within the framework of a general future history later dubbed the Instrumentality of Mankind saga, whose linked but independent components include Smith's most famous pieces: ``Scanners Live in Vain,'' ``The Ballad of Lost C'mell,'' ``Alpha Ralpha Boulevard'' and ``The Game of Rat and Dragon.'' This collection reveals Smith as a sophisticated, often poetic writer whose work stood out at a time when science fiction was still searching for its literary voice. The volume need not--indeed, should not--be read at one sitting: sampled like the vintage they are, these stories rank among the finest of their time, but guzzled all at once, they wear thin, and the prose grows less endearing. Nevertheless, it's thrilling to have them all preserved in a durable edition, so that future readers will be able to enjoy Smith's unique talent. (Sept.)
Carl Hays
Since his death in 1966, Cordwainer Smith (ne Paul Linebarger) has largely and unjustly become a forgotten--or never-known--quantity to contemporary sf readers. With the exception of his frequently anthologized "Scanners Live in Vain" (included here), most of his work has remained out of print. The present volume of his complete short fiction should help mightily in establishing his rightful place in the pantheon of great sf stylists. The bulk of the stories, assembled under the heading "Stories from the Instrumentality of Mankind," are loosely grounded in a common universe in which humanity has just emerged from a dark age of millennial wars, and technology has spawned such oddities as roving automatic weapons, cyborg pilots, and telepathic overlords known as True Men. Varying widely in style and subject matter and including a few that come close to foreshadowing cyberpunk, Smith's stories altogether reveal a far-ranging and still very readable talent that was ahead of its time.

Product Details

New England Science Fiction Association, Incorporated
Publication date:
Nesfa's Choice Series
Edition description:
1st ed
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 2.00(d)

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