History Creator / CordwainerSmith

28th Nov '17 2:51:35 PM frogpatrol
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Cordwainer Smith was the pen name of Doctor Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger: ScienceFiction writer, poet, and psychological warfare expert. In fact, he ''literally'' wrote the book on psychological warfare -- the standard US Army textbook on the subject. He looked like a classic {{nerd}}, wrote weird little SF stories about cats, and was apparently regarded with respect by a generation of top US diplomatic/intelligence specialists. During the Korean War, he was asked to write a set of qualifications for the head of psychological operations for the US army; he got interested enough in the possibilities of the job and so set things up that he was the only person qualified to do it. He was a man of the world, but had particular ties to China and the Far East -- his godfather was Sun Yat-sen, and he and his father were confidants of Chiang Kai-shek. He also liked Australia.

Most of his SpeculativeFiction work describes the future history of the [[TheVerse Instrumentality of Mankind]], which was richly described but left a lot to the reader's imagination. Influenced by Chinese short stories, Smith's books [[SignatureStyle cannot be mistaken for anyone else's work]].

One suggestion: Read the stories first. This page could do no justice to discovering the wonder of Smith's words.

to:

Cordwainer Smith ''Cordwainer Smith'' was the pen name of Doctor Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger: ScienceFiction writer, poet, and psychological warfare expert. In fact, he ''literally'' wrote the book on psychological warfare -- the standard US Army textbook on the subject. He looked like a classic {{nerd}}, wrote weird little SF ScienceFiction stories about cats, and was apparently regarded with respect by a generation of top US diplomatic/intelligence diplomatic and intelligence specialists. During the Korean War, he was asked to write a set of qualifications for the head of psychological operations for the US army; he got interested enough in the possibilities of the job and so set things up that he was the only person qualified to do it. He was a man of the world, but had particular ties to China and the Far East -- his East. His godfather was Sun Yat-sen, and he and his father were confidants of Chiang Kai-shek. He also liked Australia.

Most The majority of his SpeculativeFiction ScienceFiction work describes the future history of the [[TheVerse the Instrumentality of Mankind]], which was richly described but left a lot much to the reader's imagination. Influenced by Chinese short stories, Smith's books [[SignatureStyle cannot be mistaken for anyone else's work]].

One
the work of any other wrier]].

Strong
suggestion: Read read the stories first. This page could No description can do no justice to discovering the wonder of Smith's words.
words firsthand.



* ''Literature/ScannersLiveInVain''

to:

* ''Literature/ScannersLiveInVain''"Literature/ScannersLiveInVain"



** There are a number of references to duck feasts. [[spoiler:Which makes it unfortunate for the Apicians that they happen to taste like the finest duck imaginable.]]

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** There are a number of references to duck feasts. [[spoiler:Which feasts, [[spoiler:which makes it unfortunate for the Apicians that they happen to taste like the finest duck imaginable.]]



** In "Under Old Earth", Santuna takes it to an extreme--not only is she bald, but she has no body hair.
** The cover art for the ''Instrumentality of Mankind'' anthology includes a bunch of bald people floating down to Venus. One is clearly female.
* BearsAreBadNews: Inverted with the Bear in "Mark Elf" and "Queen of the Afternoon". Wise, educated, and sporting spectacles, when the Bear shows up things improve for the human characters.
* BigDumbObject: Smith was never averse to sheer scale, with buildings reaching up to the stratosphere and all. But crucially, the titular craft of "Golden The Ship Was--Oh! Oh! Oh!" is ''ninety million miles long'', taking it beyond the PlanetSpaceship range and into this category. [[spoiler:Even if it is mostly foam. Smith may have been {{parody}}ing the trope before it really got started.]]
* BilingualBonus: More like Multilingual Bonus -- many names in the Instrumentality cycle have secondary meanings if one knew the language used. And Smith used Chinese, Russian, German, Finish, Japanese, and many other languages for his theme naming.

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** In Santuna in "Under Old Earth", Santuna Earth" takes it this to an extreme--not extreme. Not only is she bald, but she has no body hair.
** The cover art for the ''Instrumentality older''Instrumentality of Mankind'' anthology collection includes a bunch of bald people floating down to Venus. One is clearly female.
* BearsAreBadNews: Inverted with in the case of the Bear in "Mark Elf" and "Queen of the Afternoon". Wise, educated, and sporting spectacles, when the Bear shows up things improve for the human characters.
* BigDumbObject: Smith was never averse to sheer scale, with buildings reaching up to the stratosphere and all. But crucially, the titular craft of "Golden The Ship Was--Oh! Was—Oh! Oh! Oh!" is ''ninety million miles long'', taking it beyond the PlanetSpaceship range and into this category. [[spoiler:Even if it is mostly foam. Smith may have been {{parody}}ing the trope before it really got started.]]
* BilingualBonus: More like Multilingual Bonus -- many names in the Instrumentality cycle have secondary meanings if one knew the language used. And Smith used Chinese, Russian, German, Finish, Japanese, and many other languages for his theme naming.



* BodyDouble: In ''Norstrilia'', Rod gets ten body doubles when he arrives on Earth. Eleanor is surgically modified to look like him, and nine robot doubles are also sent out.
* BodyHorror: "A Planet Called Shayol" has a ''lot'' of this.

to:

* BodyDouble: In ''Norstrilia'', Rod gets ten body doubles when he arrives on Earth. Eleanor is surgically modified to look like him, and nine him. Nine robot doubles are also sent out.
* BodyHorror: "A Planet Called Shayol" has a ''lot'' of this.explores this from beginning to end.



* CanonDiscontinuity: Averted with "The Colonel Came Back from the Nothing-at-All". It's plot is eventually reworked into "Drunkboat", with "Colonel" reading like a beta version of that tale. However, it does not contradict any of the previous continuity, and presents how planoforming was discovered.

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* CanonDiscontinuity: Averted with "The Colonel Came Back from the Nothing-at-All". It's plot is eventually was reworked into "Drunkboat", with "Drunkboat". "Colonel" reading reads like a beta version of that tale. However, it The later story does not contradict any of the previous continuity, and presents shows how planoforming was discovered.



** As well as dog girls, snake girls, buffalo girls....

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** As well as dog girls, snake girls, buffalo girls....girls...



* CivilizedAnimal: The Middle-sized Bear in "Mark Elf" and "Queen of the Afternoon". No, he's not an Underperson -- the Bear is simply an intelligent and civilized being. Yeah, even for the ''Instrumentality'' stories, this comes out of nowhere.

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* CivilizedAnimal: The Middle-sized Bear in "Mark Elf" and "Queen of the Afternoon". No, he's not an Underperson -- the Underperson. The Bear is simply an intelligent and civilized being. Yeah, even for the ''Instrumentality'' stories, this comes out of nowhere.
4th Feb '17 12:21:14 PM morenohijazo
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Added DiffLines:

* CrystalLandscape: In ''Literature/OnTheGemPlanet'', the titular world of Anderson is compromised mostly of precious gems and crystals. As a result the human inhabitants need to import soil, which they consider more valuable than rubies and diamonds.
15th Sep '16 8:32:28 PM PaulA
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Added DiffLines:

* {{Fiction 500}}: In ''Norstrilia'', the people of the planet Old North Australia have a production monopoly on the drug stroon, which grants immortality. The resulting wealth threatens to destroy their hard-working rural way of life, so they impose an import duty of 200 million percent on all imports and spend the revenue on defence. The result is that everything costs two million times as much on their planet as off planet, and an ordinary agricultural labourer's income is billions per week. In this setting, [=Roderick Frederick Ronald Arnold William MacArthur McBan=] the 151st is the owner of one of the oldest and largest sheep stations, a major stroon producer, and is fabulously rich even on Old North Australia. To escape some political difficulties he buys Earth, "lock, stock, and underpeople". A lot of people are embarrassed and annoyed that that was possible.
14th Feb '16 3:41:04 AM eroock
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'''Cordwainer Smith''' was the pen name of Doctor Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger: ScienceFiction writer, poet, and psychological warfare expert. In fact, he ''literally'' wrote the book on psychological warfare -- the standard US Army textbook on the subject. He looked like a classic {{nerd}}, wrote weird little SF stories about cats, and was apparently regarded with respect by a generation of top US diplomatic/intelligence specialists. During the Korean War, he was asked to write a set of qualifications for the head of psychological operations for the US army; he got interested enough in the possibilities of the job and so set things up that he was the only person qualified to do it. He was a man of the world, but had particular ties to China and the Far East -- his godfather was Sun Yat-sen, and he and his father were confidants of Chiang Kai-shek. He also liked Australia.

to:

'''Cordwainer Smith''' Cordwainer Smith was the pen name of Doctor Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger: ScienceFiction writer, poet, and psychological warfare expert. In fact, he ''literally'' wrote the book on psychological warfare -- the standard US Army textbook on the subject. He looked like a classic {{nerd}}, wrote weird little SF stories about cats, and was apparently regarded with respect by a generation of top US diplomatic/intelligence specialists. During the Korean War, he was asked to write a set of qualifications for the head of psychological operations for the US army; he got interested enough in the possibilities of the job and so set things up that he was the only person qualified to do it. He was a man of the world, but had particular ties to China and the Far East -- his godfather was Sun Yat-sen, and he and his father were confidants of Chiang Kai-shek. He also liked Australia.
27th Jan '16 12:20:20 AM Anddrix
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* "Literature/ScannersLiveInVain"

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\n[[index]]
* "Literature/ScannersLiveInVain"
''Literature/ScannersLiveInVain''
[[/index]]
11th Nov '15 3:29:29 PM margdean56
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** In a 1980 Radio Adaptation of ''The Ballad of Lost C'mell'' the story opens with a human woman and an Ox-Man trying to leave Earth for New Mars so they can start a family [[StarCrossedLovers It...doesn't end well...]]

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** In a 1980 Radio Adaptation of ''The Ballad of Lost C'mell'' the story opens with a human woman and an Ox-Man trying to leave Earth for New Mars so they can start a family family. [[StarCrossedLovers It...doesn't end well...]]



** The Band of Cousins and their supporters within [[SecretPolice Instrumentality of the Jwnidz]] against the philosophers who rule the post-apocalyptic Earth. [[spoiler: They succeed, and form the Instrumentality of ''Mankind'']].

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** The Band of Cousins and their supporters within [[SecretPolice Instrumentality of the Jwnidz]] Jwindz]] against the philosophers who rule the post-apocalyptic Earth. [[spoiler: They succeed, and form the Instrumentality of ''Mankind'']].
11th Nov '15 3:25:50 PM margdean56
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* HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace: Dealt with in "Drunkboat" and "The Colonel Came Back from the Nothing-at-All", where Space Two and Three turn out to very, very strange places. Not that the interstellar void is any safer, with the Dragon [=/=] Rats lurking to eat human souls.

to:

* HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace: Dealt with in "Drunkboat" and "The Colonel Came Back from the Nothing-at-All", where Space Two and Three turn out to be very, very strange places. Not that the interstellar void is any safer, with the Dragon Dragons [=/=] Rats lurking to eat human souls.
11th Nov '15 3:22:00 PM margdean56
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* ElectricInstantGratification: For recreation and pain relief. Admiral Tedesco is so addicted to it, that he exceeds the legal usage and ignores his everything. The only thing that brings him out is the call to defend Earth.

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* ElectricInstantGratification: For recreation and pain relief. Admiral Tedesco is so addicted to it, that he exceeds the legal usage and ignores his everything. The only thing that brings him out is the call to defend Earth.
26th Sep '15 3:30:24 PM Nigel
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'''Cordwainer Smith''' was the pen name of Doctor Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger: ScienceFiction writer, poet, and psychological warfare expert. In fact, he ''literally'' wrote the book on psychological warfare -- the standard US Army textbook on the subject. He looked like a classic {{nerd}}, wrote weird little SF stories about cats, and was apparently regarded with respect by a generation of top US diplomatic/intelligence specialists. During the Korean War, he was asked to write a set of qualifications for the head of psychological operations for the US army; he got interested in the possibilities of the job and wrote a set of qualifications that only one person could meet: himself. He was a man of the world, but had particular ties to China and the Far East -- his godfather was Sun Yat-sen, and he and his father were confidants of Chiang Kai-shek. He also liked Australia.

to:

'''Cordwainer Smith''' was the pen name of Doctor Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger: ScienceFiction writer, poet, and psychological warfare expert. In fact, he ''literally'' wrote the book on psychological warfare -- the standard US Army textbook on the subject. He looked like a classic {{nerd}}, wrote weird little SF stories about cats, and was apparently regarded with respect by a generation of top US diplomatic/intelligence specialists. During the Korean War, he was asked to write a set of qualifications for the head of psychological operations for the US army; he got interested enough in the possibilities of the job and wrote a so set of qualifications things up that he was the only one person could meet: himself.qualified to do it. He was a man of the world, but had particular ties to China and the Far East -- his godfather was Sun Yat-sen, and he and his father were confidants of Chiang Kai-shek. He also liked Australia.
26th Sep '15 3:27:47 PM Nigel
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'''Cordwainer Smith''' was the pen name of Doctor Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger: ScienceFiction writer, poet, and psychological warfare expert. In fact, he ''literally'' wrote the book on psychological warfare -- the standard US Army textbook on the subject. He looked like a classic {{nerd}}, wrote weird little SF stories about cats, and was apparently regarded with respect by a generation of top US diplomatic/intelligence specialists. He was a man of the world, but had particular ties to China and the Far East -- his godfather was Sun Yat-sen, and he and his father were confidants of Chiang Kai-shek. He also liked Australia.

to:

'''Cordwainer Smith''' was the pen name of Doctor Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger: ScienceFiction writer, poet, and psychological warfare expert. In fact, he ''literally'' wrote the book on psychological warfare -- the standard US Army textbook on the subject. He looked like a classic {{nerd}}, wrote weird little SF stories about cats, and was apparently regarded with respect by a generation of top US diplomatic/intelligence specialists. During the Korean War, he was asked to write a set of qualifications for the head of psychological operations for the US army; he got interested in the possibilities of the job and wrote a set of qualifications that only one person could meet: himself. He was a man of the world, but had particular ties to China and the Far East -- his godfather was Sun Yat-sen, and he and his father were confidants of Chiang Kai-shek. He also liked Australia.



* FluffyTheTerrible: The "Kittons". Let's just say there's a good reason why they're sedated most of the time.

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* FluffyTheTerrible: The "Kittons"."Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons". Let's just say there's a good reason why they're sedated most of the time.
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