Cordwainer Smith Illustrated Bibliography,
by Mike Bennett
This is a humble tribute to one of most original writers that science fiction has ever known: Cordwainer Smith, pen name of Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger. His bold and inspired visions of the future have been admired by such noteworthies as Ursula K. LeGuin, Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison. Unfortunately, in a short career that barely spanned a decade, he left us little more than one novel and thirty-four stories. But such is the power of these stories that, in all the years since his death, they have refused to be forgotten and most are still in print today.
The bibliography you are reading has been a labour of love. The publication of The Instrumentality of Mankind in 1979 brought to my attention several of his stories that I had never seen before. I decided to find a comprehensive Cordwainer Smith checklist but the failure of my search coincided with the realization that I had already collected enough material to write one myself!
No sooner said than begun. But as the fifth year as researcher went by, I realized that the completion of this checklist is an arbitrary point. Since all of my work was involved with researching the various editions of all the anthologies in which any of his stories have appeared, the amount of unfinished work had been increasing exponentially while the actual value of the information was decreasing steadily. And since it seemed more important that the work be used by concerned individuals, my work was deemed done, leaving further exploration into the eternal and dusty halls of research to more intrepid souls.
The bibliography you are reading has posed a serious dilemma for me. What I wanted was a Cordwainer Smith checklist. In my talks with Chris Drumm, the original checklist's publisher, we both agreed that at least a bibliographical nod of the head should go to the rest of Paul M. A. Linebarger's work. As I unearthed more and more articles, novels and scholarly works, I began to realize that Cordwainer Smith was but one facet of a fascinating and quite brilliant man. It seemed unfair to ignore the non-science-fictional material and yet to include it would overwhelm the checklist, making Cordwainer Smith's works hard to find and provide no continuity. Since Paul M. A. Linebarger kept his public life completely separate from his science fiction career, we shall do the same. The result you now see: A Cordwainer Smith Checklist, with a Paul M. A. Linebarger Checklist appended.
Notes on this Edition
Drumm Booklet #37 (1991)
Help File 1.0 (July 2000)
Help File 1.1 (November 2000)
HTML Web Page 1.0 (March 2002)
HTML Web Pages 2.0 (July 2008)
My original checklist was published by Chris Drumm as Drumm Booklet #37 in 1991, several years after I had finished my research and submitted it to him. I was pleased to see it in print and to put the work down for a while. Since then, Ria has been reprinted by Jwindz and NESFA has reprinted all of CS's stories in 2 beautiful volumes. The short story collection includes the long-lost "War No. 81-Q"'s revised edition and the shamefully delayed "Himself In Anachron" while Norstrilia is complete with the crazy-quilt of additions and changes added to the original manuscript.
These events, along with the growth of the Web as a publishing medium, stimulated my interest in updating the checklist and placing into a new and more changeable format.
When I was writing the original checklist, I noticed that reprinting of the stories in anthology editions was starting to overwhelm the original printing and book entries. And when I started this edition, I expected to simply reprint the checklist in help file format but the problem of the anthology listings remain: they increase the size of the checklist at the expense of clarity and interest. So I have decided to omit all anthology reprintings, listing only original printings and books issued under the name of Cordwainer Smith, PMAL or any other pseudonym. Paul M. A. Linebarger entries will continue to have their own checklist as explained in the Introduction.
I wanted to extend thanks to two very important people who have affected the final result you see: Alan Elms for his eagle eyes and patience and Rosana Hart for selflessly allowing herself to be the focal point for all of us Cordwainer Smith fans.
The research for this Help File began in the usual reference books like Contenta's and Strauss' indices and Currey's bibliography. As my lists grew longer, I did much checking of second-hand bookstores and library scouring, to the point of checking all the anthologies I could find!
There are 2 items that are recommended reading:
- Concordance to Cordwainer Smith, by Anthony Lewis:a thorough cross-reference of details, names and places in the Instrumentality Series
- Science Fiction Review #48, Fall 1983: has J.J. Pierce's article "Treasure of the Secret Cordwainer" which is about unpublished stories, revisions and a multitude of CS miscellany. Write to: Science Fiction Review, Box 11408, Portland, OR 97211
[Update from Rosana: the Concordance can be purchased online; the link above takes you to my page about it. I didn't find a way to purchase the Science Fiction Review issue online and don't know if that address is still current. Interlibrary loan is a possibility for that item.]
AAAPSS Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
CS Cordwainer Smith
PMAL Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
PMWL Paul Myron Wentworth Linebarger, PMAL's father
Have you met C'Mell, the cat girlygirl who helped Rod McBan achieve his heart's desires?
Or Rod himself, the Norstrilian boy who inadvertently bought Old Earth one night?
Or Martel, the scanner who was cranched at a crucial moment?
No? Then you are one of the lucky ones. You can look forward to meeting the strange mind of Cordwainer Smith.
Yes? Then extend your acquaintance here... Wherever on Earth you come from... and Cordwainer Smith fans come from every continent including Antarctica.... you will find much to interest you on this website.
When we emerge from one of Smith's science fiction stories, it is with a sense of enrichment. Life seems sometimes more tragic, sometimes more luminous...
But don't take my word for it... I am his daughter, and not exactly objective. (That does not mean I am all-adoring. Nothing that relates to Cordwainer Smith is simple, and growing up under the influence of that mind was not a simple matter.)
To keep up with Cordwainer Smith news, and comments of fans, see my blog. You can also contribute your own Cordwainer Smith thoughts there, via comments.
His Effect on Other Science Fiction Authors
Cordwainer Smith has had a tremendous effect on the field of science fiction.
Ursula LeGuin spoke of Smith's "obstinate idealism."
James Patrick Kelly said in one of his award-winning stories:
|"I was reading Galaxy. I even remember the story: 'The Ballad of Lost C'Mell' by Cordwainer Smith. The squirrels must have been chittering for some time, but I was too engrossed by Lord Jestocost's problems to notice."|
Robert Silverberg and many others have credited Smith with pointing the way to new areas for science fiction to explore. Many writers have tried to imitate his style, not an easy thing to copy well.
He died in 1966, just as his fame was beginning to blossom. And that was when it became known that Cordwainer Smith was a pseudonym for Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, a scholar, a diplomat, a spy, a military man, a science fiction author, and more.
| "Better than any writer we've yet seen, Smith represents the sense of awe and wonder that is the heart of science fiction."|
What Readers Say about Cordwainer Smith
This website is a result of readers' comments. Late one night in the year 2000, I was at amazon.com, and I wondered what reaction my father was getting there. So I began reading the readers' reviews, and there were so many people who loved the stories!
- Someone had cried upon learning that Cordwainer Smith had died and thus there would be no more stories.
- Someone else had learned to read in order to read Smith's science fiction stories.
The next morning I sat down and outlined this site.
Now, you can read more readers' comments. If you'd like to add your own to this site, you can do it via the blog.
--Rosana Hart, webmaster and daughter of Cordwainer Smith