This is my favorite science fiction writer ever.

“The science-fiction writings of Cordwainer Smith consist of some twenty-odd short stories and two novels, which chart the history of an evolving civilisation over some fifteen thousand years. The history is internally consistent, and each story contributes to a coherent picture of the technological, social and spiritual development of the future described.”



Just the titles were so amazing: “Drunkboat,” “Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons,” “”The Queen of the Afternoon,” “Alpha Ralpha Boulevard,” “Scanners Live In Vain,” “Golden the Ship Was-Oh! Oh! Oh!” The man only published thirty stories or so, but he made them all count.

And then, of course, my favorite story and title, maybe my favorite SF story, ever, the one that begins:

“You already know the end—the immense drama of the Lord Jestocost, seventh of his line, and how the cat-girl C’mell initiated the vast conspiracy. But you do not know the beginning, how the first Lord Jestocost got his name, because of the terror and inspiration which his mother, Lady Goroke, obtained from the famous real-life drama of the dog-girl D’joan. It is even less likely that you know the other story—the one behind D’joan. This story is sometimes mentioned as the matter of the ‘nameless witch,’ which is absurd, because she really had a name. The name was ‘Elaine,’ an ancient and forbidden one.”


  1. I had never even heard of this dude before today but I just spent the past two hours reading all of his available online fiction. It’s amazing. So, thanks!

  2. Oh, no problem at all, it’s a pleasure to introduce anybody to Cordwainer Smith. You can get all the stories in one or two inexpensive volumes – I have no idea how many copies of the various editions I’ve given away over the years, but…more than any other books, that’s for sure. 

    I dunno how far you got into his real life details, but…they’re pretty fascinating, too. 

  3. Erica,

    I just emailed you, I think.  We are looking for a writer to work with high school and/or middle school students in southwestern PA.

    If you could be a candidate, please respond!

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