Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yesterday's Tomorrows: Cordwainer Smith - Graham Sleight

"Strangeness, said John Gardner, is the one thing in fiction that cannot be faked. Strangeness is, famously, the defining characteristic of Cordwainer Smith's science fiction, and a good deal of ink is expended in the introductions of the books explaining where that strangeness comes from. (I may be about to do the same.) But strangeness, like newness or transgression, is something cultures are often able to adapt too quickly. So I was very curious, as I reread Smith's first published story, "Scanners Live in Vain" (1950), to see how distinctive it remained."

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