NEW CORDWAINER SMITH REDISCOVERY AWARD IS CREATED
JURORS TO BE JOHN CLUTE, GARDNER DOZOIS, SCOTT EDELMAN, AND
[For Immediate Release]
(Crestone, Colorado, 6/1/01) The Cordwainer Smith Foundation
announces the establishment of the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery
Award, an annual literary award for forgotten SF classics. The
jurors also have the option each year of awarding a Cordwainer
Smith Discovery Award for contemporary writers who achieve high
literary standards and create a sense of wonder, as Smith
The awards and the newly-formed Foundation grew out of a
website that one of Smith's daughters began last year. "It's
been an astonishing experience of 'build it and they will
come,' " comments Rosana Hart. "Just for fun, I created
about my father's life and work. I soon found out that his
stories are still widely read and deeply loved worldwide.
The impetus for these awards was to share the wealth, so to
speak-to bring to public attention works by others that are
also deserving of further notice." Hart and her sister are
the children of Paul M. A. Linebarger who attained SF
greatness for the stories he wrote in the 1950s and 1960s as
John Clute, Gardner Dozois, Scott Edelman, and Robert
Silverberg have agreed to be the founding jurors for the
Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award. Nonvoting ex-officio jurors
will include two members of the Foundation: Rosana Hart and Dr.
Alan C. Elms, immediate past president of the Science Fiction
Research Association. Eleanor Lang has agreed to serve as
founding executive director for the award.
About the Jurors
Dr. Elms comments, "First, the Cordwainer Smith Foundation
wanted figures who are esteemed for having the highest
standards of critical capability in the field. Second, we
sought figures with an encyclopedic knowledge of SF. Finally,
we sought people who had spontaneously demonstrated a
particular appreciation for the quality and significance of the
work of Cordwainer Smith. We quickly arrived at a short list of
four people who thoroughly exemplify those qualities: John
Clute, Gardner Dozois, Scott Edelman and Robert
Robert Silverberg is the dean of living SF
writer/editors. Silverberg has won five Nebulas and four Hugos,
and has received more major award nominations than any other SF
writer. In addition to his prolific output as a writer,
Silverberg has left a definitive imprint on the field of SF by
his genre-defining editorial work and by his long personal
devotion to the field.
Gardner Dozois has won eleven Hugos for his
work as editor of Asimov's, the most influential
magazine in contemporary science fiction. Publishers
Weekly has noted that "Dozois is to the 1980s and 1990s
what John W. Campbell, Jr. was to the 1940s and 1950s - the
finest editor in the world of short SF."
John Clute co-authored the definitive
reference books on science fiction and fantasy, the 1.3 million
word Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (which Samuel R.
Delany called "...the most intelligent, wide-ranging, and
richest reference work on science fiction ever assembled") and
The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, among many other works.
He has won three Hugos and many other awards.
Scott Edelman is the Editor-in-Chief of Science Fiction
Weekly (www.scifi.com/sfw), the Internet
magazine of news, reviews and interviews. With 191,000+
subscribers, Science Fiction Weekly is one of the most
successful and powerful contemporary media outlets in SF. Prior
to this, Edelman was the creator and only editor of the
award-winning Science Fiction Age magazine from 1991 to 2000.
He was also the editor of Sci-Fi Entertainment, the
official magazine of the Sci-Fi Channel, for four years, and
has edited other SF media magazines such as Sci-Fi
Universe and Sci-Fi Flix. He has been a Hugo
Award finalist for Best Editor on four occasions.
"We are very gratified that the Foundation's first choices
all agreed to serve on the jury," Dr. Elms stated. "That is a
high tribute to the magic of the Cordwainer Smith name. This
group represents an unprecedented collection of superb critical
judgment and encyclopedic expertise. In terms of group memory,
they know all the SF worth reading from the past century. The
Cordwainer Smith Foundation expresses its profound gratitude
that such eminent and busy figures have agreed to undertake the
responsibility of choosing an annual winner of the Cordwainer
Smith Rediscovery Award."
As the Award by-laws provide, "The Awards Committee shall
choose for the Rediscovery Award a science fiction or fantasy
writer whose work deserves renewed attention or 'Rediscovery.'
This writer's work should display unusual originality and
should embody the spirit of Cordwainer Smith's fiction,
according to one or more criteria identified by the Awards
Committee from time to time.
"The Awards Committee may, at its discretion and in addition
to its Rediscovery Award, choose a Cordwainer Smith Recognition
Award winner, to recognize a science fiction writer of high
promise whose work embodies the spirit of Cordwainer Smith's
fiction and, in the opinion of the Committee, is exemplary of
the standards to which science fiction and fantasy should
The date for the first award is to be set by the jury and a
decision is expected soon. The Foundation does not currently
encourage unsolicited submissions for consideration for the
About the Executive Director
The Foundation is pleased to announce that Eleanor
Lang has agreed to serve as executive director for the
award. Miss Lang is a Digital Media executive, formerly of
Random House's Del Rey imprint, where she was instrumental in
launching its critically acclaimed Impact line of rediscovered
SF and fantasy classics. She helped bring back into print
important works such as Dunsany's The King of Elfland's
She will oversee ongoing Committee business and handle
communications to and from publishers, writers, fans and other
members of the science fiction and fantasy communities. The
Foundation expresses its gratitude to her for the role she will
play in assisting the jury and helping to integrate the
Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award into the intellectual and
popular heart of the world of science fiction.
About Cordwainer Smith
The members of the jury have made the following statements
about Cordwainer Smith:
John Clute: "First, genuflect, genuflect: The Rediscovery of
Man collects between one set of covers all the short fictions
of the unmatchable, unthinkable Cordwainer Smith. All are
magnificently weird, most are plain magnificent, and one or two
are the nearest thing to perfection that you or I will ever
chance upon in our little lives." (Interzone)
Gardner Dozois: "If, when I was a young would-be writer,
struggling for a glimpse of the Light from out of the stifling
provincial darkness., some supernatural agency had given me the
chance to put on the saffron robe of an acolyte and sit at the
feet of the writer of my choice, learning all that I could
learn, I would have, without any hesitation, picked Cordwainer
Smith as the Master at whose feet I would sit." (Modern
Classics of Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois, St.
Martin's Press, New York, 1991.)
Scott Edelman: "Sifting through tens of thousands of
manuscripts in the slush pile over the years for Science
Fiction Age, what I always hoped I would find is another
Cordwainer Smith. Too many beginning writers are timid, fearful
of stepping over the boundary separating the day after tomorrow
from the vast, rich, unexplored universe beyond. Better than
any writer we've yet seen, Smith represents the sense of awe
and wonder that is the heart of science fiction."
Robert Silverberg: "One essential component of great science
fiction is strangeness. The story must take the reader
someplace new and show him something he has never seen before.
. Cordwainer Smith's 'Scanners Live in Vain,' one of the
classic stories of science fiction, provides that essential
degree of strangeness in two ways: by sheer originality of
concept, and by a deceptive and eerie simplicity of narrative.
It was the first published story of a remarkable man and a
remarkable writer, and when it appeared in 1950 - in what was
little more than an amateur magazine - it set off
reverberations that opened the way for an extraordinary career.
For me it was a revelation. I read it over and over, astonished
by its power. It had for me the fundamental science-fiction
quality that I had been searching for ever since I discovered
Wells' Time Machine and Lovecraft's Shadow Out of Time, and for
which I continue to search to this day, some forty years later:
it thrust me into a place that was utterly new to me, and
imbued me with a residue of haunting images and impressions and
feelings that I knew would never leave me." (Science Fiction
101; Robert Silverberg's Worlds of Wonder, edited and with an
introduction by Robert Silverberg, ibooks, New York, 2001.)
Cordwainer Smith's literary estate is owned and managed by
Paul Linebarger's two daughters. Last year, his daughter Rosana
Hart opened a website at www.cordwainer-smith.com
(also reachable as cordwainersmith.com), recently selected for
prestigious notice by www.scifi.com.
On her site, she shares thoughts and reminiscences about her
father, along with unique family memorabilia such as
never-before-published photographs. The site also offers
exceptional merchandise, such as a CD of the only known
recording of Cordwainer Smith, reading his novelette On the
Sand Planet -- a compelling listening experience. In addition,
the site features numerous links and a guest registry, where
comments about Cordwainer Smith are posted by fans from all
over the world.
Rosana Hart comments, "My own interests and knowledge are
primarily outside of science fiction, and I'm very grateful to
the people who have inspired, advised and assisted me in so
Joining Hart and her sister as directors of the Cordwainer
Smith Foundation are Alan C. Elms, Professor of Psychology at
UC Davis, who is completing the definitive biography of Paul
Linebarger, and Ralph Benko, a Washington, DC consultant and
1969 Clarion workshop alumnus, who originally suggested the
formulation of an award in Cordwainer Smith's name and was
active in structuring it and recruiting its jury.
The Cordwainer Smith Foundation will promote the celebration
and study of the works of Cordwainer Smith, through the
Cordwainer Smith awards, the website and its associated ezine,
and other projects. The Foundation will also promote the
understanding of the life of Paul M. A. Linebarger, and will
help keep alive the high ideals which are at the core of
Cordwainer Smith's work.