The Remakable Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith



[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 did.

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 Cordwainer Smith.

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 Silverberg."

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 (, 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 aspire."

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 Award.

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 Daughter.

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.)

About and the Cordwainer Smith Foundation

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 (also reachable as, recently selected for prestigious notice by

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 many ways."

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.




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 Letters from Paul, by Paul M. A. Linebarger
 Letters from Paul: One Letter
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 Concordance to Cordwainer Smith, by Anthony Lewis
 The Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, by Karen Hellekson
 Exploring Cordwainer Smith, Booklet by Andrew Porter
 Where You Can Get Books
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 Cordwainer Smith, the Author
 A Cordwainer Smith Panel Discussion
 Scholarly Corner, by Alan C. Elms
 What Other Science Fiction Authors Say
 What Readers Say
 Paul M. A. Linebarger, the Man
 Family Photos
 A Daughter's Memories
 Was Paul Linebarger Kirk Allen?
 His Arlington National Cemetery Bio and My Comments
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 Rambling 1: Shakespeare Had It Wrong
 Rambling 2: The Return of C'mell, Sort Of
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 Pierre Lacombe
 Craig Moore
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 2011 Katherine MacLean
 2010 Mark Clifton
 2009 A. Merritt
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 2007 Daniel F Galouye
 2006 William Hope Hodgson
 2005 Leigh Brackett
 Leigh Brackett: Her Biography
 2004 Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore
 2003 Edgar Pangborn
 2002 R. A. Lafferty
 2001 Olaf Stapledon
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 Illustrated Bibliography, by Mike Bennett
 Introduction to the Illustrated Bibliography
 All the Stories and All the Books
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 Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger - Chronology
 Press Releases
 2008 Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award Goes to Stanley G. Weinbaum
 2002: About the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award
 2001: First Rediscovery Award Ceremony
 2001: Creation of Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award