Cordwainer Smith

Cordwainer Smith
Smith, c. early 1960s
Smith, c. early 1960s
BornPaul Myron Anthony Linebarger
(1913-07-11)July 11, 1913
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US
DiedAugust 6, 1966(1966-08-06) (aged 53)
Baltimore, Maryland
OccupationWriter, professor, military officer
NationalityAmerican
EducationPhD in political science
Alma materJohns Hopkins University
Period1937–1965
GenreScience fiction
SubjectEast Asia political science, psychological warfare
Notable works"Scanners Live in Vain"
Psychological Warfare
SpouseMargaret Snow
Genevieve Collins
ChildrenSeveral
RelativesSun Yat-sen (godfather)
Smith's first professionally published sf story, "Scanners Live in Vain", originally appeared in Fantasy Book in 1950
Smith's novelette The Ballad of Lost C'Mell was the cover story on the October 1962 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction
Smith's novelette "Drunkboat" took the cover of the October 1963 issue of Amazing Stories

Cordwainer Smith (ər/ KORD-way-nər)[1] was the pen-name used by American author Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (July 11, 1913 – August 6, 1966) for his science fiction works. Linebarger was a noted East Asia scholar and expert in psychological warfare. ("Cordwainer" is an archaic word for "a worker in cordwain or cordovan leather; a shoemaker",[2] and a "smith" is "one who works in iron or other metals; esp. a blacksmith or farrier":[2] two kinds of skilled workers with traditional materials.)Linebarger also employed the literary pseudonyms "Carmichael Smith" (for his political thriller Atomsk), "Anthony Bearden" (for his poetry) and "Felix C. Forrest" (for the novels Ria and Carola). He died of a heart attack in 1966 at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 53.

Early life and education

Linebarger was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father was Paul M. W. Linebarger, a lawyer and political activist with close ties to the leaders of the Chinese revolution of 1911. As a result of those connections, Linebarger's godfather was Sun Yat-sen, considered the father of Chinese nationalism.[3]

While Sun Yat-sen was struggling against contentious warlords in China, Linebarger's father moved his family between a variety of places in Asia, Europe, and the United States and sometimes sent his son to boarding schools for safety; Linebarger attended more than 30 schools. In 1919 at a boarding school in Hawaii he was blinded in his right eye; the vision in his remaining eye was impaired by infection.[3]

Linebarger was familiar with six languages by adulthood. At the age of 23, he received a PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University.[3]