“On The Gem Planet,” Cordwainer Smith, 1963

“On The Gem Planet,” Cordwainer Smith, 1963 — A Casher O’Neill tale set in the second century of the “Rediscovery of Man” on planet Anderson.

Comments:  “Animals are always uncertain” (82).  Another Smith tale featuring animal-human hybrids. 

“On the Gem Planet” is a slice of Smith’s “universe: an adventure on the strange planet Pontoppidan, an airless world made of rubies and emeralds and amethysts, where the really valuable things are flowers and earthworms (which cost eight carats of diamond per worm), and nothing is more precious than dirt except, perhaps, life itself” (Gardner Dozois in Another World: Adventures in Otherness). 

Author: Wikipedia: “Cordwainer Smith…was the pseudonym 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…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.”  See also Carol McGuirk’s “The Rediscovery of Cordwainer Smith” in Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Jul., 2001), pp. 161-200.


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1960-1969, animals/insects, capitalism/Marxism, ecology/the environment, greed. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “On The Gem Planet,” Cordwainer Smith, 1963

  1. Joachim Boaz says:

    Still have not read a Smith short story… One of the greats still absent from my have read list.

    • jennre says:

      You, Joachim, have not read a Cordwainer Smith story? Unacceptable for any well-read SF fan. Read “Scanner Live in Vain” if you can.

      • Joachim Boaz says:

        Well, I take it back. I read Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons in his collection Space Lords but was so unimpressed that I quit reading the collection. I understand completely that it might not be one of his best works.

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