Lady Who Sailed The Soul"

a profile of Paul Linebarger-

- wordsmith extraordinary

"Martel was angry. He did not even adjust his blood away from anger .... "

For more than 15 years the greatest mystery in science fiction was the identity of the man whose career in the genre was believed to have begun with those opening lines from 'Scanners Live in Vain.'

Until the untimely death in 1966 of Dr. Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, one of America's most distinguished authorities on Far Eastern affairs and psychological warfare, most readers never learned that he was the man behind the almost legendary pseudonym of Cordwainer Smith, the creator of some of the most original and inventive science fiction ever written.

Yet in a larger sense the mystery was only beginning. Even today Smith remains perhaps the most perplexing and enigmatic writer in the annals of science fiction. Because of his secret identity his contacts with professionals in the genre were few, and with fans virtually none. Though a voracious reader' of science fiction from the age of ten he developed in almost total isolation from its main currents.

Not since Stanley G. Weinbaum had a science fiction writer shown such startling originality with his first appearance in a genre magazine. Like Weinbaum, he seemed to have "come out of nowhere" and to reflect no detectable influences by pervious writers. There, however, the parallels end.

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Updated May 12, 2015. If you have a comment about these web pages please send a note to the Fanac Webmaster. Thank you.