Just as strange as the hitherto largely unpublicized facts of Dr. Linebarger's career in science fiction are his own life and thought and the manner in which they helped shape his fiction. There are his childhood experiences in China, which may have helped him create the concept of the Instrumentality of Mankind as early as 1928 - not to mention giving him an empathy for strange societies and cultures. The years he spent engaged in psychological warfare were just as crucial. And there is the influence of his religious beliefs - which became of particular importance in 1960, when he wrote OLD NORTH AUSTRALIA, and which paradoxically both strengthened and weakened his vision in the subsequent stories centering on the revolt of the Underpeople and the Rediscovery of Man.
What sort of a man, then, was Dr. Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger? And what is the real significance of his science fiction, which -in spite of the reputation it has achieved -has yet to exert influence on the genre in more than the most superficial manner?
Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger was born
July 11, 1913, and but for his father's desire that he be a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore eligible for the presidency, the event would have taken place in China instead of Milwaukee.
Lilliam Bearden Linebarger, the second wife of Paul Myron Wentworth Linebarger, had been sent back to the States to give birth to their first son, and arrived with 13 days to spare. But Milwaukee was to be little more than a name on a birth certificate to the boy. Apart front vacation interludes in Washington and Long Beach, Calif., he was to spend his childhood in China, Germany, Prance, Hawaii and Japan - or in transit between two or more o~ those places.
The father, a member of the family that, under several spellings (Leyenberger, Lionberger, Lineberger, deLigneberger, vonLeinberg, etc), traced itself back to medieval Alsace and had branches in Switzerland, France and Germany, was political and local advisor to Sun Yat Sen - father of the Chinese Republic. He was author of nonfiction works on government and politics, and also later wrote poetry and fiction under the pseudonym of Paul Myron.
He had been born in 1871, the son of a minister, but soon showed a traditional Linebarger penchant for an adventurous life. Sent to Europe at age 16, he studied at Heidelberg for a while, then took his law degree at the University of Madrid in Spain. He fought in the Spanish-American War as a lieutenant in the First Illinois Cavalry -his first wife died at that time - and afterwards, his rare knowledge of Spanish law garnered him an appointment in 1900 as one of the first U.S. judges in the Philippines.
While serving as judge, under circumstances described by his son's widow, Mrs. Genevieve Linebarger, as "very romantic" he met Sun, then a struggling revolutionary seeking funds among overseas Chinese in his campaign to overthrow the Manchu dynasty. Sympathetic to the plight of China at that time, Judge Linebarger was converted to Sun's philosophy. He had inherited a small fortune and, in 1907, resigned his judgeship to become Sun's legal advisor without pay. He helped finance the revolution of 191i, even to procuring arms for Sun's forces.
Young Paul Myron Anthony was to become used to living in a world of political intrigue. "I grew up in a household where soldiers of fortune were common visitors, where secret messages were received and dispatched, where men left black satchels full of money in the front hall, much to my mother's consternation he later recalled.
Judge Linebarger was adopted into the Lin clan, friends of Sun, to serve as the "son" of a boy who died in childhood without having any descendants to worship him. Sun himself gave him the Chinese name "Lin Bah Kuh" or "Forest of 100 Victories~ - a pun on his Western surname. With the Chinese Republic established, the former judge took on the job of defending ~s interests in the extraterratorial courts of Shanghai. His second marriage took place at that time, in 1912.
When Paul Myron Anthony was born, it was hardly surprising for Sun to become his godfather, and for Yu Yu Jen, China's foremost calligrapher to choose for him the Chinese name "Lin Bah Loh" or "Forest of Incandescent Bliss". The name was a double pun, since "Bah Loh" is the Chinese equivalent of Paul. When, following World War II, the son had his two mainstream novels RIA and CAROLA published, he used a pun on his Chinese name, Felix C. Forrest, as a pseudonym.
Lin Bah Loh did not see much of China during his earliest years, however. Shortly after his birth, Yuan Shih-K'ai, whom Sun had helped install as president of China, decided he would rather be emperor. An attempt to depose him failed, and Sun had to flee to Japan.
Judge Linebarger joined Sun in Japan, and thus some of the earliest memories of Paul Myron Anthony were of the Inland Sea of Japan. He came to regard it as the most beautiful
Document scaning and conversion provided by Peter Barker
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