The SCI-FI Writer Who Invented Conspiracy Theory (1 Viewer)

Steve R.

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Jul 5, 2006
Paul Linebarger (Alias Cordwainer Smith) was an excellent author. I had been reading his stories individually over the span of many years, but never fully appreciated his greatness till I read his works compiled into one book: The Rediscovery of Man. Surprising how much insight you can get by reading the author's work in a short-time when compiled into one book. That book is a must read.

The Atlantic contends that he invented conspiracy theory. To me that is a bit stretched. True, Linebarger's universe is under the influence of an autocratic regime (The Instrumentality). However I don't recall the characters as: 1) as developing paranoia because something is wrong, and 2) subsequently discovering that the government is out-to-get-them. The characters, more or less, just accepted life in that repressive society (As I think about it, there do appear to be some stories that fit the theme of the Atlantic article, but I still consider the Atlantic's interpretation to be stretched.) The Goodreads blurb wrote: "This brilliant collection, often cited as the first of its kind, explores fundamental questions about ourselves and our treatment of the universe (and other beings) around us and ultimately what it means to be human." I find the Goodreads blurb to be more accurate than the narrative contained in the Atlantic article. But then you need to consider that the Atlantic is a left wing rag.

My favorite Linebarger story is the "Lady Who Sailed the Soul". A very emotional story.
In any event, reading Linebarger's stories is a must.
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