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Norstrilia [Mass Market Paperback]

Cordwainer Smith
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 1979
This is the only novel Cordwainer Smith ever wrote during his distinguished career. It tells the story of a boy form the planet Old North Australia (where rich, simple farmers grow the immortality drug Stroon), how he bought Old Earth, and how his visit to Earth changed both him and Earth itself."Vividly drawn and wonderfully suggestive...confirms that Cordwainer Smith was one of science fiction's most original writers." -- "Science Fiction: The Best 100 Novels""Better than any writer we've yet seen, Smith represents the sense of awe and wonder that is the heart of science fiction." -- Scott Edelman, "Science Fiction Age"
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc. (Sep 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345278003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345278005
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,647,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

¿Vividly drawn and wonderfully suggestive... One of science fiction¿s most original writers¿ Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Cordwainer Smith was the pseudonym of Dr Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (1913-1966). He grew up in China, Japan, France and Germany and had learned six languages by his late teens. He worked with his father as an adviser to Chiang Kai-shek and served as an intelligence officer in China and Korea. He wrote an authoritative book on psychological warfare and became a member of the Foreign Policy Association and a professor of Asiatic Politics at John Hopkins University. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheep, Stamps, and Real Treasures 14 Sep 2009
Like just about all of his other work, this, Smith's only sf novel, is both unique and highly lyrical. Set within his universe of the Instrumentality of Mankind, it's the story of Rod McBan, 16 year-old heir to his family fortune, which is based on the stroon (a drug that provides near-immortality) his family farm produces from genetically modified giant sheep, if only he can survive the testing that all inhabitants of Norstralia (Old North Australia) must go through to prove their basic competence and genetic purity. But Rod has problems, being a 'broad-band' telepath instead of the normal type, and he can only pass this test after multiple tries. Worse, he's not sure if he really wants to be part of the very conservative Norstralian society, and concocts a scheme in conjunction with his (proscribed) war games computer to manipulate the galactic futures market, with the net result of his suddenly becoming the owner of Old Old Earth, just so Rod can obtain an old postage stamp. And that's just the beginning.

This book sprawls across the landscape that Smith built over the years in various short stories, which are collected in The Rediscovery of Man, and I highly recommend that that volume be read prior to this, as otherwise many items that are only mentioned in passing here will either not make sense or will not provide the intended resonance. Mother Hitton's Little Kittens, Shayol, the various Lords of the Instrumentality, the Underpeople (most especially the cat-girl C'Mell): each of these has a back-story detailed in some of these other stories. And you'll want to catch each of these nuances, for the story here is as engrossing as it is odd, and the universe it details is something you'll wish you could know more about.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable 15 July 2000
By A Customer
I first read this book at least ten years ago. I keep remembering the huge mutated sheep, C'Mell the lost cat woman (I'd love to find the "Ballad of lost C'Mell"), and the computer that beat the Earth's Weather Machine. I wanted to read Norstrilia again. We should start a Cordwainer Smith revival.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Norstrillia 28 Mar 2004
An Excellent book, almost as good as the Rediscovery of Man. (The Rediscovery of man is a collection of short stories)
Its a fantastic alien picture of our far future with Human derived populations spread across the universe, robots and underpeople serve every need yet human intrigue and danger abound, its very absorbing and believeable. I don't like much science fiction but Cordwainer Smith is as good as Asimov in my book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts on this classic fantasy 1 Mar 2003
Cordwainer Smith was one of the best. I do not think it necessary to disparage the modern crowd. Perhaps Terry Pratchett is a C-S fan, who knows. Also be careful with the interpretation, maybe he is more liberal than you think. The Lords of the Instrumentality were not the good guys, exactly. Note also that there is some religeous undertones (thankfully very inexplicit), the fish represents Christianity. (Paul Linebarger, aka C-S was Christian). Despite this, as a non believer, I find it bewitching and enthralling. Have done for many years. In answer to an earlier post, the Balland of Lost C'Mell is in the collection Rediscovery of Man. I think it is. But I don't have it. Here is my attempt at recollection from many years ago .. "This is the ballad of what she did, Hid the Bell with a blot she did, but she fell in love with a hominid, where is the which of the what she did ?" Or something like that...
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A dark heart to a witty fantasy 25 Feb 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Cordwiainer Smith was writing witty, imaginative sf long before Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett et al cheapened the idea. At the heart of Cordwainer Smith's future history lies the Instrumentality of Mankind; a benovolent force able to see beyond the considerations of easy liberalism. I think that the authors experience of the Far East and Pentagon subterfuge informs his work as he often attempts to explain the motivation of rulers, spies and mystics This book has many faults, being whimsical, episodic and leaving much unexplained. But it still constitutes a major imaginative achievement unlike any other in sf or fantasy.
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