The Instrumentality of Mankind, Cordwainer Smith's future history, ranks with the greatest creations of science fiction. Set in that future history, Norstrilia is the only SF novel Smith wrote. It tells the story of the boy from 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.
This new edition of Norstrilia corrects a number of errors and omissions in the previous versions. It adds an appendix containing a full chapter of bridging material written by Smith when he broke Norstrilia into two shorter novels for its original publication as The Planet Buyer and The Underpeople. It also includes text removed from the magazine versions. Alan C. Elms, a noted Smith scholar, provides an introduction. This volume is a companion to NESFA Press' The Rediscovery of Man and finally brings back into print all of Cordwainer Smith's SF.
Norstrilia was Smith's only SF novel. It was originally published in two pieces. The first, The Planet Buyer, was published before his death, and the second, The Underpeople was published posthumously. When Smith disassembled Norstrilia for publication, he wrote nearly a chapter of new bridging material. This NESFA Press edition of Norstrilia follows Smith's original text, but includes the added bridging material as an appendix.
Table of Contents
- Introduction by Alan C. Elms
- Appendix: Variant Texts [bridging material from The Planet Buyer and The Underpeople]
NESFA Press also publishes The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith and Concordance to Cordwainer Smith.
Cordwainer Smith was a pseudonym for Dr. Paul Linebarger. Linebarger was born in Milwaukee in 1913, but grew up in Japan, China, France and Germany. He was the godson of Sun Yat-Sen, the President of China. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins when he was 23.
His first professional science fiction story, "Scanners Live in Vain," was published in Fantasy Book in 1950. (Before turning to science fiction, he wrote three mainstream/thriller novels Atomsk, Ria and Carolla, and was the author of Psychological Warfare, an early text in its field.) It wasn't until the mid-fifties, though, that Frederik Pohl encouraged Smith to write more. Most of his science fiction was written between 1955 and 1966. He died in 1966.
Cordwainer Smith's daughter has set up a web site about him and his work.
30 bound page proofs were produced and sent to library, etc. review journals (with an official publication date of March 1, 1995). Extra copies were sold at cost—$30.
1994, LC# 94-68979, 1200 copies, $21.00 (CDN$33.00), special pre-publication price (including shipping) at ConAdian (1994 World Science Fiction Convention), $21.95, later raised to $22.00. January 1995