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Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith
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Norstrilia (original 1975; edition 1994)

by Cordwainer Smith

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Member:rspennington
Title:Norstrilia
Authors:Cordwainer Smith
Info:Framingham, MA : NESFA Press, 1994.
Collections:Your library
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Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith (1975)

Recently added byJeanGoodrich, usageunit, rudidorn, private library, Ayelin, whiten06, Chezsci, suzyrez
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» See also 21 mentions

English (11)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (14)
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http://shawjonathan.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/cordwainer-smiths-norstrilia/

Cordwainer Smith was a pseudonym of US author Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, who under his own name was Sun Yat Sen’s godson, an expert in psychological warfare and an adviser to the US military in a number of combats up to but not including Vietnam. He wrote quite a lot of science fiction of which this is his only novel, but many if not all of his short stories and novellas are set in the same universe as Norstrilia – and they leave tantalising traces in the narrative here, such as a number of references to the much feared but never explained Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons, or the likewise never explained ‘underhuman’ saint D’joan.

‘Norstrilia’ is a corruption of ‘North Australia’: the story begins and ends on the planet of Old North Australia 15 thousand or more years from now. The Norstrilians are fabulously rich but deliberately simple people, presumably based on the impressions Australians made on Linebarger when he spent six months in Canberra in the 1950s. The Norstrilians’ wealth comes from giant sheep, not from wool but from the by-product of a sickness that has infected all the flocks … The book is very funny, and full of bizarre inventions – such as a lethal sparrow the size of a football, or beings known as underhumans who are basically animals genetically engineered to have human intelligence and other qualities, or the more or less self-explanatory Department Store of Heart’s Desires, or a future Earth where illness and enmity have had to be artificially reinvented to stop humans from going extinct from boredom. Some of the inventions are of the ooh-he-thought-of-that-in-1964 variety (the novel was first published as two separate stories in the 1960s). There are computer networks, videophones and CCTV. There’s cheerful female-to-male transition (anatomical details passed over in discreet silence). The plot hinges on spectacular manipulation of the global financial markets, though as this is fantasy there is no crash. There’s a totally gorgeous cat underhuman, named (according to the internets) after Linebarger’s own cat. At one point the hero has to restrain himself from running to kiss his computer – a moment imagined 40 years before the iPhone was invented. And there’s a revolutionary movement motivated, almost certainly without deliberate reference to Che, by love both for the oppressed and the oppressor.

It’s a rollicking read, rarely a dull moment, that reminds me of why I love genre fiction. ( )
  shawjonathan | Oct 9, 2013 |
An odd coming of age story of sorts. It reads like a transitional form between Arthur Clarke and Ursula Le Guin. ( )
  djfiander | Feb 19, 2012 |
Cordwainer Smith (not his real name is an interesting author writing in the sci-fi genre. He wrote a series of short stories and Norstrilia his only novel. When he was not writing sci-fi he was a member of the Foreign Policy association and professor of Asiatic Politics at John Hopkins University. he is well thought of in the sci- fi fraternity with his short stories and Nostrilia both considered as classics in the field.

He had a fantastic imagination and his stories mostly written in the late 1950's and early 1960's are a delight. No hard science here just pure 50's sci-fi, mostly well written and featuring a cast of brilliant characters. For those that are familiar with the short stories then this novel which is set in the distant future will provide another good read. The Lords of the Instrumentality, C'mell the girlygirl catwoman. the go-captains, Mother Hittons Littul Kittons (a defence system) and the underpeople all feature. What more do you want? ( )
1 vote baswood | Dec 31, 2011 |
ZB13
  mcolpitts | Aug 15, 2009 |
A little bit of Australian satire in Norstrilia. e.g. Northern Australia. This is the only place in the galaxy that the sheep who produce an immortality product can be raised. This causes Norstrilia to be the richest place in the g alaxy.

That sort of money will alwa ys cause problems.

The people of Norstrilia are happy as they are, and don't want people coming there, or to go out and take over the universe.

The main character here thinks differently, and hence gets into a ton of trouble, taking his money out into space.

He'll need Lord Jestocost and C'Mell to get him out alive.

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2006/12/norstrilia-cordwainer-smith.html ( )
  bluetyson | Dec 11, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cordwainer Smithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Avon, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berkey, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0915368617, Hardcover)

This is the first American hardcover edition of Cordwainer Smith's only SF novel. Originally published as two paperbacks. Includes an introduction by Alen C. Elms.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:47 -0400)

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