Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Intricate World of Cordwainer Smith - Ross Hetherington

"Every one of Smith’s stories takes place within a single, projected future history spanning 14,000 years from the present (a history which has only ever been incompletely reconstructed – Linebarger lost his one notebook to a sailing trip). In them, after global collapse near to our present time, there is founded a single governing power – The Instrumentality of Mankind. Though the Instrumentality is willing to use any means at its disposal to preserve humanity, its dictatorship is neither that of abstract utilitarian computation, nor of pure bureaucracy. The Lords of the Instrumentality, when we meet them, are human, whatever methuselan age they have lived to, or whatever skills and technologies they employ. And, however vast and rigid the hierarchy sits under them, they retain their individuality and autonomy. Ultimately, that they will serve humanity above all other concerns is a matter of trust in the subtle wisdom of the system they serve." 3.5 out of 5