About 'The Rediscovery of Cathay: Chinese Elements in Cordwainer Smith's Science Fiction'

This essay is in fact my dissertation for the 2003/4 MA course in Science Fiction Studies in the University of Liverpool. I must admit that I had taken advantage of my cultural background to choose such a topic, but it seemed to be the only topic I was able to work on and achieve some contribution to the sf academic field.

After my graduation, I tried to revise the original dissertation and cut down some contents, and then submit the shortened version to Science Fiction Studies. The co-editors showed their interest in this essay, but it needed further condensing. Dr. Carol McGuirk did give me a graeat deal of useful advice, however, I could hardly find time to rewrite this essay due to some reasons about my family and day-time jobs, and I finally gave up the project. Now I decide to post the original form on my blog, and hope that it could be helpful for future studies on Cordwainer Smith.

This essay is aimed to search for evidences of the traditional Chinese literary and cultural influences on Cordwainer Smith's science fictional work. It is divided into four chapters: the first one is to compare Smith's narrative structures with the traditional Chinese storytelling method, and discuss their similarities and differences; chapter two makes another comparison between Smith's only novel Norstrilia and the famous Chinese fantastic work The Journey to the West; the third chapter clarifies the influences from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and explains miscellaneous Chinese origins which could be clearly observed in Smith's oeuvre; the last chapter pays more attention to the 'non-human' intelligent beings, and discusses whether their creations have something to do with Chinese backgrounds. The Introduction section also clarifies the meaning of the Linebargers', both the father's and the son's Chinese names.

Introduction: Mr. Forest of Incandescent Bliss

Chapter One: The Instrumentality of Storytelling

Chapter Two: The Journey to the Old Old Earth

Chapter Three: The Romance of Jwindz's Kingdom

Chapter Four: The Game of Human Nonhumans

Afterword: The Glory of Humanity


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