book review: space lords

Oh man Cordwainer Smith is a pretty awesome writer, even if that isn’t his real name. Which it isn’t. Space Lords is a book of short stories set in a far distant future where they’ve decided to bring back languages and nations and all that because perfect efficiency was kind of boring, but it’s also a book of old stories. He retells Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, and the tale of Joan of Arc and the life of Rimbaud and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dante’s Inferno. In a couple of hundred pages. He’s got this very Stanislaw Lem-like mythicalness to his storytelling, making these things feel timeless. So good. In the last story there’s a planet where people grow extra organs so they can be harvested. It’s so outlandish the way it’s done it has nothing on something like Never Let Me Go, but it’s also so passionate. There’s no reserve there, just a story told well. I like it and its pulpiness because science fiction is a genre of ideas, right? And this was full of them.

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