The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith - Cordwainer Smith, James A. Mann (Written September 2010): I am at an impasse. I have an enormous pile of fiction on the To-Read pile but I can't figure out which one to go with - Mieville? Sabatini? Himes? Warner? Winterson? Kleist?, und so weiter.

In the interim, while this existential struggle goes on, I have been rereading this collection of short stories from Cordwainer Smith (aka Paul Linebarger). It's hard to characterize Smith. Like Gene Wolfe, he's an author who I either really like or I really don't. The Shadow of the Torturer, Free Live Free are some of my favorite novels but I couldn't get through The Knight and stopped after the first book of The Long Sun series.

In a similar way, I love Smith's justly famous "Scanners Live in Vain" or "Think Blue, Count Two," "The Game of Rat and Dragon," or "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons," and the very name "Instrumentality of Mankind" sets my pulse racing, but I can't quite get my head around stories like "When the People Fell" or "Golden the Ship Was - Oh! Oh! Oh!"

But I have found that multiple perusals of some of these stories make me appreciate them more, e.g., "The Dead Lady of Clown Town" or "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard."

Check out "Scanners Live in Vain," and if you like it, check out Smith's other work; if you don't, he probably won't improve with further exposure.