Extrapolation

Becoming a Child of the Future

Implied Reader and Narratee in Cordwainer Smith’s Science Fiction

Extrapolation (2019), 60, (2), 117–132.

Abstract

This article uses narrative theory to explain how Cordwainer Smith’s stories exploit the cognitive distance between implied reader and narratee. To narratees imagined as futuristic children, and to implied readers expert in interpreting the sf megatext, Smith’s garrulous but fallible narrators recount their Future Histories in the form of legends shaped by multiple older layers of narrative, thus creating a unique cognitive estrangement that highlights the differences in historical knowledge between his narratees and his ideal readers.

Access Token
£25.00

Works Cited

Aldiss, Brian W., and David Wingrove. Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction. Athenaeum, 1986. Google Scholar

Angenot, Marc. “The Absent Paradigm: An Introduction to the Semiotics of Science Fiction.” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 6, no.1, 1971, pp. 9–19. Google Scholar

Asimov, Isaac. The Foundation Trilogy. Del Rey, 1983. Google Scholar

Attebery, Brian. Decoding Gender in Science Fiction. Routledge, 2002. Google Scholar

Bleiler, E. F., editor. Science Fiction Writers: Critical Studies of the Major Authors from the Early Nineteenth Century to the Present Day. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982. Google Scholar

Booth, Wayne C. The Rhetoric of Fiction. 2nd ed., U of Chicago P, 1982. Google Scholar

Broderick, Damien. Reading by Starlight: Postmodern Science Fiction. Routledge, 1995. Google Scholar

Carr, Edward Hallett. What Is History? Knopf, 1962. Google Scholar

Chatman, Seymour. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. Cornell UP, 1978. Google Scholar

Clute, John. “Cordwainer Smith.” The Science Fiction Encyclopedia. Edited by Peter Nicholls, Doubleday, 1979. Google Scholar

Davis, Robert Con, editor. Contemporary Literary Criticism: Modernism through Post-Structuralism. Longman, 1985. Google Scholar

Delany, Samuel. The American Shore. Dragon Press, 1978. Google Scholar

Delany, Samuel. Starboard Wine: More Notes on the Language of Science Fiction. Revised ed., Wesleyan UP, 2012. Google Scholar

Eco, Umberto. The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts. Indiana UP, 1994. Google Scholar

Freedman, Carl. Critical Theory and Science Fiction. Wesleyan UP, 2000. Google Scholar

Gunn, James. The Road to Science Fiction #1: From Gilgamesh to Wells. Mentor, 1977. Google Scholar

Gunn, James. “Reading Science Fiction as Science Fiction.” Reading Science Fiction, edited by James Gunn, Marleen S. Barr, and Matthew Candelaria, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Google Scholar

Hellekson, Karen L. The Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith. McFarland, 2001. Google Scholar

Hogan, Patrick Colm. Narrative Discourse: Authors and Narrators in Literature, Film, and Art. Ohio State UP, 2013. Google Scholar

Iser, Wolfgang. The Implied Reader: Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from Bunyan to Beckett. Johns Hopkins UP, 1974. Google Scholar

Iser, Wolfgang. The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. Johns Hopkins UP, 1978. Google Scholar

Jauss, Hans Robert. “Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory.” Critical Theory since 1965, edited by Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle, Florida State UP, 1986. Google Scholar

Kincaid, Paul. What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction. Beccon, 2008. Google Scholar

Linebarger, Paul M. A. Psychological Warfare. Infantry Journal Press, 1948. Google Scholar

Mandala, Susan. Language in Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Question of Style. Continuum, 2010. Google Scholar

McGann, Jerome J. The Romantic Ideology: A Critical Investigation. U of Chicago P, 1983. Google Scholar

McGuirk, Carol. “The Rediscovery of Cordwainer Smith.” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 28, no. 2, 2001, pp. 161–200. Google Scholar

Mendlesohn, Farah. Rhetorics of Fantasy. Wesleyan UP, 2008. Google Scholar

Miller, David Lee. The Poem’s Two Bodies: The Poetics of the 1590 Faerie Queene. Princeton UP, 1988. Google Scholar

Morgan, Chris. “Cordwainer Smith.” Science Fiction Writers, 2nd ed., edited by Richard Bleiler, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1999. Google Scholar

Ong, Walter J. “The Writer’s Audience Is Always a Fiction.” PMLA, vol. 90, no. 1, 1975, pp. 9–21. Google Scholar

Poe, Edgar Allan. The Complete Poems and Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Arthur Hobson Quinn, Knopf, 1967. Google Scholar

Prince, Gerald. A Dictionary of Narratology. Scolar, 1987. Google Scholar

Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith. Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics. Methuen, 1983. Google Scholar

Searles, Baird, Martin Last, Beth Meacham, and Michael Franklin. A Reader’s Guide to Science Fiction. Avon, 1979. Google Scholar

Seed, David. “Story Cycles of Future History: Cordwainer Smith’s ‘Instrumentality of Mankind.’” The Yearbook of English Studies, vol. 31, 2001, pp. 133–143. Google Scholar

Shippey, Tom. “Preface: Learning to Read Science Fiction.” Fictional Space: Essays on Contemporary Science Fiction, edited by Tom Shippey, Oxford Humanities P, 1990. Google Scholar

Silberman, Steve. “Tripping Cyborgs and Organ Farms: The Fictions of Cordwainer Smith.” 21 Sept. 2010. NeuroTribes. Google Scholar

Smith, Cordwainer. “Alpha Ralpha Boulevard.” The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, edited by James A. Mann, New England Science Fiction Association, 1993, pp. 375–400. Google Scholar

Smith, Cordwainer. “The Dead Lady of Clown Town.” The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, edited by James A. Mann, New England Science Fiction Association, 1993, pp. 223–288. Google Scholar

Smith, Cordwainer. Drunkboat.” The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, edited by James A. Mann, New England Science Fiction Association, 1993, pp. 327–354. Google Scholar

Smith, Cordwainer. “The Lady Who Sailed The Soul.” The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, edited by James A. Mann, New England Science Fiction Association, 1993, pp. 97–118. Google Scholar

Smith, Cordwainer. “Under Old Earth.” The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, edited by James A. Mann, New England Science Fiction Association, 1993, pp. 289–326. Google Scholar

Stockwell, Peter. The Poetics of Science Fiction. Pearson/Longman, 2000. Google Scholar

Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre. Yale UP, 1979. Google Scholar

White, Hayden. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism. Johns Hopkins UP, 1978. Google Scholar

White, Hayden. “Getting out of History.” Diacritics, vol. 12, no. 3, 1982, pp. 2–13. Google Scholar

Wingrove, David, editor. The Science Fiction Source Book. Van Nostrand Reingold, 1984. Google Scholar

Wolfe, Gary K. “Cordwainer Smith.” Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, 2nd ed., edited by Curtis C. Smith, St. James P, 1986. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Schiavoni, James D.