Thursday, August 06, 2009

Coming soon: An essay on connections between a Tiananmen Square account and the science fiction of Cordwainer Smith (Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger )


WWW--Like most of my observations, this comes through serendipity. In 1989, I was told some very shocking accounts behind the violent repression of the student democratic forces by the Red Army troops in and around Tiananmen Square. This was told to me by a Chinese exchange student in his 30s, and he told me without any prompting.

He was an unassuming man with a family who had absolutely nothing to gain in telling me any of it. I have, therefore, little reason to think it's an inaccurate or false account, not that I make any claims that it could be corroborated.

We spent an entire summer doing student painting with him and lived in the same married housing units as him for a few years, he was a very kindly person who's probably instructing at the college level nowadays. This story still shocks me, but when I was recently introduced to the writings of American sci-fi writer Cordwainer Smith (the pen name of Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger).


Linebarger's father was close to the Chinese nationalist movement in the 1930s and his godfather was Sun Yat-Sen, practically the George Washington of modern Chinese nationalism. As a result of his ties with China, Linebarger became an expert in Far Eastern studies in academic settings. He also worked in the earliest incaranations of the American psychological warfare sections during WWII. We'll leave it at that for now...

Food for thought until we meet again:
http://www.cordwainer-smith.com/foundation.htm