Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Well, that’s different —

Here’s a post at tor.com: How Cordwainer Smith’s Work Influenced the Writing of Mecha Samurai Empire.

This is a book by  Peter Tieryas, whose first book in the series was The United States of Japan.

This world is not necessarily something that would appeal to me — alternate history, Germany and Japan won WWII, I think that is unlikely and also very, very unappealing, so perhaps not my thing. But it’s interesting to see an author pointing out Cordwainer Smith as an important influence.

Teiryas says:


It was important to me to incorporate the same sense of wonder and excitement that I had discovering the worlds of Cordwainer Smith into the high school students of Mecha Samurai Empire as they learn more about mecha piloting. There are direct tributes to Smith, like experimental programs try to get mecha pilots to neurally interface directly with their cats (an idea explored in “The Game of Rat and Dragon”) and the fact that one of the mecha scientists is named Dr. Shimitsu (for Smith). I also thought of the elaborate rituals the Scanners had when devising the lore and culture of the mecha pilots…

I would certainly have recognized Smith’s influence if I happened across a detail where pilots interface with cats! 

Cordwainer Smith wrote unique stories that can’t go out of style because they have always been completely outside any style. They were different when he wrote them and I don’t believe they’re any more or less different now. I don’t have the slightest idea whether Teiryas managed any sort of echo of Cordwainer Smith in his novels, but if you’ve never read anything by Smith, then “The Best of Cordwainer Smith” is available and inexpensive on Kindle.



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