Part speculation, part biography, part imagination, part philosophy… Cordwainer Smith, Lord of the Afternoon, is not an easy book to describe or categorize. It first came out in 1984, in Argentina, in the original Spanish. Pablo Capanna, Italian by birth and Argentinian from the age of ten, writes from his heart.

My reading Spanish isn’t that great, but I delved into the book back then, and now and then exchanged letters or later emails with Pablo Capanna. His book is often said to be the first book-length study of Cordwainer Smith.

Not quite twenty years later–in 2012–the Spanish version came out in a new revision and there was at last a version in English. The publisher kindly sent me review copies in both languages, and I’ve enjoyed dipping into them.

As I said, I don’t really know what to make of them. Capanna likens C’Mell to Marilyn Monroe, and that’s far from the oddest flight of fancy or insight. I often found myself wondering about his thoughts. But, as I have said many times on this site, I am not myself a Cordwainer Smith scholar.

Would it be for you? Fortunately, you can get a good taste of it before you buy. At Amazon, you can use the Look inside the Book feature to read some, and then you can use the Surprise Me feature to read more.

Here are the links to the books:

Cordwainer Smith, Lord of the Afternoon in English, in paperback and kindle

Cordwainer Smith, El Señor de la Tarde, in Spanish, in paperback.

The books include about a dozen family photographs, used with permission from my website, and they are nicely put together paperbacks.

Oops. I overlooked the kindle version of the Spanish edition… it isn’t at present linked to the paperback one. It’s at