Cordwainer Smith science fiction has been published in many languages. For years, every now and then I would get a package of books in some language I couldn’t read, sent to me by Cordwainer Smith’s literary agent. I could tell pretty much what stories were in them, but beyond that I just tossed them on a the top of bottom shelf of a bookcase somewhere. As a former librarian, I’m too much of a pack rat to throw them out. But now that they would be useful to me, to write this blog post, they are in my storage unit, thousands of miles away.
I suppose most of the editions are in European languages, but I remember some that weren’t. For years, it seemed that Cordwainer Smith was more appreciated in Europe, specially when the French did a beautiful edition of all his stories, quite a few years before the terrific NESFA editions of The Rediscovery of Man and Norstrilia came out.
I wonder if he is read more in Europe than in the US still. Kinda doubt it, but someone once said to me that my father’s international spirit was mostly lost on Americans. That may be, but then the kinds of people who read science fiction probably can’t be stereotyped so easily.
Well, I discovered Cordwainer Smith in french. And this was probably helped by the fact that Jacques Goimard, one of the french SF experts (editor and essayist), is himself a fan of Cordwainer Smith. On a concept map of the Presses Pocket SF collection in the nineties, he labeled himself as a Brave-Capitaine.
Considering readership, I would say that it requires frequent editions to establish a reasonable readership in a language. In France, this means at least four different editions (two being with Jacques Goimard as collection director, at least), the last one being published in 2004.