Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons
"Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" is a classic science fiction short story by American writer Cordwainer Smith, first published in Galaxy Magazine in 1961, based on Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. It is collected most in The Rediscovery of Man, it details the methods by which the Norstrilians of Smith's fictional "Instrumentality" universe maintain their monopoly on the precious immortality drug stroon. The story details part of the background to the novel Norstrilia; the story has been alluded to in Charles Stross's Glasshouse. Cordwainer Smith is a pseudonym of Paul Linebarger, the noted China expert, who wrote most of his published science-fiction stories within the setting of the Instrumentality of Mankind. For many millennia, the rather static structure of this society was of Lords of the Instrumentality ruling over humans and a large number of exploited animal-derived "Underpeople" servants; the use of the immortality drug "stroon" from the world of Norstrilia was a vital tool in maintaining this order.
The planet of Norstrilia, or in full the Commonwealth of Old North Australia, was settled by sheep farmers from a post-nuclear-war Australia. The political system is based on a monarchy with "her absent majesty" the Queen as nominal head of state. However, the Queen has been lost for millennia, a local deputy and Commonwealth Council fulfill her role until she returns; the organization of the planet is based on Stations, or large farm allotments passed down through generations. The sheep that were brought to this planet by the Australian immigrants have over time been affected by the planet's environment in two ways. Firstly, the sheep have grown enormously due to a local disease and are now larger than houses and immobile, requiring constant attention. Secondly, the sheep began to produce the immortality drug stroon. Norstrilia is the richest planet in the entire Instrumentality due to the value of the immortality drug stroon, as such it and its people are targets of kidnap and theft attempts.
The citizens are trained in self-defense, but the planet strategically maintains "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" for its defense. This is a robber planet, once rich and civilized, but now reduced to a dog-eat-dog existence which has created a ruling class of sophisticated thieves. Benjacomin Bozart is a Warden of the Thieves' Guild and prepared to raid Norstrilia for its stroon. Due to the impossibility of overpowering a Norstrilian adult, he ruthlessly drugs and kills a small Norstrilian boy on a vacation world to find out the nature of the planet's defenses, but the only information he gets is the name "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" scrawled in the sand at a beach, he consults the Guild's encyclopedia, which says that the phrase is an archaic term for the disease caused by the stroon virus — no-one being aware that this is a cover story planted by a Norstrilian agent. Confident of obtaining the stroon, Bozart pays out immense bribes using Viola Siderea's credit to illicitly charter ships, further unaware that he is paying other Norstrilian agents who have tracked him since he murdered the child.
The last leg of the journey drops his space yacht into orbit around Norstrilia. A 21-faceted moon and a network of relay stations are placed around the planet. Resident on the moon is Mother Hitton, a woman, the "weapons mistress" and in charge of the care and feeding of the "Littul Kittons", which are in fact mink that have been selectively bred for centuries for psychotic, self-destructive madness, they spend all their lives under anaesthesia, only allowed to waken to mate or when needed for defense. The brain patterns of these mad mink are focused into an intense telepathic beam that can be directed at any incoming space ship from the relay station, driving all humans into a self-destructive madness — as Bozart discovers first-hand; the odd spelling of the "Littul Kittons" is intentional, as research into the term would act as a tripwire, alerting the Norstrilian defenses to potential hostile activity. After his death the extent of the Norstrilians' revenge is revealed: Bozart's bribes have incurred a debt of 400 million man-megayears for Viola Siderea.
Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons at Faded Page Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database eText of story
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction dealing with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, extraterrestrials in fiction. Science fiction explores the potential consequences of scientific other various innovations, has been called a "literature of ideas." "Science fiction" is difficult to define as it includes a wide range of concepts and themes. James Blish wrote: "Wells used the term to cover what we would today call'hard' science fiction, in which a conscientious attempt to be faithful to known facts was the substrate on which the story was to be built, if the story was to contain a miracle, it ought at least not to contain a whole arsenal of them."Isaac Asimov said: "Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology." According to Robert A. Heinlein, "A handy short definition of all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world and present, on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method."Lester del Rey wrote, "Even the devoted aficionado or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is," and that the reason for there not being a "full satisfactory definition" is that "there are no delineated limits to science fiction."
Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty, saying "science fiction is what we point to when we say it." Mark C. Glassy described the definition of science fiction as U. S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart did with the definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." Science fiction had its beginnings in a time when the line between myth and fact was arguably more blurred than the present day. Written in the 2nd century CE by the satirist Lucian, A True Story contains many themes and tropes that are characteristic of contemporary science fiction, including travel to other worlds, extraterrestrial lifeforms, interplanetary warfare, artificial life; some consider it the first science-fiction novel. Some of the stories from The Arabian Nights, along with the 10th-century The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter and Ibn al-Nafis's 13th-century Theologus Autodidactus contain elements of science fiction. Products of the Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Johannes Kepler's Somnium, Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, Cyrano de Bergerac's Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and The States and Empires of the Sun, Margaret Cavendish's "The Blazing World", Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Ludvig Holberg's Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum and Voltaire's Micromégas are regarded as some of the first true science-fantasy works.
Indeed, Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan considered Somnium the first science-fiction story. Following the 18th-century development of the novel as a literary form, Mary Shelley's books Frankenstein and The Last Man helped define the form of the science-fiction novel. Brian Aldiss has argued. Edgar Allan Poe wrote several stories considered science fiction, including "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" which featured a trip to the Moon. Jules Verne was noted for his attention to detail and scientific accuracy Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which predicted the contemporary nuclear submarine. In 1887, the novel El anacronópete by Spanish author Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau introduced the first time machine. Many critics consider H. G. Wells one of science fiction's most important authors, or "the Shakespeare of science fiction." His notable science-fiction works include The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds. His science fiction imagined alien invasion, biological engineering and time travel.
In his non-fiction futurologist works he predicted the advent of airplanes, military tanks, nuclear weapons, satellite television, space travel, something resembling the World Wide Web. In 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs published A Princess of Mars, the first of his three-decade-long planetary romance series of Barsoom novels, set on Mars and featuring John Carter as the hero. In 1926, Hugo Gernsback published the first American science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in which he wrote: By'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story—a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision... Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading—they are always instructive, they supply knowledge... in a palatable form... New adventures pictured for us in the scientifiction of today are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow... Many great science stories destined to be of historical interest are still to be written...
Posterity will point to them as having blazed a new trail, not only in literature and fiction, but progress as well. In 1928, E. E. "Doc" Smith's first published work, The Skylark of Space, written in collaboration with Lee Hawkins Garby, appeared in Amazing Stories. It is called the first great space opera; the same year, Philip Francis Nowlan's original Buck Rogers story, Armageddon 2419 appeared in Amazing Stories. This was followed by the first serious science-fiction comic. In 1937, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science Fiction, an event, sometimes conside
A. E. van Vogt
Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author. His narrative style was compelling and stimulating, in this way, influenced science fiction writers, notably Philip K. Dick, he is regarded as one of the most popular and complex practitioners of the mid-twentieth century, the genre's so-called Golden Age. Alfred Vogt was born on April 26, 1912 on his grandparents' farm in Edenburg, Manitoba, a tiny Russian Mennonite community east of Gretna, Canada in the Mennonite West Reserve, he was the third of six children born to Heinrich "Henry" Vogt and Aganetha "Agnes" Vogt, both of whom were themselves born in Manitoba, but who grew up in immigrant communities. Until age four, van Vogt and his family spoke only a dialect of Low German at home. For the first dozen or so years of his life, van Vogt's father, Henry Vogt, a lawyer, moved his family several times within western Canada, alighting successively in Neville, Saskatchewan. Alfred Vogt found these moves difficult remarking: Childhood was a terrible period for me.
I was like a ship without anchor being swept along through darkness in a storm. Again and again I sought shelter. By the 1920s, living in Winnipeg, father Henry worked as an agent for a steamship company, but the stock market crash of 1929 proved financially disastrous, the family could not afford to send Alfred to college. During his teen years, Alfred worked as a farmhand and a truck driver, by the age of 19, he was working in Ottawa for the Canadian census bureau, he began his writing career with stories in the true confession style of pulp magazines such as True Story. Most of these stories were published anonymously, with the first-person narratives being written by people in extraordinary and life-changing circumstances. After a year in Ottawa, he moved back to Winnipeg, where he sold newspaper advertising space and continued to write. While continuing to pen melodramatic "true confessions" stories through 1937, he began writing short radio dramas for local radio station CKY, as well as conducting interviews published in trade magazines.
He added the middle name "Elton" at some point in the mid-1930s, at least one confessional story was sold to the Toronto Star, who misspelled his name "Alfred Alton Bogt" in the byline. Shortly thereafter, he added the "van" to his surname, from that point forward he used the name "A. E. van Vogt" both and professionally. By 1938, van Vogt decided to switch to writing a genre he enjoyed reading, he was inspired by the August 1938 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, which he picked up at a newsstand. John W. Campbell's novelette "Who Goes There?" Inspired van Vogt to write "Vault of the Beast", which he submitted to that same magazine. Campbell, who edited Astounding, sent van Vogt a rejection letter, but one which encouraged van Vogt to try again. Van Vogt sent another story, entitled "Black Destroyer,", accepted. A revised version of "Vault of the Beast" would be published in 1940. Van Vogt's first SF publication was inspired by The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin. "The Black Destroyer" was published in July 1939 by John W. Campbell in Astounding Science Fiction, the centennial year of Darwin's journal.
It featured a fierce, carnivorous alien, the coeurl, stalking the crew of an exploration spaceship, served as the inspiration for multiple science fiction movies, including Alien. In 1939, still living in Winnipeg, van Vogt married Edna Mayne Hull, a fellow Manitoban. Hull, who had worked as a private secretary, would act as van Vogt's typist, be credited with writing several SF stories of her own throughout the early 1940s; the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 caused a change in van Vogt's circumstances. Ineligible for military service due to his poor eyesight, van Vogt accepted a clerking job with the Canadian Department of National Defence; this necessitated a move back to Ottawa, where he and his wife would stay for the next year-and-a-half. Meanwhile, his writing career continued. "Discord in Scarlet" was van Vogt's second story to be published appearing as the cover story. It was accompanied by interior illustrations created by Paul Orban. Van Vogt's first completed novel, one of his most famous, is Slan, which Campbell serialized in Astounding September to December 1940.
Using what became one of van Vogt's recurring themes, it told the story of a nine-year-old superman living in a world in which his kind are slain by Homo sapiens. Others saw van Vogt's talent and stardom from his first story, in May 1941, van Vogt decided to become a full-time writer, quitting his job at the Canadian Department of National Defence. Freed from the necessity of living in Ottawa, he and his wife lived for a time in the Gatineau region of Quebec before moving to Toronto in the fall of 1941. Prolific throughout this period, van Vogt wrote many of his more famous short stories and novels in the years from 1941 through 1944; the novels The Book of Ptath and The Weapon Makers both appeared in magazines in serial form during this era. As well, several of the stories that were compiled to make up the novels The Weapon Shops of Isher, The Mi
John Brian Francis "Jack" Gaughan was an American science fiction artist and illustrator who won the Hugo Award several times. Working with Donald A. Wollheim at Ace Books, DAW Books from 1971, his simple linear style brought to life images of such works as Andre Norton's Witch World novels and E. E. Smith's Lensmen and Skylark novels, his broad visual vocabulary enabled him to render the objects and scenes in whatever was presented to him as they were described in the books and stories he illustrated. That was an accomplishment as many of these authors drew on their knowledge of esoteric subjects for their imagery; this ability made him popular among people with an engineering background. During most of Ejler Jakobsson's tenure as editor of Galaxy Science Fiction from 1969 to 1974, Gaughan did all the illustration and much of the design that went on in the magazine. In addition, many of the books he did for Ace featured hand-lettered titled pages, frontispieces, or maps with Gaughan's distinctive calligraphy.
One example is its 1966 edition of Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. L. Sprague de Camp's 1967 anthology, The Fantastic Swordsmen, included a Gaughan map before each of the eight collected stories, his maps grace the Ace first editions of some Witch World novels – including the 1963 first edition of the first one – and Mark S. Geston's Lords of the Starship. Gaughan illustrated the covers and hand-lettered title pages for the unauthorized first paperback edition of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which Ace released in 1965. Beside his professional work, he was a frequent contributor to SF fan magazines. In his heyday he was nominated for Hugo Awards for both professional artist and best fan artist simultaneously. Locus ran a column by him for a while. In his memory, the New England Science Fiction Association presents the annual Jack Gaughan Award for best emerging science fiction illustrator. Gaughan was posthumously inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2015.
A piece of fan writing by Gaughan for the fanzine Alphecca A sample of his work with a brief biography at the bottom of the page His work for the unauthorized Ace Books paperback volumes of The Lord of the Rings A gallery of Gaughan's illustrations for Fred Saberhagen's "Berserker" science fiction series Jack Gaughan at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Works by Jack Gaughan at Project Gutenberg Jack Gaughan at Library of Congress Authorities, with 5 catalog records
A Planet Named Shayol
"A Planet Named Shayol" is a science fiction story by American writer Cordwainer Smith, set in his Instrumentality universe. It was first published in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine in October 1961. In the story, a man convicted of crimes against the Empire is sent for punishment on the planet Shayol—a name derived from Sheol, the Hebrew afterlife. Mercer has been convicted of a crime, he is condemned to the planet Shayol, from where they broadcast the screams of the damned on the occasion of the Emperor's birthday. He is conducted to a satellite orbiting the planet, where he expects his punishment to start, but is treated like a patient in a hospital. After medical procedures to prepare his body for survival on Shayol, he is sent down to the surface and received by B'dikkat, a bovine-derived underperson, the caretaker of the prisoners there. Underpeople are human in appearance but derived from animals, are treated as property. Depending on their ancestry, they may be smaller than a true human.
B'dikkat is much larger. He sends him outside the reception building. B'dikkat himself never leaves without a huge, heavy protective suit. Soon after stepping outside, Mercer is stung by, he collapses in excruciating pain. This seems to last forever, but when he recovers, he finds himself face to face with his fellow prisoners. There are people with extra limbs, eyes, in one case a string of human torsos attached to them. Shayol, it is revealed, is inhabited by tiny symbiotic creatures called dromozoans that try to help people, they put food in their stomachs, remove waste from their kidneys, cause new parts to grow if they are not needed. The attentions of the dromozoa are. On the satellite, Mercer had been offered the chance to have his eyes, or both destroyed, he elected not to have anything done. He is not alone in this, but there are many mindless bodies which spend their entire time buried in the sand; the prisoners are given super-condamine by B'dikkat to alleviate the immense pain of their punishment.
He gives doses the body parts they are growing. These parts are used in medicine across the Empire; the first man to set foot on Shayol, Go-Captain Alvarez, has been on Shayol so long that the dromozoa have increased his size—all, seen of him is an enormous foot, six stories high. Mercer develops a relationship with another prisoner, the Lady Da, sent there as part of a royal power struggle, he briefly meets Commander Suzdal, sentenced to Shayol after the events of "The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal". Decades pass. One day, B'dikkat drags Lady Da into the building, they find that children have been sent to Shayol, their brains have been removed. B'dikkat refuses to send them outside. Lady Da knows how to contact the Lords of the Instrumentality, soon these guardians of humanity arrive on Shayol, they are shocked by. The children are the heirs to the throne—apparently the Imperium has become so bureaucratic and corrupt that it condemned them to prevent them committing treason when they grew up.
The Instrumentality decides to void the agreement by which it allowed the Empire to exist and maintain Shayol. All the prisoners with functioning minds refuse to live without super-condamine, but they agree to be sent to another planet, where there are no dromozoa, the drug will be replaced by an electronic "cap" that causes a similar effect; the mindless ones are decapitated, leaving their bodies to be handled by the dromozoa while their heads are destroyed. Lady Da claims Mercer as her consort. A Planet Named Shayol at Faded Page A Planet Named Shayol title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
Space Lords (short story collection)
Space Lords is a collection of science fiction short stories by the American writer Cordwainer Smith. It was first published by Pyramid Books in 1965; the stories belong to a series describing a future history set in the universe of the Instrumentality of Mankind. The book is dedicated "to the memory of Eleanor Jackson of Louisa, Virginia, 20 February 1919 to 30 November 1964". In a moving letter to her, we learn that she was an African-American housekeeper for the author during many years, that she died unexpectedly while visiting him to help when he was sick and working on this book. "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons", a novelette first published in Galaxy in June 1961. "The Dead Lady of Clown Town", a novella first published in Galaxy in August 1964. "Drunkboat", a novelette first published in Amazing Stories in October 1963. "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell", a novelette first published in Galaxy in October 1962. A Planet Named Shayol", a novelette first published in Galaxy in October 1961. Space Lords title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Cordwainer Smith The official website, accessed June 21, 2014
Cordwainer Smith was the pen-name used by American author Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger for his science fiction works. Linebarger was a noted East Asia expert in psychological warfare. Linebarger employed the literary pseudonyms "Carmichael Smith", "Anthony Bearden" and "Felix C. Forrest", he died of a heart attack in 1966 at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 53. Linebarger was born in Wisconsin, his father was Paul M. W. Linebarger, a lawyer and political activist with close ties to the leaders of the Chinese revolution of 1911; as a result of those connections, Linebarger's godfather was Sun Yat-sen, considered the father of Chinese nationalism. While Sun Yat-sen was struggling against contentious warlords in China, Linebarger's father moved his family between a variety of places in Asia and the United States and sometimes sent his son to boarding schools for safety. In 1919 at a boarding school in Hawaii he was blinded in his right eye. Linebarger was familiar with six languages by adulthood.
At the age of 23, he received a PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. From 1937 to 1946, Linebarger held a faculty appointment at Duke University, where he began producing regarded works on Far Eastern affairs. While retaining his professorship at Duke after the beginning of World War II, Linebarger began serving as a second lieutenant of the United States Army, where he was involved in the creation of the Office of War Information and the Operation Planning and Intelligence Board, he helped organize the Army's first psychological warfare section. In 1943, he was sent to China to coordinate military intelligence operations; when he pursued his interest in China, Linebarger became a close confidant of Chiang Kai-shek. By the end of the war, he had risen to the rank of major. In 1947, Linebarger moved to the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where he served as Professor of Asiatic Studies, he used his experiences in the war to write the book Psychological Warfare, regarded by many in the field as a classic text.
He rose to the rank of colonel in the reserves. He was recalled to advise the British forces in the Malayan Emergency and the U. S. Eighth Army in the Korean War. While he was known to call himself a "visitor to small wars", he refrained from becoming involved in the Vietnam War, but is known to have done work for the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1969 CIA officer Miles Copeland Jr. wrote that Linebarger was "perhaps the leader practitioner of'black' and'gray' propaganda in the Western world". According to Joseph Burkholder Smith, a former CIA operative, he conducted classes in psychological warfare for CIA agents at his home in Washington under cover of his position at the School of Advanced International Studies, he traveled extensively and became a member of the Foreign Policy Association, was called upon to advise President John F. Kennedy. In 1936, Linebarger married Margaret Snow, they had a daughter in 1942 and another in 1947. They divorced in 1949. In 1950, Linebarger married again to Genevieve Collins.
They remained married until his death in Baltimore, Maryland. Linebarger had expressed a wish to retire to Australia. Colonel Linebarger is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 35, Grave Number 4712, his widow, Genevieve Collins Linebarger, was interred with him on November 16, 1981. Linebarger is long rumored to have been "Kirk Allen", the fantasy-haunted subject of "The Jet-Propelled Couch," a chapter in psychologist Robert M. Lindner's best-selling 1954 collection The Fifty-Minute Hour. According to Cordwainer Smith scholar Alan C. Elms, this speculation first reached print in Brian Aldiss's 1973 history of science fiction, Billion Year Spree. More both Elms and librarian Lee Weinstein have gathered circumstantial evidence to support the case for Linebarger's being Allen, but both concede there is no direct proof that Linebarger was a patient of Lindner's or that he suffered from a disorder similar to that of Kirk Allen. According to Frederik Pohl In his stories, which were a wonderful and inimitable blend of a strange, raucous poetry and a detailed technological scene, we begin to read of human beings in worlds so far from our own in space in time that they were no longer quite Earth, the people were no longer quite human, but something better different Linebarger's identity as "Cordwainer Smith" was secret until his death.
Smith's stories are unusual, sometimes being written in narrative styles closer to traditional Chinese stories than to most English-language fiction, as well as reminiscent of the Genji tales of Lady Murasaki. The total volume of his science fiction output is small, because of his time-consuming profession and his early death. Smith's works consist of: One novel published in two volumes in edited form as The Planet Buyer known as The Boy Who Bought Old Earth and The Underpeople, restored to its original form as Norstrilia.