The Best of Cordwainer Smith

The Best of Cordwainer Smith is a collection of science fiction short stories by American author Cordwainer Smith, edited by J. J. Pierce. It was first published in hardback by Nelson Doubleday in July 1975 and in paperback by Ballantine Books in September of the same year as a volume in its Classic Library of Science Fiction. The Ballantine edition was reprinted in October 1977 and July 1985. Phoenix Pick issued a new edition in trade paperback and ebook in April, 2017. A British paperback edition under the alternative title The Rediscovery of Man was published by Gollancz in June 1988, and reissued in 1999, 2003, and 2010; Gollancz also brought out hardcover and ebook versions in September 1988 and November 2012, respectively. The book has also been translated into German.[1]

The Best of Cordwainer Smith
The Best of Cordwainer Smith.jpg
Cover of first edition
AuthorCordwainer Smith
Cover artistJanice C. Tate
CountryUnited States
SeriesBallantine's Classic Library of Science Fiction
GenreScience fiction
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Preceded byThe Best of Frederik Pohl 
Followed byThe Best of C. L. Moore 


The book contains twelve short works of fiction by the author, all set in his "Instrumentality of Mankind" future history series, together with an introduction and timeline by editor J. J. Pierce. All versions of the collection following the first feature a corrected version of the timeline, retitled "TImeline from The Instrumentality of Mankind."[1]



The book was reviewed by Lester del Rey in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, March 1977, Michael Bishop in Delap's F & SF Review, May 1977, Philip Stephensen-Payne in Paperback Parlour, June 1977, and Spider Robinson in Galaxy, August 1977.[1]


The book placed second in the 1976 Locus Poll Award for Best Single Author Collection. "Scanners Live in Vain" was nominated for the 1951 Retro Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 2001. "The Game of Rat and Dragon" was nominated for the 1956 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard" was nominated for the 1962 Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction. "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell" was nominated for the 1964 Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction. "A Planet Named Shayol" won the 1995 Seiun Award for Best Translated Short Story.[1]