Listen Up: The Game of Rat and Dragon

Starship Sofa, the Science Fiction podcast zine, has branched out into other genres, but not too far. It now produces podcasts of Horror, Crime, and what it calls Pulp.

Pulp can be any genre. It's the B stories, the not so good stuff churned out in bulk to fill cheap books, and is probably exactly what Professor Baer told Jo not to write in Louisa May Alcott's Good Wives one of the sequels to Little Women. So it's a little surprising to find a story by Cordwainer Smith being aired as pulp.

Cordwainer Smith's tales of Norstrilia may not be deep and meaningful, but it has fun with the lanugage and I alwasy found that appealing.

The rhythms and cadences of Cordwainer Smith's writing don't come across in this narration. Maybe this is how most people see his work. For myself, his prose always has the beat of the verses he sometimes puts among his stories: "The bell and the book of the what-she-did... but she fell in love with a hominid..." and this adds delight to the stories which are already delightful because of the strange, sad animal people in it.

These undereople are the workers of their world, genetically eningeered, anthropomorphised, made useful to the Human overlords. They also have gifts, legacies of their animal natures, which they keep hidden from the Humans.

Sometimes, though, they have been created for use as weapons. We see this in "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons", which I'm sure I've seen in anthologies of literature, not pulp. However, "The Game of Rat and Dragon" takes the idea along from different perspectives. Humans have to work with their weapons, and sometimes this has consquences.

The introduction to this podcast also tells us a bit more about the man behind Cordwainer Smith, so that's interesting, too.

Check it out: "The Game of Rat and Dragon" by Cordwainer Smith, at Protecting Project Pulp.