Today’s installment of my occasional Monday Maps and Diagrams series is a self-reminder that I must get over the poor taste left in my mouth by two forgettable Cordwainer Smith short stories and dive into the meat of his Instrumentality of Mankind sequence. Which should I have read?
I’m a sucker for future history timelines (Olaf Stapledon, Robert A. Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov come to mind). They add a sense of time and scope to what, at first glance, might seem like disparate pieces. I often wonder how much an author plans out a timeline. This one, scanned from The Best of Cordwainer Smith (1975), places each of the Instrumentality of Mankind stories into a functional timeline. I’m assuming it adds to the series’ sense of historical development and societal evolution?
Let me know what you think of the series and the timeline in the comments!
Isfdb.org note on the timeline’s publication history: “There are (at least) 2 variants of this timeline. A table version titled The Instrumentality of Mankind appears in the original July 1975 Nelson Doubleday hardcover. A reformatted graphical version titled Timeline from THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF MANKIND appears in both the September 1975 Ballantine paperback and the 1988 Gollancz hardcover. Both variants list the “Stories” and “Surrounding Events” for each millennium from 2,000 A.D. to 16,000 A.D. However, the later graphical version has several differences in events and story order, which may be corrections to the original Nelson Doubleday table version.”
The above map was scanned from the 1975 Ballantine paperback edition edition:
Series blurb: In my occasional Monday Maps and Diagrams series, I showcase scans of SF maps and diagrams from my personal collection. As a kid I was primarily a fantasy reader and I judged books on the quality of their maps. When my reading interests shifted to science fiction, for years I still excitedly peeked at the first few pages… there could be a map!
Earlier Posts in the Series:
For a more detailed article on the visual and graphic elements of SF consult Charts, Diagrams, and Tables in Science Fiction.
For book reviews consult the INDEX
For cover art posts consult the INDEX
For additional articles consult the INDEX