Cordwainer Smith was the most famous pen name of US foreign policy adviser Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger. He held a PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins, served in the US military during the Second World War and acted as an adviser to President Kennedy. His godfather was the Chinese revolutionary and political leader, Sun Yat-sen – the result of his political activist father’s close ties with leaders of the Chinese revolution. Although Smith only published one novel, Norstrilia, he is well regarded for his short fiction, the majority of which is set in his future history of the Instrumentality of Mankind.
Rod McBan 151st farms ‘stroon’, the immortality drug, and is the last scion of one of the oldest and most honourable families on Norstrilia, only source of stroon. But he’s also a telepathic cripple and faces the ever-present risk of being culled under the government’s draconian population laws.
To protect himself, he uses his not-strictly-legal computer to play the market and amass an unimaginable fortune. But after he survives an assassination attempt, McBan discovers that having enough money to literally buy the Earth is no good if you’re too dead to spend it . . .
Norstrilia is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook. You can find more of Cordwainer Smith’s work via his Author page on the Gateway website and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.