The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award is given to “a science fiction or fantasy writer whose work displays unusual originality, embodies the spirit of Cordwainer Smith’s fiction, and deserves renewed attention or ‘Rediscovery’.” Judges Barry Malzberg, Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, and Elizabeth Hand chose this year’s honoree. Malzberg, the usual presenter, was unable to attend this year’s ceremony, so stepping in for the presenting duties was John Clute, who gave a far more terse presentation. This year’s honoree is Wyman Guin (1915-89).
In his presentation, Clute noted that Guin wrote “only one really unforgettable novella, ‘Beyond Bedlam,” a savage, funny, sad novella that needs to be remembered.” The Science Fiction Encyclopedia describes the story as “describing an Earth about a thousand years hence where drugs enforce a strictly regulated schizophrenia in every human being in a five-days-on, five-days-off routine, each body being inhabited alternately by two personalities, the balance between whom nullifies man’s subconscious aggressions, thus eliminating the ‘paranoid wars’ of the ‘ancient Moderns’. But passion and art likewise disappear. The good and evil of this system are explored with a literacy and verisimilitude that make it a genuinely interesting variation on Aldous Huxley’s vision of drug-enforced stability in Brave New World (1932).”
Guin, a pharmacologist and advertising executive, published most of his stories in Galaxy in the 1950s and 1960s. His only novel, The Standing Joy, appeared in 1969.