C.M. Kornbluth

Get The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth for free!

Get it for free in epub and mobi formats!

Get The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth for free!
Get it for free in epub and mobi formats!

We’ve got another book giveaway for you.

I’m pleased to announce that we’re working with publisher LiberNoctis to give away ebook copies of C.M. Kornbluth’s classic science fiction novel The Syndic.

From my review of the novel,

“What ifs” are the bread and butter of science fiction. What if organized crime overthrew the United States government and took over? What would life be like under the mafia? Would the people of North America be better off? These are the questions C.M. Kornbluth sought to answer in his science-fiction novel The Syndic (1953).

The new edition by LiberNoctis

brings you this classic of science fiction, with foreword and extensive afterword by noted libertarian writer Jeff Riggenbach on the history of the author, the novel, and the politics of mid-20th-century science fiction among Kornbluth’s contemporaries — men such as Isaac Asimov on the Left, Robert Heinlein on the Right, and libertarian science-fiction advocates who sought to redefine the political spectrum through the power of science fiction itself.

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Get The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth for free!

Get it for free in epub and mobi formats!

The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

“What ifs” are the bread and butter of science fiction. What if organized crime overthrew the United States government and took over? What would life be like under the mafia? Would the people of North America be better off? These are the questions C.M. Kornbluth sought to answer in his science-fiction novel The Syndic (1953).

The Syndic is of interest to libertarians, not least because it was honored with the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 1986 by the Libertarian Futurist Society. This edition of the novel includes a forward and an afterward by Jeff Riggenbach that set the historical context for Kornbluth’s work and life and their relevance to libertarians. The Syndic is a fast-paced, entertaining tale replete with insights into the nature of the state and of war. Indeed, it could arguably be deemed an antiwar novel; but the insights do not end there.

As The Syndic opens, the continent of North America has long been divvied up between the Syndic and the Mob. The former United States government continues to exist in exile in Iceland and Ireland as the North American Government (NAG; an apt acronym). After an odd prologue composed of historical documents that set the stage for us, we’re introduced to our main viewpoint character, Charles Orsino, a low-ranking young bagman for the Syndic, who spends his days politely shaking down small businesses in the 101st New York Police Precinct for protection money and playing a brutal version of polo with jeeps and firearms instead of horses and mallets.

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Get The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth for free!

Get it for free in epub and mobi formats!

In a recent addition to The Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute’s online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses the brief life of C.M. Kornbluth (1923–1958) and his novel The Syndic.

You can also read the transcript below:

The late Samuel Edward Konkin III was a firm believer in the power of science fiction to spread the libertarian message. He himself had been converted to libertarianism partly by reading the works of Robert A. Heinlein, and Heinlein remained his favorite science fiction writer for the rest of his life. Every July for years, he threw a joint birthday party for himself and Robert A. Heinlein (Sam’s birthday was July 8; Heinlein’s was July 7). The last and largest issue of his magazine,New Libertarian, was devoted to Heinlein, as was a sort of mini-conference he held, also in the late 1980s, under the auspices of his Agorist Institute. This mini-conference featured presentations by Sam, J. Neil Schulman, and yours truly, along with much spirited discussion.

But if the works of Robert A. Heinlein topped Sam’s list of great libertarian science fiction, they were far from the only titles on that list. He was also a great admirer of Eric Frank Russell’s Great Explosion, for example. He expressed enthusiasm for A.E. van Vogt’s fiction, especially The Weapon Shops of Isher. And, he told me more than once in conversation, he held C.M. Kornbluth’s 1953 novel, The Syndic, in high esteem and considered it lamentably little known and much underappreciated among libertarian science fiction novels. I suspect part of the reason Sam never wrote about The Syndic was that he felt any public display of approval on his part for a writer like C.M. Kornbluth would require at least a bit of explanation. You see, Kornbluth was a Futurian, and libertarian science-fiction fans back in Sam’s heyday — the 1970s and ’80s — were almost always critical of the Futurians, if not openly hostile to them.

Libertarian science fiction fans of today care a good deal less for such ancient controversies, I suspect. Libertarian science-fiction fans under 40 are probably at least a little unclear on just who or what the Futurians were. Those old timers like me who know who they were have now lived long enough that we wonder whether it really matters who they were — whether it mattered even at the time.

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