Note: Cyril Judd is the pseudonym used by both authors (Cyril M. Kornbluth and Judith Merril) when this was first published in 1952. It was serialized in Astounding Magazine originally, and was credited to the single author "Cyril Judd".Back cover blurb:THE MYSTERY OF PLANET EARTHThe Emperor had no more devoted Armsman than Gunner Cade. In this warped civilization of murdeNote: Cyril Judd is the pseudonym used by both authors (Cyril M. Kornbluth and Judith Merril) when this was first published in 1952. It was serialized in Astounding Magazine originally, and was credited to the single author "Cyril Judd".Back cover blurb:THE MYSTERY OF PLANET EARTHThe Emperor had no more devoted Armsman than Gunner Cade. In this warped civilization of murder and death, Cade fought as he was expected to, killed as he was expected to, destroying enemy after enemy until he himself was shot down in honorable battle.But Cade did not die. After weeks of unconsciousness, he awoke to find he was a fugitive, the object of a world-wide manhunt. Why was it so important to silence him? What undiscovered secret did he possess as he desperately fled over the earth and into outer space?And Cade began to realize that he held in his hands the fate of all mankind......
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Gunner Cade Reviews
Gunner Cade is a short, swiftly-paced SF novel that includes some incisive social commentary. The titular Cade lives in a far future Earth with an interplanetary society locked in stasis by the interplay between the emperor, nobles who rule different regions such as France and Mars (called Stars), the general (called the Gunner Supreme), and the spymaster (called the Power Master (has CF read this?)). The Gunners are warrior-priests who live an austere, celibate life of ritual centered on their one gun and fatalistic devotion to battle.Gunner Cade is a classic one-person-against-the-world SF novel, similar to AE Van Vogt’s hyper-kinetic power fantasies such as Slan or The World of Null-A and Philip K Dick’s paranoid visions such as Flow my Tears the Policeman Said. As is standard with these books, the protagonist, usually a man of inhuman skill and intelligence (although interestingly in this case Gunner Cade has trouble with social cues due to his isolated life in the militaristic convent), is cast out of society and discovers a vast conspiracy that reveals that everything they thought was true is a lie.(view spoiler)[In Gunner Cade, the lies are that the Emperor, Stars, Gunner Supreme, and Power Master all work together in harmony to protect and nurture the commoners and gunners and that the world was created from nothing ten thousand years ago with this whole system already intact. In reality, a system of checks and balance keeps any one person from taking over by occupying everyone with superfluous warfare. We also discover that this world has rejected science because science caused a nuclear apocalypse. But this ignorance will lead to ruin again as the Earth and Mars are mined of all their natural resources such as uranium and iron. There are also some funny passages in the beginning that reveal that the guiding philosophy (it’s called Klin philosophy but I don’t get the reference, does anyone know it?) is based on a misinterpretation of common words such as “fiddling,” “crooks,” and “governors” that causes the people of the future to think that their sacred texts mean the opposite of their author’s intention.The female characters in this book are more interesting and well-rounded than in most SF of this type and time, which makes sense when one of the writers is a woman. From Gunner Cade’s naive perspective as a celibate who’s had no contact with women since childhood, women are mysterious, alluring perils that will destroy his vows. But this isn’t the perspective of the text. There are several women in different social roles who send the plot on different trajectories and, both intentionally and inadvertently, reveal to Cade truths about society and history. By the end of the novel he sees women as people, or at least the one woman with whom he falls in love, a woman who makes it clear to Cade that she follows her own agenda. (hide spoiler)]Gunner Cade is a slim 160 pages. It’s a fun, fast read if you can find a copy.
review of C. M. Kornbluth & Judith Merril (writing as Cyril Judd) 's Gunner Cade by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - December 16, 2011 This was probably written in the same yr as Kornbluth & Pohl's The Space Merchants & published as a bk before The Space Merchants was. & while the approach to the story-telling is substantially different, there're significant correlations between the 2. In both bks, the main character is a dupe of the ruling elites - benefiting in some respects from their unquestioning servitude. In both cases, the main character somewhat haphazardly plunges into realities that they were previously unaware of & eventually have to come to terms w/ in order to recreate their relation to the world. In both cases, these characters resist facing reality as long as they can - only incrementally being disabused of their delusions. In both, they eventually become heros of forces that they previously didn't understand at all. AND, in both there's another planet that's ultimately the hope of resistance to tyranny. In the case of The Space Merchants that planet is Venus; in the case of Gunner Cade that planet is Mars. As I've gradually become more aware of C. M. Kornbluth, I've been particularly interested to learn of his collaborations w/ Merril. It's somewhat to my discredit as a hypothetical scholar that I'm not more aware of the many pen names that authors that I'm interested in have written under. The name "Cyril Judd" has some transparency insofar as "Cyril" is Kornbluth's 1st name & "Judd" is an abbreviation of Merril's 1st name. But if I'd previously seen a "Cyril Judd" novel somewhere I might've passed it over as by someone I'm not familiar w/. & I have to wonder: How many good bks have I missed this way? I, of all people, shd be hyperaware of multiple name use given that I might have as many as 60 names myself - & how many people know them all? Noone that I know of. I've been interested in Merril for a long time b/c when I 1st started reading SF in the early 1960s I knew of few or no women involved. Then I discovered & read Merril's 1961 editing of the 6th Annual Edition The Year's Best S-F & was happy to find something both edited by a woman & including women writers. This was certainly one of the earliest SF anthologies I ever read & I remember being very impressed by it. As such, Merril stuck in my mind as someone to watch for. Nonetheless, I've read very little by her since! Having just now read her Wikipedia bio, I'm once again astounded that I hadn't previously learned more about her. Her activities as a political activist alone are enuf to strongly endear her to me. Again, as in The Space Merchants, Gunner Cade presents history & language distorted for propaganda control purposes. People are taught that the world(s) had been created 10,000 yrs before & that an Emperor & a particular political system had been served throughout. Creationism anyone? Page 10: a teacher 'explains' that: "'They must be always occupied with fiddling details' - I should perhaps explain that a fiddle was a musical instrument; fiddling hence means harmonious, or proper." The joke here being that at the time Gunner Cade was written "fiddling details" wd've meant 'trivial, little, petty, worthless, insignificant' details - in other words, something to keep the dupes busy to keep them from thinking about anything important. Another instance of this is on page 18: "'Always assume mankind is essentially merciful; nothing else explains why crooks are regularly returned to office.' If you know as little of Philosophy as you do of decency, Brother, I should explain that a crook is an implement formerly used by good shepherds and in this case stands, by a figure of speech, for the good shepherd himself." Ha ha!! Making this whole tale even more poignant for me is that much of it takes place in Baltimore (my home town), Aberdeen (the military weapons testing area north of Baltimore), & Washington DC (similarly nearby in the South). These are, indeed, highly significant locations for American militarism. The society of this story is a future one so these locations are described circuitously: eg: the Pentagon is a ruin called the Caves of Washington. As Gunner Cade, the title's character, becomes less naive re what's actually going on around him, a respected military figure is found to be completely cynical. Cade learns that wars that he'd fought in were at heart divide-&-conquer strategies to keep the masses disunited. WWI anyone? As a "Gunner" Cade is to keep absolute distance from women. Look to the more militaristic culture of Papua, New Guinea (& most other places) for contemporary parallels. But it takes contact w/ one of these dreaded creatures for Cade to finally learn about history - a very dangerous subject indeed. All in all, the bk's slant is pro-technology wch is to say pro-science wch is to say pro-progress - a slant that I suspect that Merril probably came to qualify as its more destructive ramifications became increasingly apparent after WWII. According to Wikipedia, "From the mid-1970s until her death, Merril spent much time in the Canadian peace movement, including traveling to Ottawa dressed as a witch in order to hex Parliament for allowing American cruise missile testing over Canada." Wch isn't to say that technology is only cruise missiles - wch is to say that an unquestioned support of technology will most certainly include such things as cruise missiles & even worse. Both Gunner Cade & The Space Merchants end on an optimistic romantic note: the women are the ones who know what's going on from the get-go & the men are the ones who are gradually converted by love to apply their power to less slavish ends. If the implication is that this is generally the case between the 'sexes' then I probably disagree. Nonetheless, this was yet another good subversive novel written at a time when such things were very important - just as they are now.
Digging down again into my box of old paperbacks from the 60s and 70s, I found this one by Cyril M. Kornbluth ( also by Judith Merril). CMK seems to have been an interesting guy. He was born in New York in 1923 and was a member of the Futurians, the original science fiction fan club which included Isaac Asimov ( the greatest of all SF writers!), Fred Pohl, and others. Of course, Kornbluth got into writing-"Gunner Cade" was first published as an "Astounding Science Fiction" serial in 1952. Very sadly, a most promising career was cut short when Kornbluth died suddenly of a heart attack in '58 at the age of 35. "Gunner Cade" is the story of a big man, a highly trained killer as a member of the elite police force in the service of the Emperor of the World ( who rules from his palace in Aberdeen, Maryland). Cade is captured while fighting enemies in France and wakes up only to find himself a fugitive. As he runs from a world-wide manhunt, he is forced to learn the truth of the world he has been living in---A good story, but, if anything, not developed enough and could have been longer. I'm not talking about a multi-volume series with books of 800 pages each--but a little longer story would have been nice!
The reviews below cover the book well enough that anything I add would be redundant. Suffice it to say that I am a big admirer of Cyril Kornbluth, (probably best known for his story "The Marching Morons") and I was curious about his collaborations with Judith Merril. I picked a couple off of eBay. GUNNER CADE and OUTPOST MARS. CADE, is by far the better of the two, and I can recommend it to anyone interested in reading some decent 50s sf by a neglected author. Kornbluth died tragically young, at age 34, of a heart attack. All of his novels save one -- THE SYNDIC -- were co-authored. The books he wrote with Fred Pohl were well received and are read to this day.
A military man with firm convictions, who has all his beliefs shattered, but struggles to keep all the pieces together as long as possible. This book has a unique view of what could happen if we forget our history, if doing so was originally to save ourselves from ourselves. I always felt there was one more layer of deception, though not knowing how deep it went was part of what kept my interest. I'll need to read it again to really decide if it's a keeper.
i need to stop reading crappy science fiction.
Excellent example of the science fiction of the 50's. I suspect that some of the ritual around the military supermen of the future may have been influential to the designers of Warhammer 40,000.
Grade B-Ace Double Novel D227Author listed as Cyril Judd