RARA-AVIS: Re: Atomsk

From: Richard Moore (moorich@aol.com)
Date: 23 Oct 2008

  • Next message: Karin Montin: "RARA-AVIS: Apply Now: Banff International Literary Translation Centre"

    ATOMSK is an early Cold War thriller with the title being the Soviet Union's secret atomic center in Siberia. Early scenes take place in Occupied Japan just after WWII. America plans to send one of its top spies, a Major Michael Dugan, to Atomsk to learn what he can learn and get him back alive. Later, the US intends to let the Soviets learn the Americans know of Atomsk but not how much they know, nor how they obtained the information. As a part of that secondary plan, Dugan is to leave some traces of his presence in and around Atomsk that the Soviets will discover once they know their secret site is a secret no longer. But the Soviets won't know how much the Americans know about the center nor exactly how they gained that knowledge.

    Stylistically, my memory is a bit vague not having looked at the novel in many years. If I can put my hands on it, I will report more fully on the style. But I recall the novel owed a good deal to Paul Linebarger's "day job" at the time as a leading expert in psychological warfare. His book PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE was the standard text on the subject and many say he created modern Psychological Warfare.

    As an aside, the U.S. Army headquartered a psychological warfare group at Fort Bragg on the John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare--home of the Green Berets. By the time I arrived there in 1969, "warfare" had disappeared. The names had been changed to the JFK Center for Military Assistance and psychological warfare had become Psychological Operations or PSYOPS.

    We weren't given Dr. Linebarger's book or anything else I recall to study. I do remember standing guard duty at night protecting a statue of a Green Beret soldier from midnight fun-seekers who had been spray painting the nether regions of the statue with festive colors.

    Richard Moore

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "juri.nummelin@..."
    <juri.nummelin@...> wrote:
    > Richard Moore:
    > "I was very happy one day to find the May 1949 volume as it contains a
    > thriller ATOMSK by Carmichael Smith, pseudonym for Paul Linebarger
    who achieved
    > greater success writing as Cordwainer Smith."
    > What's the book like? Anything in the vein of his science fiction?
    The title
    > sounds intriguing.
    > Juri

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 23 Oct 2008 EDT