Incredibly alienating. The bizarre badly written. I know he's a cult figure and I seem to be down on them, but.
Pohl tells a story on his blog about the reason Smith stopped writing about the world of the Space Lords. He had any number of ideas which he kept in a note book. One day he bent over the side of a boat on the Meditteranean. You can guess what happened.
Apparently he couldn't write unless nobody knew who he was. I'm sorry, but what I want to say is I don't blame him.
Surely nobody thinks he can write? Surely.
Taking a look around for more on him, I see that Christianity was very important to him and that his science fiction is riddled with his consequent beliefs. Maybe that is why I find his stuff so repelling. It does read like propaganda and that is his field in real life, psychological warfare. The article in question is here: http://www.sunpopblue.com/Music-Art-Books/Cordwainer-Smith.html
I'm sorry, I was really looking forward to reading this and feel like I've failed some sort of sci fi test.