Thanks for the kind words @skua, and many thanks indeed for setting the record straight on ornithopters! I am familiar with that Da Vinci design but didn't realize it had that name. Very cool, learn something new every day!
One bit that ended up (rightly) on the cutting-room floor was that one reason I love Cordwainer Smith's writing so much is his lyrical use of the English language. Just incredible. And his entire s/f canon fits in one hardbound volume, so it's easy to be thoroughly familiar with his entire output. Makes it all the more amazing that he was so influential when the entirety of his s/f work is so small.