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If you own only one anthology of classic science fiction, it should be The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. Selected by a vote of the membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), these 26 reprints represent the best, most important, and most influential stories and authors in the field. The contributors are a Who's Who of classic SF, wit If you own only one anthology of classic science fiction, it should be The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. Selected by a vote of the membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), these 26 reprints represent the best, most important, and most influential stories and authors in the field. The contributors are a Who's Who of classic SF, with every Golden Age giant included: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, John W. Campbell, Robert A. Heinlein, Fritz Leiber, Cordwainer Smith, Theodore Sturgeon, and Roger Zelazny. Other contributors are less well known outside the core SF readership. Three of the contributors are famous for one story--but what stories!--Tom Godwin's pivotal hard-SF tale, "The Cold Equations"; Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life" (made only more infamous by the chilling Twilight Zone adaptation); and Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon" (brought to mainstream fame by the movie adaptation, Charly). The collection has some minor but frustrating flaws. There are no contributor biographies, which is bad enough when the author is a giant; but it's especially sad for contributors who have become unjustly obscure. Each story's original publication date is in small print at the bottom of the first page. And neither this fine print nor the copyright page identifies the magazines in which the stories first appeared. Prefaced by editor Robert Silverberg's introduction, which describes SFWA and details the selection process, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964 is a wonderful book for the budding SF fan. Experienced SF readers should compare the table of contents to their library before making a purchase decision. Fans who contemplate giving this book to non-SF readers should bear in mind that, while several of the collected stories can measure up to classic mainstream literary stories, the less literarily-acceptable stories are weighted toward the front of the collection; adult mainstream-literature fans may not get very far into The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. --Cynthia Ward · Introduction · Robert Silverberg · in · A Martian Odyssey [Tweel] · Stanley G. Weinbaum · nv Wonder Stories Jul ’34 · Twilight [as by Don A. Stuart; Dying Earth] · John W. Campbell, Jr. · ss Astounding Nov ’34 · Helen O’Loy · Lester del Rey · ss Astounding Dec ’38 · The Roads Must Roll · Robert A. Heinlein · nv Astounding Jun ’40 · Microcosmic God · Theodore Sturgeon · nv Astounding Apr ’41 · Nightfall · Isaac Asimov · nv Astounding Sep ’41 · The Weapon Shop [Isher] · A. E. van Vogt · nv Astounding Dec ’42 · Mimsy Were the Borogoves · Lewis Padgett · nv Astounding Feb ’43 · Huddling Place [City (Websters)] · Clifford D. Simak · ss Astounding Jul ’44 · Arena · Fredric Brown · nv Astounding Jun ’44 · First Contact · Murray Leinster · nv Astounding May ’45 · That Only a Mother · Judith Merril · ss Astounding Jun ’48 · Scanners Live in Vain · Cordwainer Smith · nv Fantasy Book #6 ’50 · Mars Is Heaven! · Ray Bradbury · ss Planet Stories Fll ’48 · The Little Black Bag · C. M. Kornbluth · nv Astounding Jul ’50 · Born of Man and Woman · Richard Matheson · vi F&SF Sum ’50 · Coming Attraction · Fritz Leiber · ss Galaxy Nov ’50 · The Quest for Saint Aquin · Anthony Boucher · ss New Tales of Space and Time, ed. Raymond J. Healy, Holt, 1951; F&SF Jan ’59 · Surface Tension [Lavon] · James Blish · nv Galaxy Aug ’52 · The Nine Billion Names of God · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #1, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953 · It’s a Good Life · Jerome Bixby · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #2, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953 · The Cold Equations · Tom Godwin · nv Astounding Aug ’54 · Fondly Fahrenheit · Alfred Bester · nv F&SF Aug ’54 · The Country of the Kind · Damon Knight · ss F&SF Feb ’56 · Flowers for Algernon · Daniel Keyes · nv F&SF Apr ’59 · A Rose for Ecclesiastes · Roger Zelazny · nv F&SF Nov ’63


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If you own only one anthology of classic science fiction, it should be The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. Selected by a vote of the membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), these 26 reprints represent the best, most important, and most influential stories and authors in the field. The contributors are a Who's Who of classic SF, wit If you own only one anthology of classic science fiction, it should be The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. Selected by a vote of the membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), these 26 reprints represent the best, most important, and most influential stories and authors in the field. The contributors are a Who's Who of classic SF, with every Golden Age giant included: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, John W. Campbell, Robert A. Heinlein, Fritz Leiber, Cordwainer Smith, Theodore Sturgeon, and Roger Zelazny. Other contributors are less well known outside the core SF readership. Three of the contributors are famous for one story--but what stories!--Tom Godwin's pivotal hard-SF tale, "The Cold Equations"; Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life" (made only more infamous by the chilling Twilight Zone adaptation); and Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon" (brought to mainstream fame by the movie adaptation, Charly). The collection has some minor but frustrating flaws. There are no contributor biographies, which is bad enough when the author is a giant; but it's especially sad for contributors who have become unjustly obscure. Each story's original publication date is in small print at the bottom of the first page. And neither this fine print nor the copyright page identifies the magazines in which the stories first appeared. Prefaced by editor Robert Silverberg's introduction, which describes SFWA and details the selection process, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964 is a wonderful book for the budding SF fan. Experienced SF readers should compare the table of contents to their library before making a purchase decision. Fans who contemplate giving this book to non-SF readers should bear in mind that, while several of the collected stories can measure up to classic mainstream literary stories, the less literarily-acceptable stories are weighted toward the front of the collection; adult mainstream-literature fans may not get very far into The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. --Cynthia Ward · Introduction · Robert Silverberg · in · A Martian Odyssey [Tweel] · Stanley G. Weinbaum · nv Wonder Stories Jul ’34 · Twilight [as by Don A. Stuart; Dying Earth] · John W. Campbell, Jr. · ss Astounding Nov ’34 · Helen O’Loy · Lester del Rey · ss Astounding Dec ’38 · The Roads Must Roll · Robert A. Heinlein · nv Astounding Jun ’40 · Microcosmic God · Theodore Sturgeon · nv Astounding Apr ’41 · Nightfall · Isaac Asimov · nv Astounding Sep ’41 · The Weapon Shop [Isher] · A. E. van Vogt · nv Astounding Dec ’42 · Mimsy Were the Borogoves · Lewis Padgett · nv Astounding Feb ’43 · Huddling Place [City (Websters)] · Clifford D. Simak · ss Astounding Jul ’44 · Arena · Fredric Brown · nv Astounding Jun ’44 · First Contact · Murray Leinster · nv Astounding May ’45 · That Only a Mother · Judith Merril · ss Astounding Jun ’48 · Scanners Live in Vain · Cordwainer Smith · nv Fantasy Book #6 ’50 · Mars Is Heaven! · Ray Bradbury · ss Planet Stories Fll ’48 · The Little Black Bag · C. M. Kornbluth · nv Astounding Jul ’50 · Born of Man and Woman · Richard Matheson · vi F&SF Sum ’50 · Coming Attraction · Fritz Leiber · ss Galaxy Nov ’50 · The Quest for Saint Aquin · Anthony Boucher · ss New Tales of Space and Time, ed. Raymond J. Healy, Holt, 1951; F&SF Jan ’59 · Surface Tension [Lavon] · James Blish · nv Galaxy Aug ’52 · The Nine Billion Names of God · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #1, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953 · It’s a Good Life · Jerome Bixby · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #2, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953 · The Cold Equations · Tom Godwin · nv Astounding Aug ’54 · Fondly Fahrenheit · Alfred Bester · nv F&SF Aug ’54 · The Country of the Kind · Damon Knight · ss F&SF Feb ’56 · Flowers for Algernon · Daniel Keyes · nv F&SF Apr ’59 · A Rose for Ecclesiastes · Roger Zelazny · nv F&SF Nov ’63

30 review for The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    I don't know why I never thought of this before, but it occurred to me today that nearly all well-known science-fiction novels should be listed on Google Scholar. And indeed they are! It's kind of interesting to see which ones have been cited most. After an hour or so of clicking, here's a preliminary top list: George Orwell, 1984: 3925 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World: 3472 Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1349 Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five: 853 Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged: 787 H. I don't know why I never thought of this before, but it occurred to me today that nearly all well-known science-fiction novels should be listed on Google Scholar. And indeed they are! It's kind of interesting to see which ones have been cited most. After an hour or so of clicking, here's a preliminary top list: George Orwell, 1984: 3925 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World: 3472 Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1349 Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five: 853 Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged: 787 H.G. Wells, The Time Machine: 776 Isaac Asimov, I, Robot: 657 Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness: 502 H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds: 479 Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed: 458 Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey: 391 Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land: 362 H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau: 316 Isaac Asimov, Foundation Trilogy: 298 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle: 292 C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength: 264 Frank Herbert, Dune: 243 Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: 213 Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea: 213 Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano: 209 L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics: The modern science of mental health: 195 Isaac Asimov, Runaround: 194 Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood's End: 189 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle: 189 Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game: 181 Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, 176 Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything, 163 Philip K. Dick, Minority Report: 161 John Brunner, The Shockwave Rider: 159 Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass: 159 Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress: 153 Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon: 146 Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men & Star Maker: 143 Kurt Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron: 143 Go take a look and see where they've been cited! I recommend starting with I, Robot...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    $2.99 Kindle sale, Sept. 10, 2019. An amazing collection of classic SF tales! Of all the very many science fiction books I swiped from my dad when I was a teen, this anthology was one of the best: 26 classic SF short stories, first published between 1929 and 1964, and written by many of the great SF authors of that age: Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Sturgeon, Zelazny, and so on. In about 1969, the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) group nominated 132 stories from the pre-Nebula award era and $2.99 Kindle sale, Sept. 10, 2019. An amazing collection of classic SF tales! Of all the very many science fiction books I swiped from my dad when I was a teen, this anthology was one of the best: 26 classic SF short stories, first published between 1929 and 1964, and written by many of the great SF authors of that age: Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Sturgeon, Zelazny, and so on. In about 1969, the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) group nominated 132 stories from the pre-Nebula award era and then voted on their favorites. So this collection could be considered the "best of the best" for older SF short stories. Robert Silverberg, the editor, wrote a highly interesting foreword regarding the selection process. The most intriguing part of this foreword, to Teenage Me, was his disclosure of the top fifteen stories, in terms of votes received. The official top ten: 1. Nightfall (Isaac Asimov) 2. A Martian Odyssey (Stanley Weinbaum) 3. Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes) 4. Microcosmic God (Theodore Sturgeon) (tie) First Contact (Murray Leinster) 6. A Rose for Ecclesiastes (Roger Zelazny) 7. The Roads Must Roll (Robert Heinlein) (tie) Mimsy Were the Borogoves (Lewis Padgett) (tie) Coming Attraction (Fritz Leiber) (tie) The Cold Equations (Tom Godwin) Well. As a 16* year old, this kind of ordering was irresistible to me. So I read all of the stories and made my own list, writing my own top 15 in the book, in pencil, next to Silverberg's list. My top 10 at age 16: 1. A Martian Odyssey 2. Microcosmic God 3. The Little Black Bag (C.M. Kornbluth) 4. Flowers for Algernon 5. The Cold Equations 6. The Roads Must Roll 7. Surface Tension (James Blish) 8. Mimsy Were the Borogoves 9. First Contact 10. Arena (Fredric Brown) *Actually, I have hazy recollections of first reading this book when I was about 13, and creating my first personal top 15 list at that tender age. Unfortunately 16 year old me saw fit to erase that first list from the book and replace it with my updated list. I now remember nothing about that very first list except that "A Martian Odyssey" was #1 then too and, heaven forgive me, "Helen O'Loy" made an appearance in the top 10. Well, I was only 13! At age 24, I concluded that my tastes as a 16 year old were on the shallow side, and that I had underappreciated some great stories. So written next to the first two lists is a third top 15 list, with these as the top 10: 1. Microcosmic God 2. Surface Tension 3. A Rose for Ecclesiastes 4. First Contact 5. A Martian Odyssey 6. Flowers for Algernon 7. The Weapon Shop (A.E. van Vogt) 8. Nightfall 9. The Roads Must Roll 10. The Little Black Bag It's a (to me, at least) fascinating history of my evolving view of what I considered a great SF story when I was younger. And now, looking at my carefully handwritten lists again, I've got a definite urge to reread these classic stories once more, and see what I would list as my favorites now, some three decades later. But in whatever order, you really can't go wrong with this collection of stories. Several of them are pretty dated, but there's also some amazing writing, especially given the context of the times when they were written. It's still one of my favorite SF short story collections of all time, and one of the main reasons I've been a lifelong fan of science fiction. Thanks, Dad!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    SF CONNOISSEURS AND GLUTTONS…here is that rare, perfect blend of gourmet quality with the "all you can eat" quantity of a Vegas buffet. Stuffed within these pages is a 26-course PROSE FEAST serving up the crème de la crèmeiest of SF short stories cooked up between 1929 and 1964. On the litgasm scale, this ensemble clearly reaches multiple territory in the quality department and yet is also substantial enough for you to gorge on for days. All of the stories were selected by the Science Fiction Wr SF CONNOISSEURS AND GLUTTONS…here is that rare, perfect blend of gourmet quality with the "all you can eat" quantity of a Vegas buffet. Stuffed within these pages is a 26-course PROSE FEAST serving up the crème de la crèmeiest of SF short stories cooked up between 1929 and 1964. On the litgasm scale, this ensemble clearly reaches multiple territory in the quality department and yet is also substantial enough for you to gorge on for days. All of the stories were selected by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and contains an almost unimprovable collection of SF tales from the pre-1965 era.....with two minor gripes. To answer that begging question, my two issues with the selections are: 1.The Star by Arthur C. Clarke should have been included. Robert Silverberg points out in the intro that each author was only entitled to have one story selected for inclusion. Since Clarke’s The Nine Billion Names for God got more votes than The Star, it was included. I understand the methodology, but would have gone the other way. 2. I would also have included Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut in place of Helen O’Loy by Lester del Rey as I found del Rey’s story the weakest of the group. That’s it. Nothing major enough to have SFWA wishing it could spit spice my soup. Just a few small tweaks I would have made. Apart from that, this really is about a good an anthology covering such an extensive period of time as you are likely ever to see. So without further ado, here is the list of stories along with the all-star cast of contributing grand masters [begin drumroll]………. A Martian Odyssey prepared by Stanley G. Weinbaum (1934) Twilight by John W. Campbell, Jr. [as Don A. Stuart] (1934) Helen O’Loy by Lester del Rey (1938) The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein (1940) Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon (1941) Nightfall by Isaac Asimov (1941) The Weapon Shop by A.E.van Vogt (1942) Mimsy Were the Borogoves by Lewis Padgett (1943) Huddling Place by Clifford D. Simak (1944) Arena by Fredric Brown (1944) First Contact by Murray Leinster (1945) That Only a Mother by Judith Merril (1948) Scanners Live in Vain by Cordwainer Smith (1950) Mars Is Heaven! by Ray Bradbury (1948) The Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth (1950) Born of Man and Woman by Richard Matheson (1950) Coming Attraction by Fritz Leiber (1950) The Quest for Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher (1951) Surface Tension by James Blish (1952) The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke (1953) It’s a Good Life by Jerome Bixby (1953) The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin (1954) Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester (1954) The Country of the Kind by Damon Knight (1956) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1959) A Rose for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny (1963) So that's about....what? You want reviews for all the stories? I'm sorry, but I would need at least a full day, two bottles of wine and a big thesaurus to do them justice. Even choosing favorites in this collection is like trying to pick gnat shit out of pepper. However, if I HAD to choose a top 5 it would probably be as follows: (1) The Country of the Kind, (2)Flowers for Algernon and (3)That Only a Mother, each for the deeply emotional impact these stories had on me (runner ups in the emotional torrent category would go to The Cold Equations and Huddling Place); AND (4) A Martian Odyssey and (5) Scanners Live in Vain, these two for their ability to immerse the reader so completely in a brilliant conceived and very alien environment. I want to point out that this list could change at any time based on mood and/or level of sobriety. Least favorites in this collection is pretty easy and probably won't change. There are only two stories I didn’t love, Twilight and Helen O’Loy, and only Helen O’Loy is not worthy to be a part of this collection (IMHO). Then again, Lester del Rey wrote it and rank doth have its privileges. All the others range from very good all the way up to “my naughty bits are tingling,” with the majority causing at least some degree of warm sensation. Along with Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions, this may be the best anthology of science fiction stories ever assembled. I certainly can’t think of a better one. 6.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    If you've read much sf at all when you pick up a collection like this you'll already have read about half, but that's okay. What wasn't okay was the dawning realisation ... hmmm, isn't it odd that the ones I'm reading now are all the really frankly ridiculous ones and all the stories I read way back when were the great mindblowing ones. This made me think that old sf maybe doesn't travel through time well, and like old music, it now has surface noise and poor attitudes. Take "The Weapon Shop" by A If you've read much sf at all when you pick up a collection like this you'll already have read about half, but that's okay. What wasn't okay was the dawning realisation ... hmmm, isn't it odd that the ones I'm reading now are all the really frankly ridiculous ones and all the stories I read way back when were the great mindblowing ones. This made me think that old sf maybe doesn't travel through time well, and like old music, it now has surface noise and poor attitudes. Take "The Weapon Shop" by A E Van Vogt. It makes no sense, even if you allow for the possibility Mr Van Vogt might have missed four consecutive nights of sleep when he wrote it. I think it's some kind of allegory. The good guys in this story have a slogan: THE RIGHT TO BUY WEAPONS IS THE RIGHT TO BE FREE Actually that does make A E Van Vogt look like a master prognosticator. I still fondly think these are great stories though : Isaac Asimov "Nightfall" 1941 Lewis Padgett “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” 1943 Cordwainer Smith “Scanners Live in Vain” 1948 Ray Bradbury “Mars is Heaven!” 1948 Richard Matheson “Born of Man and Woman” 1950 Fritz Leiber “Coming Attraction” 1950 James Blish “Surface Tension” 1952 Arthur C. Clarke “The Nine Billion Names of God” 1953 Jerome Bixby “It's a Good Life” 1953 Tom Godwin “The Cold Equations” 1954 Daniel Keyes “Flowers for Algernon” 1959

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Twenty six influential stories from the early days of science-fiction are collected in this book. For years, friends of the genre would tell me that this is the one collection I had to find and read. I haunted used book stores for it--and the other volumes in the set. Eventually I broke down and bought the newly published edition, only then to find a full set at my local used book store. So, yes I have two copies now. One to keep and one to loan out. Simply put, this is a great collection of som Twenty six influential stories from the early days of science-fiction are collected in this book. For years, friends of the genre would tell me that this is the one collection I had to find and read. I haunted used book stores for it--and the other volumes in the set. Eventually I broke down and bought the newly published edition, only then to find a full set at my local used book store. So, yes I have two copies now. One to keep and one to loan out. Simply put, this is a great collection of some great stories that chart the course of the sci-fi genre. Not every one is a winner in my book, but I can see why each one is as respected as it is. And the good thing about a short story collection is if one story isn't my cup of tea, I can skip to the next one or come back later to see if I'm more in the mood for a certain author or story. I've written down a few thoughts on each story in the collection. I will warn you this is a long post since it looks at all the stories. Martian Odyssey, by Stanley G. Weinbaum It's interesting to read this story close to a hundred years after its publication and in the light of NASA's landing the Curiosity rover on Mars. At first, I wasn't overly impressed with the story because it just seemed like a travelogue across the surface of Mars. However, a little bit of research and use of Google made me realize that while the story seems "old hat" now, it was absolutely revolutionary at the time it was published. Weinbaum's creation and use of Martian natives who weren't hellbent on destroying our world or openly hostile to humanity's arrival was revolutionary and influenced a lot of Martian stories from that point forward. For that alone, I can appreciate the story. Twilight by John W. Campbell Another story that influenced everything that came after it but doesn't seem as revolutionary a hundred years later. A man from the future is attempting to time travel and overshoots the period he intended. He comes from a future in which humanity has become lazy and given up on pursuits because machines make life a bit too easy for everyone. In some ways, it reminds me of the society we saw in Wall-E. It also reminded me of the Futurama episode where time travel could only move one direction--forward--and our heroes had to keep following the rise and fall of Earth as they tried to get back to their original starting point (or at least close to it). I'll admit that I enjoyed this one a great deal more than the first one, but it went up a bit in my estimation once I did a bit more research on it and cast my mind back a bit to when it was originally published. Helen O'Loy, by Lester del Rey An amusing little story in which two scientists set out to create the "perfect" woman. In this case, they do it by purchasing the ultimate female robot and making her self-aware. The first-person narrator is forced to go off-site for a couple of months and returns to find that his partner and the robot girl are now married. The story follows Helen over her lifespan with the scientist and ends on a bittersweet note when he died and Helen asks to be cremated to go along with him. Turns out our first-person narrator has been in love with Helen all along as well--he just missed out because of the extended leave required for his job. A lot more fun than the first two stories in the volume, this story sets the template for a lot of the sentient robots to come in popular culture and the genre. Echoes of Data are here. It was interesting to read this after seeing Ruby Sparks because both offer up some interesting questions about creating the ideal woman and the nature of love over the long term. The Roads Must Roll, by Robert Heinlein It's no great secret that while I respect what Robert A. Heinlein brought to the genre, I'm not necessarily his biggest fan. I think a lot of what he did was good, but often times his novels seem to run out of gas long before we get to the final chapter. So I was hopeful that a short story might impress me a bit more. That wasn't necessarily the case. In many ways, The Roads Must Roll feels like a bit of a warm-up for The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. Not my favorite story of the collection, but still an entertaining (at times) one. You can see the early seeds of Heinlein political philosophy that would dominate his later works here. Microcosmic God, by Theodore Sturgeon If you're like me, you're probably familiar with the name Theodore Sturgeon from the original Star Trek. Among the episodes he contributed was one of my favorite's "Amok Time." Like Heinlein, I probably brought some pre-conceived notions to the story though in the case of Sturgeon they were a bit more favorable. A fascinating premise and a well executed story that went by very quickly and let me curious to read more of Sturgeon's output. Nightfall, by Isaac Asimov In the late 80's Asimov expanded this short story into a full length novel with help from his friend Robert Silverberg. I read the novel back in the day, but had never read the original short story. On a world with six suns, night only falls once every thousand or so years. The time of night is upon the world with the last sun slowly sinking below the horizon. The debate is on as to how humanity will react to the darkness--will it be paranoia and madness? Will there be light from other far away suns? Will society descend into chaos and be lost? From my vague memories of the expanded novel, I'll have to say that the short story version is a lot better. While the novel had attempts at character development, that wasn't always Asimov's strongest suit. the short story shows Asimov at his best--bringing up unique ideas and examining if and and how the society in question will react to them. The revelation that the group has created candles to try and combat the coming darkness is nicely done, as is the fact that the story ends where it does. Asimov asks some questions, gives an indication as to how things could go and them wisely allows readers to decide for themselves what comes next. The Weapons Shop, by A. E. van Vogt Before I started Shop, I had no familiarity wit A.E. van Vogt. After reading the story, I'm intrigued enough to pursue other works and see if they're as good. When a pre-fab weapons show appears in a future town, the residents are shocked but don't seem inclined to do much about it. Except for Fala, who takes action to try and get the shop to go back from whence it came. That is until the shop begins to ruin his business, his family, his reputation and almost his marriage. Going back to the shop to buy a guy to end his life, Fala finds out this is all part of a plot to reveal the true nature of the Empress of Isher and to recruit Fala as part of the resistance against her. The story zigs when you think it will zag and continually surprised me. In the running for the best story in this collection--which given how high the bar is set for this collection is saying a lot. Mimsy were the Borogoves, by Lewis Padgett A million years in the future, a scientist invents a time machine and tests it by sending some of his children's discard toys back in time. The toys are discovered by Scott who takes them home and begins to play with them. The toys soon begin to alter Scott and, more significantly, his two-year old sister Emma. Scott's parents eventually catch wind of the toys and bring in a child psychologist to try and figure out what's going on. One of the most intriguing stories in the book, it all culminates with Emma evolving into something completely different under the training influence of the toys. It's a fascinating and chilling story that has stuck with me long after the final paragraphs. Huddling Place, by Clifford Simak I've read a couple of stories by Simak and each time I come scratching my head. He's got some good ideas, but the execution is often lacking. That's the case here. In a world where cities are gone a rich man in a manor house contemplates existence after he buries his father in a family crypt. After the funeral his son announces that he has been awarded an important contract on Mars. Shortly before the son leaves a Martian named Juwan stops by the manor house and informs the man that his son is on the cusp of discovering something big. Atypical for Simak this is a very, very odd tale about the cost of loss of cities and over-identification with home. The man suffers from agoraphobia and is called out of the house when Juwan is struck sick. It is revealed that the house robots have been conditioning him to be afraid of leaving. The story doesn't really end, so much as just stop. I found that a bit frustrating. Arena, by Fredric Brown In the near future, two vast and mostly evenly matched space fleets are headed for a huge showdown just outside the orbit of Pluto when a representative of each race is whisked away by a superior alien race to a blue sand world to fight to the death. The winner's race is allowed to live while the loser's race will be wiped from existence. Carson, the human, must fight against a representative of the alien race. Between the two of them is an invisible barrier through which some objects can pass but others cannot. The story served as the inspiration for the original Star Trek episode "Arena" though Brown's original version doesn't feature the more optimistic, Gene Roddenberry influenced ending. But it works within the context of this story just as the Trek ending works within the context of the overall universe there. In this version, Carson figures out that by knocking himself close to unconscious, he get across the barrier and kill his opponent. And that's exactly what he does. First Contact, by Murray Leinster A first contact story in which both participants are hesitant to trust each other. Again, this is one of those stories that had I not seen or read derivations of it in countless other sources over the years, I think I might have enjoyed a lot more. I can see what it's doing and how it's influential, but it's not my favorite of this collection. That Only a Mother, by Judith Merril Told in correspondence between an expecting couple, That Only A Mother is a story that addressed the nuclear fall-out fears of its time and yet, remains fascinating and chilling to this day. Told in the form of correspondence between a husband and wife during World War III about the birth of their first child, the story is an interesting one with one of those endings that stays with you long after you've moved on to the next story in the collection. Scanners Live in Vain, by Cordwainer Smith I've not read a lot of Smith's output, but I'm told he's great. Based on this story about the creation of a new form of cyborg to deal with piloting ships through hyperspace, I'm feeling an urge to pick up and explore more of his work--and soon. Scanners are vitally important space-farers who have been altered to become cyborgs. Their job is to pilot ships through hyperspace to other worlds while normal humans sleep through the trip. Their job is so important because ordinary humans go completely insane while traveling faster than light. The scanners have been altered so that they have no sensory input save for sight, and no emotions or fears. Because of the importance of their positions scanners wield enormous political powers anytime off planet. In this story an emergency is called while Martel, a scanner, is "cranching" at home. Martel is married to a normal woman, and cranching is what it is called when a scanner allows other sensory input. While cranching Scanners are capable of talking, feeling, hearing and tasting. Martel is experiencing sensory stimulus such as food and music with his wife at home when the call came. It takes scanners some time to stop cranching, so Martel reports for duty while cranching, which is a serious social faux paus to other scanners. When he reports for duty he and the other scanners are told that a normal human has devised a way for ordinary humans to navigate hyperspace and avoid "the pain of space." The scanners, who are ordinarily a calm and rational bunch, try the scientist in absentia and sentence him to death the next time he sets foot off Earth. The story is about how that conflict is resolved. Mars is Heaven, by Ray Bradbury One of Bradbury's short stories that later became part of The Martian Chronicles. I'd read it before as part of that collection and while it's good, it's not one of my favorite stories from that set. The Little Black Bag, by C. M. Cornbluth Another story about something being sent back in time and its impact on the people who encounter it. In this case, it's a little black medical bag that happens to wind up in the hands of disgraced doctor and a woman looking to blackmail him for all he's worth. The bag helps the doctor regain his career and station in life, all while providing future medical techniques to his patients. The partner wants to use the bag to make money by offering greater cosmetic surgeries and things go awry. Unlike the other time travel story, the future is used as more than just a set-up for the events in the past in this one and I think this story works better for it. Born of Man and Woman, by Richard Matheson Matheson is one of my favorite authors and he's such a solid short story writer. That said, I'm not sure this is the best example of his work and how good he can really be. Coming Attraction, by Fritz Leiber An intriguing noir genre story that feels like a product of its time. That's not a bad thing or marks against the story by any stretch of the imagination. It's also one of the shorter installments in the collection and one of the ones that's stayed with me long after I read it. In a post apocalyptic America a foreign dignitary is approached and asked for help getting a woman out of the country. The U.S. has become as religiously repressive as any country in the middle east. Women are chattel and are required to wear burkhas in public, but are sexually objectified and used only for release in private. A woman who has somehow managed to hold on to a little bit of wealth tries to use her sexuality to bribe the diplomat to help her, but ordinary male citizens, angered over any public contact between a man and a woman, intervene and take action again and again. The Quest for Saint Aquin, by Anthony Boucher Another post apocalyptic story that finds the Pope dispatches a priest to search for the body of Saint Aquin, who is rumored to be "beyond corruption," or incapable of rotting. In this place and time Catholics are persecuted and killed on sight. The priest rides off on his "robass," or robotic donkey, which is AI. The two debate the reality of the post apocalyptic world as well as theology, and together quest through one peril after another. When the body of Saint Aquin is found, the priest comes to a startling realization about the nature and future of humanity. An interesting story, though again not my favorite from the collection. Surface Tension, by James Blish It's always interesting to come across Blish because, to me, he's always the guy who novelized every episode of classic Trek and gave us the first original novel for the classic series. So, it's sometimes odd to come across a short story by him and not have Kirk and Spock show up. That bias aside, I will admit I loved this story about a team that has been sent to a very watery planet to terraform it crashes on the one island above water. They realize that they are going to die shortly as the ship is totally destroyed and their food stores are running out. In an odd attempt to survive, the humans design a microbial form of human, that is fully sentient and intelligent, and seed deep pools of water on the island with them. The Nine Billion Names of God, by Arthur C. Clarke It's a deceptively simple story by Clarke and an intriguing one. It's also one of the most famous stories in the collection. A group of monks gets a computer to print out all the nine billion possible names for God. If they find the right one and there is a God, the universe ends. If not, they disprove the existence of God. I won't give away the ending, though odds are you probably already know it. Again, Clarke is one of those writers who can make it look easy, as he does here. Its a Good Life by Jerome Bixby Odds are you've seen The Twilght Zone episode based on this one. A little boy who can read thoughts and has mental powers rules over a town with an iron fist. Easy to see why Rod Serling adapted it. The Cold Equations, by Tom Godwin Girl steals away on starship with the good intention of seeing her brother on the colony. One small problem--the fuel is put on the ship for the exact weight of the cargo and crew. No more, no less. Her stowing away raises the ethical dilemma of the ship not arriving at the colony with much needed supplies and there's no way to fuel up in transit. A dark, disturbing little tale that's made even more interesting by the allegations that Godwin didn't write it himself but copied the idea from other sources. Fondly Farenheit, by Alfred Bester I love anything by Bester and this is no exception. trust fund baby, Vanderleer, who has gone broke is fleeing the authorities with his sole asset, a highly complex and valuable android. The android has started killing people for no reason. Vanderleer does not want to give up the android, because he hires it out and lives off the income from it. After the latest murder he fled to a new planet and fell in with a nymphomaniac jeweler who learns his secret, just in time to be killed herself by the robot. Vanderleer again flees, and in his travels with the robot learns that the thing goes insane in high temperatures only. He resolves only to live on cold worlds, and as he plans their next move, the robot begins to project its consciousness into him. The Country of the Kind, by Damon Knight Not really a huge fan of this story. It was short enough that I didn't feel the need to skim or skip it, but it never engaged my interest that much. Could be because I was curious to get to my re-read of Flowers. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes I read the longer novel a year ago and loved it. I was curious to see which I'd prefer--the novel or the short story. In the end, I have to say that both are equally effective ways of telling the same story. It still strikes me as a horror story on some level with Charlie being teased with what he could be and then slowly having it all taken away from him. A Rose for Ecclesiastes, by Roger Zelazney A human linguist is allowed access to the Martian's sacred temple where he is taught the high form of their language. As he learns he uncovers the truth of their sad existence. Zelazney does a wonderful job with the linguistics issue.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    (Revised, Aug. 5, 2010 Soon after the creation of the Nebula Award in 1965 by the Science Fiction Writers of America, that organization decided to create the "Science Fiction Hall of Fame," a multi-volume anthology to include works published before 1965, which were selected by a poll of the membership as deserving of Nebula Award-class recognition. This first volume contains the short stories chosen (two subsequent volumes recognize the selected novellas). Again, this is a collection I've had on (Revised, Aug. 5, 2010 Soon after the creation of the Nebula Award in 1965 by the Science Fiction Writers of America, that organization decided to create the "Science Fiction Hall of Fame," a multi-volume anthology to include works published before 1965, which were selected by a poll of the membership as deserving of Nebula Award-class recognition. This first volume contains the short stories chosen (two subsequent volumes recognize the selected novellas). Again, this is a collection I've had on my "read" shelf for some time; but I only recently went back to read the last couple of stray stories I hadn't previously read. The above Goodreads description is actually a review in its own right --and a good one, IMO, though I disagree with the reviewer's laudatory assessment of some stories. That description identifies all of the authors represented and lists all of the stories as well, matching them with the author (and also identifying the publications where they first appeared, which the book does not although it does give the publication dates). There are 26 selections; by design, all are by different writers. Like the anthology I reviewed yesterday evening, Adventures in Time and Space, this one was hard to rate, and for the same reason. The quality of the stories is uneven --not surprisingly, when one considers the fact that they were selected by a poll of the membership (which also suggested the 132 nominated stories) of a largish organization that undoubtedly embraced many wildly diverging reading tastes. (As editor Silverberg notes, there were also cases where strictly numerical vote tallying wasn't followed; and a criterion for selection was how influential the story was on the genre --which isn't precisely the same question as how good or how well-written it is.) There wasn't any question that I liked the book overall, but as one of my Goodreads friends noted, "there are a lot of clunkers here;" the question was if they should pull the rating down to three stars. But I ultimately decided on four (and perhaps should have done the same for the Adventures collection mentioned at the start of the paragraph!) Chronologically, the stories span the years 1934-1963; they represent both the pulp tradition and the more polished and consciously literary works of the postwar period that followed it (and fortunately cut off before the pestilential "New Wave" era that followed in its turn). A number of the selections are frequently-anthologized works that I've commented on in reviews of other collections. These include stellar masterpieces like Boucher's "The Quest for Saint Aquin," Van Vogt's "The Weapons Shop," Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey," and Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon;" solid works such as Asimov's "Nightfall," Bradbury's "Mars Is Heaven!" and Zelazny's "A Rose for Ecclesiastes;" and (speaking of clunkers), Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll." The latter case is a good example of an instance where a writer is recognized here for a story vastly inferior to another, or others, that he wrote (the male pronoun reflects the fact that only one woman, Judith Merril, was represented here; the genre in the pre-1965 era was male-dominated, but one can't help but think that C. L. Moore and Zenna Henderson would have won inclusion but for the sexist attitudes of many of those who voted in the poll). Other examples that come to mind are Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, Campbell, Alfred Bester, and Arthur C. Clarke. Of the stories not commented on elsewhere, Cordwainer Smith's "Scanners Live in Vain" (from his Instrumentality of Man corpus) and Fredric Brown's "Arena" are among the best. Lester del Rey's "Helen O'Loy," a tale of an android who genuinely falls in love with her human creator, is an emotionally compelling work that explores what it means to be human (though a contrast between it and Bradbury's handling of the same question in "I Sing the Body Electric" --not included here-- is perhaps instructive; del Rey seeks to reduce human love to a mechanistically explainable chemical phenomenon, where Bradbury recognizes it as something that transcends the mechanistic and the material). Though they have wildly implausible premises, Kornbluth's "The Little Black Bag" and Blish's "Surface Tension" are well-written and very readable. Indeed, at least as much could be said for most of the stories. My initial reaction to Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life" and Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names of God" --both of which represent the genre's dark, horrific strand (and represent it very effectively!)-- was negative; but my friend Jim convinced me that they have more complex interpretive possibilities that justify more attention and a higher estimation. (From a Christian perspective, though, the Clarke story does point up a sharp contrast between the Eastern and Christian views of the "end of the world" --annihilation of "illusory" matter, including organic life, vs. transformation of the material universe into something better and wonderful. And I still think Clarke's "Second Dawn" would have been a better selection!) Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" is part of the same dark SF strand, but there the horrific quality is clearly intended to be existential, expressions of a cold and unfeeling universe that's indifferent or hostile to human beings. Since I see that perspective as flawed and barren, it makes it harder to relate to the story. (Of course, one of my favorite writers is Lovecraft, who wrote from the same perspective, but in his work that message usually comes across to me as just a tacked-on "moral," like Aesop's; it isn't something that emerges inescapably from the warp and woof of the story. In this story, it does, and the storytelling and style lack the qualities I personally find congenial in Lovecraft --though the story is effectively designed for its purpose.) Plausibility isn't a long suit here, either. Leiber's "Coming Attraction" is a vivid picture of a highly dystopian, decadent post-nuclear war U.S.; but it lacks any point or narrative resolution that could give the reader any satisfaction with the story. But these, plus the afore-mentioned Heinlein selection, constitute the only stories here that, for me, just don't please at all (though the Godwin story is in a different class in terms of artistic design).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Sci-fi Hall of Fame Volume 1 1929-1964 Collection of the best sci-fi stories prior to 1964. Many of the stories are quite famous. There are twenty-six stories in all. Here are my favorite five star reads. 1. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes. Arguably the greatest sci-fi short story of all time. 2. A Rose for Ecclesiastes - Roger Zelazny. Earthling man who becomes a famous poet is betrayed by a Martian dancer so that he can fulfill their Martian prophesy. 3. Microcosmic God - Theodore Sturgeon. Kid Sci-fi Hall of Fame Volume 1 1929-1964 Collection of the best sci-fi stories prior to 1964. Many of the stories are quite famous. There are twenty-six stories in all. Here are my favorite five star reads. 1. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes. Arguably the greatest sci-fi short story of all time. 2. A Rose for Ecclesiastes - Roger Zelazny. Earthling man who becomes a famous poet is betrayed by a Martian dancer so that he can fulfill their Martian prophesy. 3. Microcosmic God - Theodore Sturgeon. Kidder the scientist buys an island to conduct his infinite power source experiments. Conant the banker becomes obsessed with the prospect of how much money could be made off the power machine and tries to take Kidder and the island hostage. Kidder gets the last laugh as he builds a permanent force field to keep out Conant and the U.S. military. Conant goes mentally insane. 4. Nightfall - Isaac Asimov. Along with Flowers for Algernon perhaps the most famous sci-fi short story ever written. Surprisingly thought provoking about a world with six suns that has never seen darkness and a people who have never seen stars. That is until the six suns line up by chance so half the world is dark for half a day. Much of the population goes insane. 5. Huddling Place by Clifford Simak. Future Earth has no cities, everyone has moved to their own private huddle areas, rural enclaves isolated from other people. 6. That Only a Mother - Judith Merril. Parents live/work near a uranium weapons assembly plant where birth defects are common. Father is shocked that baby is born without limbs. 7. Mars is Heaven - Ray Bradbury. Martians have power to shape-shift into likenesses of the exploring Astronauts’ individual family members. They use the trick to kill the space explorers. Famous story. 8. Born of Man and Woman by Richard Matheson. Horror/sci-fi. Very shocking and original story of malformed child who is chained up in the basement. The story is told from the child’s perspective. 9. The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin. Girl stows away on a small space craft. She is discovered by the pilot. The inter-planetary laws state that stowaways shall be executed since fuel is such a concern. The girl eventually comes to grips with the fact that she will be jettisoned into space to die. Good story albeit disturbing. 4 stars for the collection. Some are the best sci-fi stories ever written while others feel a bit dated.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    A friend of mine recently reviewed this http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... & I realized I didn't have it on my bookshelf here & should. I have an old hardback from the library from back when I was a teen & I've read through all of these stories numerous times over the years both here & in other anthologies. Almost all of the stories are incredibly good. I won't review them all, but a few deserve mentioning. Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" is probably the most dated & least favorite of mine. A friend of mine recently reviewed this http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... & I realized I didn't have it on my bookshelf here & should. I have an old hardback from the library from back when I was a teen & I've read through all of these stories numerous times over the years both here & in other anthologies. Almost all of the stories are incredibly good. I won't review them all, but a few deserve mentioning. Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" is probably the most dated & least favorite of mine. "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" by Roger Zelazny isn't a favorite either, although it is the story that brought my favorite author to everyone's attention. "Surface Tension" by James Blish has always been a favorite. I think he captured the heroic spirit of exploration & striving perfectly. "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin is also excellent, if sad. "It’s a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby is probably the scariest & would fit well in as horror story. It was a fantastic Twilight Zone. Little Will Robinson was perfect. "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes is super, but sad, & the movie "Charley" was a fantastic rendition for the silver screen. "The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth definitely tops the chilling list, though. It's not only possible, but here. I work with folks that use computers - magic black boxes to many of them - & have seen some of the havoc wreaked through ignorance. Anyone interested in SF should read this. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the stories here are some of the most published. It's certainly a super collection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cloudwalker

    Finally got a few uninterrupted moments, so let's see if I can write something that makes sense here. Yes, this is an old book, and some of these short stories show their age, mostly because of what their authors assume culturally. I quickly noticed that in almost every tale, men dominated. Female characters were generally depicted as "the little woman," if they were present at all. Even the wonderful Helen O'Loy was at heart a classic stay-at-home-housewife, whose sole desire was to make her ma Finally got a few uninterrupted moments, so let's see if I can write something that makes sense here. Yes, this is an old book, and some of these short stories show their age, mostly because of what their authors assume culturally. I quickly noticed that in almost every tale, men dominated. Female characters were generally depicted as "the little woman," if they were present at all. Even the wonderful Helen O'Loy was at heart a classic stay-at-home-housewife, whose sole desire was to make her man happy. In the earliest stories, men are the explorers, the warriors, the scientists, hell, even the crazies, by and large. Still, that was the society of the day, and most art is part and parcel of the era it's created in. That's how it gives a window into its world, why it must be understood from the point of view of its particular time. Of course, some of these transcend that. Asimov's "NightFall" with its religion vs science argument still works. So does "Flowers for Algernon" and "The Nine Billion Names of God." I recognized other stories as source material for the original Star Trek and The Twilight Zone. I guess what it comes down to is this: a good story is a good story, despite how rough its edges might be. Most of these short stories are not high art, but they are fun to read, and that's what counts.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Old school science fiction! ♥️

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rasheed

    A Martian Odyssey (1934) by Stanley G. Weinbaum 5/5 Twilight (1934) by John W. Campbell, Jr. 5/5 Helen O'Loy (1938) by Lester del Rey 3/5 The Roads Must Roll (1940) by Robert A. Heinlein 5/5 Microcosmic God (1941) by Theodore Sturgeon 5/5 Nightfall (1941) by Isaac Asimov 5/5 The Weapon Shop (1942) by A.E. van Vogt 5/5 Mimsy Were the Borogoves (1943) by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore 5/5 Huddling Place (1944) by Clifford D. Simak 4/5 Arena (1944) by Fredric Brown 5/5 First Contact (1945) by Murray Leinster 4 A Martian Odyssey (1934) by Stanley G. Weinbaum 5/5 Twilight (1934) by John W. Campbell, Jr. 5/5 Helen O'Loy (1938) by Lester del Rey 3/5 The Roads Must Roll (1940) by Robert A. Heinlein 5/5 Microcosmic God (1941) by Theodore Sturgeon 5/5 Nightfall (1941) by Isaac Asimov 5/5 The Weapon Shop (1942) by A.E. van Vogt 5/5 Mimsy Were the Borogoves (1943) by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore 5/5 Huddling Place (1944) by Clifford D. Simak 4/5 Arena (1944) by Fredric Brown 5/5 First Contact (1945) by Murray Leinster 4/5 That Only a Mother (1948) by Judith Merril 3/5 Scanners Live in Vain (1950) by Cordwainer Smith 5/5 Mars Is Heaven! (1948) by Ray Bradbury 3/5 The Little Black Bag (1950) by C. M. Kornbluth 4/5 Born of Man and Woman (1950) by Richard Matheson 3/5 Coming Attraction (1950) by Fritz Leiber 3/5 The Quest for Saint Aquin (1951) by Anthony Boucher 5/5 Surface Tension (1952) by James Blish 5/5 The Nine Billion Names of God (1953) by Arthur C. Clarke 3/5 It's a Good Life (1953) by Jerome Bixby 3/5 The Cold Equations (1954) by Tom Godwin 4/5 Fondly Fahrenheit (1954) by Alfred Bester 4/5 The Country of the Kind (1956) by Damon Knight 4/5 Flowers for Algernon (1959) by Daniel Keyes 5/5 A Rose for Ecclesiastes (1963) by Roger Zelazny 4/5

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gary Beauregard Bottomley

    These stories were extraordinary for three reasons. 1) They were like listening to old time radio shows from the past only better since the narrative was spoken, 2) Each story gave an incredible peek into the time period they were written in. Pay attention to the time the story was written in order to get the full impact of the story. 3) The stories all have a meaning within themselves. The truths they reach are autonomous, they exist for their own being, and they help one understand one’s own e These stories were extraordinary for three reasons. 1) They were like listening to old time radio shows from the past only better since the narrative was spoken, 2) Each story gave an incredible peek into the time period they were written in. Pay attention to the time the story was written in order to get the full impact of the story. 3) The stories all have a meaning within themselves. The truths they reach are autonomous, they exist for their own being, and they help one understand one’s own existence all the more because they help in partially resolving the ‘paradox of the ego’ (a J.S. Mills expression). My wife and I would listen to these together as we were in bed tucked in for the night. They made for a perfect end for our days. I like Robert Heinlein and have listened to gobs of his stories over the years, but I did not realize how much of a dick he was in 1940 and how much he was opposed to the working person out of ‘first principles’ as was illustrated by his story featured in this book. It made me reassess his other works through a different lens than I had previously. To enhance the story and its meaning we would do a Wiki on ‘Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume I’ and look up the story background and plot summary for each short story featured. That added immensely to our listening pleasure. More fun than old time radio, stories with meaning that transcend the ordinary, and a historical window that was more edifying than time travel and a perfect bed time companion, one cannot ask for more than that with ones entertainment!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Randolph

    Don’t ask me to quote a thing from this or name a single story since I read it in the dark ages and just marked it as “liked” then in the pre-internet age. I kept a paper list in a wire wound notebook of every book I ever read going back to the late sixties, eons before the perfect place like goodreads existed, but I merely marked each one as liked or disliked (I’m not a detail guy generally). However I do recall not liking it as much as Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison which was then, Don’t ask me to quote a thing from this or name a single story since I read it in the dark ages and just marked it as “liked” then in the pre-internet age. I kept a paper list in a wire wound notebook of every book I ever read going back to the late sixties, eons before the perfect place like goodreads existed, but I merely marked each one as liked or disliked (I’m not a detail guy generally). However I do recall not liking it as much as Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison which was then, and will forever be, a solid five stars, so hence the four stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Holmes

    Overall, this is an amazing anthology, though some of the stories are definitely better than others: ESSENTIAL: 1. Microcosmic God - Theodore Sturgeon 2. Arena - Fredric Brown 3. First Contact - Murray Leinster 4. Surface Tension - James Blish 5. Twilight - John W. Campbell 6. Nightfall - Isaac Asimov RECOMMENDED: 7. The Little Black Bag - C.M. Kornbluth 8. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes 9. It's a GOOD Life - Jerome Bixby 10. The Cold Equations - Tom Godwin 11. The Quest for Saint Aquin - Anthony Bouche Overall, this is an amazing anthology, though some of the stories are definitely better than others: ESSENTIAL: 1. Microcosmic God - Theodore Sturgeon 2. Arena - Fredric Brown 3. First Contact - Murray Leinster 4. Surface Tension - James Blish 5. Twilight - John W. Campbell 6. Nightfall - Isaac Asimov RECOMMENDED: 7. The Little Black Bag - C.M. Kornbluth 8. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes 9. It's a GOOD Life - Jerome Bixby 10. The Cold Equations - Tom Godwin 11. The Quest for Saint Aquin - Anthony Boucher 12. A Rose for Ecclesiastes - Roger Zelazny 13. Huddling Place - Clifford D. Simak 14. Mimsy Were the Borogroves - Lewis Padgett 15. Scanners Live in Vain - Cordwainer Smith 16. Fondly Fahrenheit - Alfred Bester DECENT: 17. Mars is Heaven! - Ray Bradbury 18. The Country of the Kind - Damon Knight 19. Coming Attraction - Fritz Leiber 20. A Martian Odyssey - Stanley G. Weinbaum 21. Born of Man and Woman - Richard Matheson 22. The Weapon Shop - A. E. van Vogt KINDA LAME: 23. The Nine Billion Names of God - Arthur C. Clarke 24. The Roads Must Roll - Robert A. Heinlein 25. Helen O'Loy - Lester Del Rey 26. That Only a Mother - Judith Merril

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greg Fanoe

    This collection consists of the 26 best science fiction short stories of all time (through 1964) as voted on by the Science Fiction Writers of America, with some limitations and adjustments (e.g., one book per author). Since this is a collection of stories by different authors, there's no point providing a general review, so, since I'm in a self-indulgent mood, I'll review each individual story. Stanley G. Weinbaum - A Martian Odyssey: Per all accounts, this was one of the most influential sci-fi This collection consists of the 26 best science fiction short stories of all time (through 1964) as voted on by the Science Fiction Writers of America, with some limitations and adjustments (e.g., one book per author). Since this is a collection of stories by different authors, there's no point providing a general review, so, since I'm in a self-indulgent mood, I'll review each individual story. Stanley G. Weinbaum - A Martian Odyssey: Per all accounts, this was one of the most influential sci-fi stories of all time, and its accounts of friendly, non-humanoid aliens spawned all manners of imaginative sci-fi. Reading it today is a chore though. This one has not held up. John W. Campbell - Twilight: On the other hand, this story, though written in 1934, still holds up as a creepy and very effective account of the end of mankind, not as a burnout but as a fade away. Lester del Rey - Helen O'Loy: Ridiculously sexist, in a way that's kind of quaint (given that it was written in 1938), but it's telling that voting in the late 1960's, the SFWA decided that this was one of the best sci-fi stories of all time. Also, aside from the sexism it's just boring. Robert A. Heinlein - The Roads Must Roll: Leave it to Heinlein to write the only story that I am aware of where the hero is upper management and the villians are the unionized working class stiffs. I'm surprised this was felt to be the best Heinlein; I've never read any of his stuff but given his reputation there must be something better out there. Theodore Sturgeon - Microcosmic God: This was a very fun story and I loved the writing style. Isaac Asimov - Nightfall: I found this story to be well thought out and convincing. Maybe I will check out some more Asimov. AE Van Vogt - The Weapon Shop: This was cheefully insane, in a proto-Phillip K. Dick way, and the little details are great. The politics expressed, however, are questionable at best. Lewis Padgett - Mimsy Were the Borogoves: I'm not sure how convincing the science or philosophy of this story is, but this fundamentally a cute and charming story. Clifford D. Simak - Huddling Place: Very forgettable and probably the weakest story in the entire collection. Fredric Brown - Arena: I guess it was trying to parody the pointlessness of war but this was just pulpy and not too interesting. On the other hand, the happy ending to this story involves the genocide of an entire advanced alien race, so there's that. Murray Leinster - First Contact: He presents a very convincing account of the first meeting of man and alien as a logic puzzle, then slowly deconstructs and solves the puzzle. This was a very fun story. Judith Merril - That Only A Mother: I believe this is the only story in the collection written by a female. It's just an account of early atomic age era fears, and is kind of a neat time capsule in that regard. It's spun around a pretty well told human story but it's not much more than a curiosity at this point. Cordwainer Smith - Scanners Live in Vain: One of the most immersive alternate universes of any of these stories. I loved this story as it gets at the heart of what it means to be human in a way that only sci-fi can do. Ray Bradbury - Mars Is Heaven!: This story is also reprinted in The Martian Chronicles (as "The Third Expedition"). It's cool and creepy, but I can't say it has me running out to seek out more Bradbury. C.M. Kornbluth - The Little Black Bag: This is a great story of a moral dilemma caused by an object traveling back from the far future. The prose is great and the ending is satisfying. Also notable for having the exact same set-up as Idiocracy. Richard Matheson - Born of Man and Woman: At 3 pages, by far the shortest story in the collection. I didn't really "get" this one. Fritz Leiber - Coming Attraction: A fairly standard telling of Cold War fears, stapled onto something about men beating up women and women walking around with bare breasts but masks on their face. I don't know if this was supposed to be feminist or "Gee, women sure are crazy", but I do know that this story is a muddled mess. Anthony Boucher - The Quest for Saint Aquin: I really liked the story and the narrative style, but I completely disagree with both the setup and the theme. James Blish - Surface Tension: One of the best stories in the collection, a convincing and fun account of man if we were a microscopic fresh-water organism. Arthur C. Clarke - The Nine Billion Names of God: Hits on high themes but ends up being kind of throwaway. Still a great and well written story. Jerome Bixby - It's a Good Life: I love this story, but how much does it hurt it that the Twilight Zone adaptation is pretty much perfect and actually improves the original? Tom Godwin - The Cold Equations: One of the few "hard" sci-fi stories on the list, but the engineering presented in this story is so dumb that I could not take it seriously. Alfred Bester - Fondly Fahrenheit: Although I wasn't necessarily too into the narrative here I loved the prose and will definitely be checking out more Bester. Damon Knight - The Country of the Kind: Proto-Clockwork Orange, but not very good or interesting otherwise. Daniel Keyes - Flowers for Algernon: This is a great, heart-tugging story, but it really sticks out in this collection. Never thought of this as "sci-fi" as such. This was later adapted into a full length novel, but it didn't need to be because the story itself is perfect. Roger Zelazny - A Rose for Ecclesiastes: Fun and original, and like "Scanners Live in Vain" uses the sci-fi format to tell important themes that are hard to truly tell in a non-scifi context. Overall I would say this collection is about 50/50 on hits vs. misses, and there may well be a better collection somewhere out there, but it's very strong as is.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    180519: ‘helen o’loy’, martian way’, ‘scanners live in vain’, ‘that only a mother’, ‘flowers for algernon’, ‘fondly fahrenheit’, ‘country of the kind’, ‘mimsy were the borogroves’... yeah i remember these stories even if only read few times... 220219: well i just decided to add this to my 'aaafavoritefiction' shelf, so i think i shall review it. this is of course a rating strongly influenced by sentiment, as this must certainlly be very early purchase, ppbk in 77, from some table of ppbk science 180519: ‘helen o’loy’, martian way’, ‘scanners live in vain’, ‘that only a mother’, ‘flowers for algernon’, ‘fondly fahrenheit’, ‘country of the kind’, ‘mimsy were the borogroves’... yeah i remember these stories even if only read few times... 220219: well i just decided to add this to my 'aaafavoritefiction' shelf, so i think i shall review it. this is of course a rating strongly influenced by sentiment, as this must certainlly be very early purchase, ppbk in 77, from some table of ppbk science fiction at school. father scientist, aunt a writer, aunt s painter etc. i am already tending to the arts but wish of course to understand science world, but even so young sff that is adventures/wars/monsters etc do not work for me. i am more 2001/star trek, than star war/aliens kid. so i want sense of history not just wonder. get that here... rather than review individual stories, i will talk about how this work affected my reading. of course, all the stories are very good, all american, all already much older, and impress me with the sense sff can be art. this is new. for when in 6th year my teacher, strict, serious brit, who thinks i am a smart kid, budding writer, is horrified i am reading such sf trash... so gives me actual age-appropriate 'serious books' which i do read, i try to be excited by, i sometimes am, i even soon read aunt a. but her work is originally mostly family-history interest, and here is beginning of conflict for me between sensual/intellectual enjoyment of any lit and the much more common and approved sensual/emotional pleasure in mundane lit. i never like purely intellectual lit (though for some reason in nonfiction i really, really like reading philosophy) or lit that becomes hermetic and so difficult to read unless you have read a lot of other books... but more (pause) when intellectual ideas give birth to that essential 'sense of wonder' aspect of sf... so this is formative influence in all subsequent reading. i do not know many names or works or even tropes, big-dumb-objects etc. but this starts my education. this is of course drawn from limited 'genre' literature, era, country, language, but is useful to start, particularly as it is asserted (somewhere) that sf shows its innovations, its best work, in shorter format where ideas dominate. this is not always so. this collection does offer many examples where this is proven. perhaps not so great read in later years, when you have settled ideas of what to want/expect/get from writing, or fighting against literary prejudice, or repelled by ideology of science, or embedded with ideas that current lit is the best/only/most valid way to the world, or many other reasons- but for youth, for curious, book crazy, artsy, this is an irreplaceable anthology...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I had read some of these classics in my youth, but several of them were new. It was great to dip my toe in these great old stories, in spite of their many problems (where are the women?).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Riju Ganguly

    This compact anthology of 'golden age scifi' is an essential compilation. It contains a very high percentage of such stories that have defined science fiction. As a result, it’s often stated that if you need to keep only one scifi anthology (although why you might be so tight-fisted, is never explained), this one ought to suffice. However, I believe that the main strength of this collection is in showcasing the strengths as well as weaknesses of fiction written in those decades. These stories ar This compact anthology of 'golden age scifi' is an essential compilation. It contains a very high percentage of such stories that have defined science fiction. As a result, it’s often stated that if you need to keep only one scifi anthology (although why you might be so tight-fisted, is never explained), this one ought to suffice. However, I believe that the main strength of this collection is in showcasing the strengths as well as weaknesses of fiction written in those decades. These stories are plot-driven, almost entirely dependent upon WASP characters, have women in rather diminutive roles, try to avoid fantasy to the extent possible. But they shine like diamonds due to their understanding of things to come, as far as the future of earth and humanity are concerned. I am dropping a star because of only one reason. Almost ALL of these stories are available in other anthologies as well. But that should not deter you from purchasing and reading it. Recommended, whole-heartedly.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Stoessel

    Some of the stories have not aged well while others feel like they were written yesterday. Many are classics like It's a Good Life and The Cold Equations for example, had been adapted for movies and TV (The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits) long ago. Little Black Bag, Surface Tension, Flowers for Algernon, Fondly Fahrenheit (by crazy Alfred Bester) and A Rose for Ecclesiastes are my standouts.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I have spent the last several weeks reading most of these stories for the 3rd or more-th time and almost every one of them is less powerful or well-written than i remembered. With some anxiety, i downgrade this book from 5 to 4 stars. "The Roads Must Roll" Robert A. Heinlein: I refuse to reread this ridiculous story. Heinlein never wrote anything better? It's such a preposterous concept that i had to give up a few pages in. "Nightfall" Isaac Asimov: Do i really need to read 40 pages for that "payo I have spent the last several weeks reading most of these stories for the 3rd or more-th time and almost every one of them is less powerful or well-written than i remembered. With some anxiety, i downgrade this book from 5 to 4 stars. "The Roads Must Roll" Robert A. Heinlein: I refuse to reread this ridiculous story. Heinlein never wrote anything better? It's such a preposterous concept that i had to give up a few pages in. "Nightfall" Isaac Asimov: Do i really need to read 40 pages for that "payoff"? "The Nine-Billion Names of God" Arthur C. Clarke: A long joke told for those who buy into Clarke's cosmology? Speaking of jokes. "First Contact" Murray Leinster: Painfully rephrases, "Both ships knew that the only choice was total destruction of one or both of them but neither ship wanted that"? Cold War, fine, got it. "A Martian Odyssey" Stanley G. Weinbaum: Infused me with a crazy strong desire to be an astronaut--at 14--to be the guy who went to Mars and met the new forms of life. Not as inspirational now, but i wasn't disappointed. "Twilight" John W. Campbell: The Godfather of science fiction publishing, but not much of a writer. As a frame story, why should the reader believe that the listener would bother to listen to or believe the storyteller? Nothing happens. Meager gedankenexperiment. "Helen O'Loy" Lester del Rey: Cutesy tale appropriately turned into a sentimental Twilight Zone episode. "Microcosmic God" Theodore Sturgeon: Had me all atwitter with the excitement of scientific endeavor--as a teen--and i wanted to become a scientist/astronaut. Still enjoyable. "The Weapon Shop" A. E. van Vogt: Based on how much i hated his novels, this story was nowhere near as horrible as i feared. "Mimsy Were The Borogoves" Lewis Padgett: Can't imagine how they'd adapt this one into a full-length movie, but They did. Creepy and fascinating--at 14. Upon rereading, the poor parenting seems unsubstantiated except that they're uber-stereotypes of the Cleavers. "Huddling Place" Clifford D. Simak: What an evilly, cynically twisted ending. What did Simak see in his time to believe this could happen? As in many stories in this collection, the psychology feels blatantly antiquated. "Arena" Frederic Brown: Simple story, simple premise; easy & fun Boy Fiction. "That Only A Mother" Judith Merril: Preposterous. Early A-bomb era, i guess. More lame psychodribble. "Scanners Live In Vain" Cordwainer Smith: Another union-uprising tale. This one at least has an interesting scientific premise. It raises valuable questions about self, whereas "Roads" is just painful. "Mars Is Heaven!" Ray Bradbury: Another Twilight Zone episode. I liked it more as an adult than as a teen. Evolutionarily goofy, but still a fun theoretical alien race. Bradbury just couldn't resist writing out his amusing idea? "The Little Black Bag" C.M. Kornbluth: I think i like his characterscaricatures! Is this a morality tale? Sounds negative, but i enjoyed this story of a doctor gone bad going good again. Maybe i just like the underlying belief that circumstances make the man. "Born of Man and Woman" Richard Matheson: Maybe if i understood the writer's era better, i'd have a clue as to why he thinks this is a plausible future. The way the ending's crafted, i get the impression he expects it to really pay off, but it's a dull thud. "The Quest for Saint Aquin" Anthony Boucher: Not bad. A talking cybernetic horse debating theology with a questing priest in an age when Christians (=Catholics, in this story?) are truly persecuted. For a much fuller and greater post-apocalyptic vision of religion, read A Canticle for Leibowitz instead. "Surface Tension" James Blish: Blish might be one of the best science fictionists. He's smart and so are his writings. I love that his what-if world is miniaturized humans underwater. I want a sequel that explores their society after they've figured out in what way they're most different from original humans. Quite a fun adventure yarn. "It's A Good Life" Jerome Bixby: I watched the Twilight Zone version and wondered how it differed from the story. I can't guess why Serling made the one very noticeable change in the beginning. A creepy tale that left me wishing and imagining as hard as i could about little Anthony. If you read it, you'll understand. "The Cold Equations" Tom Godwin: Very cold. Every time i've read this story, i've expected a different ending, the only different ending that seems worthwhile, and it never changes, and still i want it to be different, every time. The real ending (Utilitarianism meets frontierism) is not wrong or bad, but i want that other ending so bad. "Fondly Fahrenheit" Alfred Bester: Seems most critics give Bester praise for psychological savvy and innovation. I'm not as impressed. His material has lost its luster. In a book as poorly copyedited as this one, it's easy to chalk up all the perspective switches and pronoun misuse in the first couple pages, before it becomes clear what Bester's doing. Rereading is useful in this case. A literary scholar in love w/semiotics might have a field day with this one. "The Country of the Kind" Damon Knight: Another one of my favorites, but it didn't live up to my recollections. Still a pleasure to read about this likable(?!) outcast in a wacked out society of unlikable(?!) nice people. "Flowers for Algernon" Daniel Keyes: Expanded into a novel years later; both won awards! A good story. Keyes consistently represents the narrator's voice as it changes from "dumb" to "smart." At the least, i recommend reading the short story. "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" Roger Zelazny: I shied away from this one for a long time because childhood friends loved it so much. It's a bit pompous and windbaggy (as oo-la-la Professeure Zelazny can be), but that's what this narrator should sound like. It almost makes poetry writing and the study of language seem universally exciting and sexy, but i've always liked both, so who'm i to say? Interspecies love story between Martian and Earthling? Religious and social tension? Good stuff. Bottom line: the title promises the Best Science Fiction and i expect that to be on par with the best writing. Most stories fail to deliver.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    I didn't think I was that interested in sci-fi, but Holy Shit, this was an eye opener to the vast amount of creativity and freedom sci-fi as a genre allows. Some of my favourites include "Arena", "First Contact", "The Weapon Shop", "Cold Equations" and many more. There's a total of 26 different short stories ranging from horror to comedy, there's something in this book for everyone. Even if sci-fi isn't something that interest you, it might surprise you.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    I've been reading quite a few science fiction books lately, particularly anthologies, and this one stands out as special. It's comprised of the 26 stories voted into the "Science Fiction Hall of Fame" as the best in the genre under 15,000 words by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Spanning from 1934 to 1963, these are all stories from before the group established their yearly Nebula Awards and are from the "Golden Age of Science Fiction." I think that gave the voters some perspective, a li I've been reading quite a few science fiction books lately, particularly anthologies, and this one stands out as special. It's comprised of the 26 stories voted into the "Science Fiction Hall of Fame" as the best in the genre under 15,000 words by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Spanning from 1934 to 1963, these are all stories from before the group established their yearly Nebula Awards and are from the "Golden Age of Science Fiction." I think that gave the voters some perspective, a little distance from politics and personalities, because this is about as strong a group of science fiction stories as you can get in one volume. Nine of the twenty-six were also nominated for or won Hugo Awards, the other major award in the field. One sci-fi anthology I read recently I found disappointing was Dangerous Visions, a 1967 anthology of what were supposed to be innovative, daring stories by the "New Wave" writers in contrast to the staid old timers. But I found more stories truly innovative here in style (Matheson's "Born of Man and Woman," Smith's "Scanners Live in Vain," Bester's "Fondly Fahrenheit") and daring and iconoclastic (Boucher's "Quest for Saint Aquin," Clarke's "Nine Billion Names of God," even in its way Vogt's "The Weapon Shop" and Knight's "Country of the Kind") without ever being...well crude. There was only one story I considered rather weak, and that was Judith Merril's "That Only a Mother." Along with C.L. Moore who co-wrote one story, Merril was the only female writer represented--and I had to wonder if that was part of why Silverberg chose the story, especially since it didn't come in on the "mandatory" first fifteen in the balloting listed in the introduction. (Female science fiction writers were thin on the ground then. Anne McCaffrey was the first to win a Nebula or Hugo in 1968.) On the other hand, that story by Merril--and others given the chronological order--did give an interesting picture of the fears of the post-nuclear age. If I counted stories I loved--truly loved, that would be 21 out of the 26. If I was forced to name a top five... 1) "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov - One of those stories that made me fall in love with science fiction--this story I had read long before--and absolutely deserves listing as among the best. It came in first in the vote tally. You'll never look at the night sky in the same way again. Trust me. 2) "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes - This isn't simply one of the best science fiction stories I've read, but one of the best short stories period. Later expanded into a novel and made into the film Charly, I love how this tells its story through diary entries--showing the changes in its protagonist directly in the way he writes. A heart-breaking story. 3) "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" by Roger Zelazny - Written in a pitch perfect first person, this is the most lyrical story in the book--fitting given the poet protagonist. And yes, as the title promises, the story is poignant and haunting. (Campbell's time-travel story "Twilight" had a similar quality.) 4) "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett - Padgett is the pseudonym of the husband and wife writing team of C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner. Moore is a favorite author of mine--I own a collection of her short stories. This one wasn't in there, and I began it skeptical it could possibly top "Vintage Season" in quality. Well, it didn't top it--but it did match it. And that's quite a feat. One of the rare stories with convincing child characters, it would have made a great Twilight Zone episode--which could be said of quite a few stories in this book. (See, for instance "Mars is Heaven!," "The Little Black Bag" or "It's a Good Life.") 5) "Surface Tension" by James Blish - I just loved the way this created a completely unique world--one where humanity spans a world the size of a puddle with protozoa allies and rotifer enemies and the challenge of...surface tension. "Microcosmic Gods" was another standout in that regard. That's not even to mention the pleasures of reading Brown's "Arena," which was a basis for an episode of Classic Trek. Or of Leinster's "First Contact" the most light-hearted of the stories. Or the phantasmagorical "A Martian Odyssey" by Weinbaum. Or Godwin's "The Cold Equations," a favorite of Robert Heinlein--or an early story by Heinlein himself, "The Roads Must Roll" I had never read. Or... Truly, if you like or are curious about science fiction at all, I'd call this one not just a must-read but a must-buy. In hardcover no less. Which is what I have, and will remain on my bookshelves forever more, amen. I only wish I had volumes that would cover as well the years since 1965 in the genre.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Yngvild

    The Science Fiction Hall of Fame – Volume One is a collection of mainstream American science fiction short stories, chosen because they might have won a Nebula Award if there had been one when they were first published. It is easy to spot prizewinners in retrospect; these are simply the most popular pieces from the mid-third of the twentieth century. All the old favourites are here: Daniel Keyes’ 1959 Flowers for Algernon, Arthur C Clarke’s 1953 The Nine Billion Names of God, Isaac Asimov’s 1941 The Science Fiction Hall of Fame – Volume One is a collection of mainstream American science fiction short stories, chosen because they might have won a Nebula Award if there had been one when they were first published. It is easy to spot prizewinners in retrospect; these are simply the most popular pieces from the mid-third of the twentieth century. All the old favourites are here: Daniel Keyes’ 1959 Flowers for Algernon, Arthur C Clarke’s 1953 The Nine Billion Names of God, Isaac Asimov’s 1941 Nightfall. In general, it is a safely conservative selection, what one would expect from mid-20th century America. There is an emphasis on space travel, space wars and robots. As short stories, the collection is superb, but the fiction is more impressive than the science. Science fiction takes more than putting characters on Mars rather than Montana, or blaming mutations on a nuclear war rather than nature. According to this collection, wherever and whenever you go, the social mores and societal limitations are those of 1950’s mid-America. “Why, they’re just like us, sir!” said Tommy. “Of course they breathe through gills and they see by heat waves, and their blood has a copper base instead of iron and a few little details like that. But otherwise we’re just alike! We got along very well. You see, sir, we spent those two hours telling dirty jokes.” --First Contact, Murray Leinster (1945) The subtitle of the book is The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time Chosen by the Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America. I doubt that these are really the “greatest” examples of science fiction; good science fiction questions our basic assumptions; but I agree with the jacket blurb that it is a good introduction to “young readers to the wonders of science fiction”. Only one story was wrongly labelled as example of science fiction. The last piece, Roger Zelazny’s 1964 A Rose for Ecclesiastes, was some kind of evangelical fantasy. That bodes ill for the future of science fiction as a genre. I picked the book out of the Science Fiction section of my local bookshop after suffering a nostalgic craving for what had once been my favourite type of fiction. What I found was rows of books with dragons, elves and improbably gorgeous semi-clad teenagers on the covers. The lower shelves had the Science Fiction label replaced by Science Fiction/Fantasy. Confusing science fiction with fantasy makes as much sense to me as a round square. If it is fantasy, it is by definition not science. But then, this same bookshop shelves fiction older than Shakespeare in the History section, has replaced the Language section with Romance, and is replacing the Arts section with Religion. No wonder people confuse fiction with fact if even the bookshop owners are semi-literate. * The Nebula Award only insists that the work be first published in the United States. A E van Vogt’s 1942 “The Weapon Shop” was written while he still lived in Canada, but was published south of the border.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dominick

    This is a good but dated anthology. Heck, even when it was first published, it was out of date; it came out in 1970 and the most recent story in it is from 1964. Admittedly, given its conceit of being an anthology of the greatest SF stories of all time, some lag time between when it came out and how far it goes up to is perhaps inevitable, as one of the tests of all-time greatness is presumably longevity. This claim is vitiated somewhat, though, by the fact that it limits itself to within-genre This is a good but dated anthology. Heck, even when it was first published, it was out of date; it came out in 1970 and the most recent story in it is from 1964. Admittedly, given its conceit of being an anthology of the greatest SF stories of all time, some lag time between when it came out and how far it goes up to is perhaps inevitable, as one of the tests of all-time greatness is presumably longevity. This claim is vitiated somewhat, though, by the fact that it limits itself to within-genre SF from the American market, so there's nothing pre-1930s and nothing by non-Americans unless it was published in an American SF mag. So, no Wells, Poe, or Verne, for instance. However, even laying that aside, this is something of a mixed bag. It does include many great stories, with most of the titans of relatively early SF represented, although never by more than one story. This in itself is something of a weakness, as arguably some of these writers wrote more than one story that is superior to at least some of the other selections in this book, so genuinely representing the greatest is sacrificed somewhat to breadth of representation. And some of the selections just strike me as perverse. For instance, not only is Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" NOT one of the greatest SF stories of all time (its central conceit is absurd and its psychology jejune--but then, it IS Heinlein, after all--dig, dig), it's not even anywhere near Heinlein's best short story. Taste can vary on such matters, admittedly, but I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that this story in particular can be regarded as worthy of inclusion. Godwin's "The Cold Equations" is, for me, another baffling one. I suppose I can understand how, forty or fifty years ago, its reliance on the hard facts of math having dire human consequences could give it some resonance, but even when I read this book the first time, probably thirty years ago now, that story reeked of sexism and illogic to me (really? ever heard of locks?). And the occasional work, however good, just does not seem to fit. Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life," for instance, is a dandy little piece, but I'd have to call it fantasy, not SF. I suppose you could call it an ESP story, which is accepted into SF, but there seems to be no real difference in this story between ESP and magic, as far as I can see. By now, this book is more of a historical artifact than a genuine collection of the greatest SF short stories of all time. That said, it does gather together a great many excellent stories by a great many writers (quibbles about some of the specific story selections aside--and there are other instances than those above where I'd have selected a different tale than the one included), so it still can serve as a very good introduction to classic SF, if not as what it claims itself to be.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Danielle N

    As always, you may also find this review on Books, Vertigo and Tea. Clocking in at over 28 hours, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame was an incredibly easy listen that seem to fly by over the course of a few days. Offering a wider range of stories accompanied by varying narrators, I quite enjoyed my time with this collection. While it is always difficult to review anthologies (particularly of this size) I did want to share a few thoughts on this one, as many have been such a miss for me lately. When As always, you may also find this review on Books, Vertigo and Tea. Clocking in at over 28 hours, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame was an incredibly easy listen that seem to fly by over the course of a few days. Offering a wider range of stories accompanied by varying narrators, I quite enjoyed my time with this collection. While it is always difficult to review anthologies (particularly of this size) I did want to share a few thoughts on this one, as many have been such a miss for me lately. When I discover a collection that feels well-balanced and overall rewarding, I want to hand it the spotlight for a few. With that stated, I do feel it is important to mention that Volume 1 is not without flaws. As to be expected, there are times the narration missed the mark or the true age of the material was inevitably felt. Also, I received an MP3 file from the publisher, so there was a lot of information that was not accessible in terms of biographies. Several stories that were multiple files in length, actually downloaded out of order. This was a frustration to work through and I fear I missed some titles. But none of this was enough to take away from the enjoyment of a fantastic collection of sci-fi classics. Supplied in easily digestible chunks, this anthology takes the reader on a journey that begins in 1929 and end in 1964. There are the notorious tales of androids and psychic abilities gone bad to space craft stowaways that challenge our moral obligations and stories where protagonists face situations with universal ramifications. Each story feels unique and challenges the reader (listener) on some varying emotional level. And as good science fiction does, there are many subtle and not so subtle messages contained throughout that explore humanity on a multifaceted spectrum. A few of my favorites included: A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum Helen O’Loy by Lester del Rey The Quest for Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke It’s a Good Life by Jerome Bixby The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester Even with the obstacles I encountered, I can easily say that this a collection of great value for all fans of science fiction! I will definitely be picking up a physical copy of this anthology for my shelves at first opportunity and look forward to exploring later volumes. *I would like to thank audiojukebox and the publisher for my copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion. Enjoyed over several cups of chamomile tea with a hint of lavender.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bad-at-reading

    It's not hard to pick the best story in a collection that includes "Flowers for Algernon". Other highlights: Blish's "Surface Tension" with the ethereal, impressionistic quality of its setting has held up well; Heinlein pokes holes in a popular image of the future with "The Roads Must Roll"; two straight horror stories, Matheson's "Born of Man and Woman" and Jerome Bixby's "It's A Good Life" (though I prefer the Twilight Zone adaptation), and a melding of sci-fi and horror in Asimov's clever "Ni It's not hard to pick the best story in a collection that includes "Flowers for Algernon". Other highlights: Blish's "Surface Tension" with the ethereal, impressionistic quality of its setting has held up well; Heinlein pokes holes in a popular image of the future with "The Roads Must Roll"; two straight horror stories, Matheson's "Born of Man and Woman" and Jerome Bixby's "It's A Good Life" (though I prefer the Twilight Zone adaptation), and a melding of sci-fi and horror in Asimov's clever "Nightfall" and Bradbury's "Mars is Heaven"; Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God"; C.M. Kornbluth's "The Little Black Bag"; Lewis Padgett's "Mimsy Were the Borogoves", though it's a bit silly. Overall quality of the stories takes a big jump after the war. Stories attempting emotionality, like Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" and Zelazny's "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" often come off schmaltzy or contrived. There's no New Wave stuff here but Cordwainer Smith's "Scanners Live in Vain" and Fritz Leiber's "Coming Attraction" have a dark, intense style that prefigures the likes of Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison.

  27. 5 out of 5

    TrumanCoyote

    Oh sure, you can always quibble about the choices. I would certainly have picked "Far Centaurus" for Van Vogt's contribution (one of my alltime favorites), and would rather have seen "They" for Heinlein's. And of course I had to wonder where the heck "What's It Like Out There?" by Edmond Hamilton had disappeared off to (another one of my alltime faves). But such carpings are only germane if you examine it based upon its original intent. Taken as a great big scifi anthology though--filled with a Oh sure, you can always quibble about the choices. I would certainly have picked "Far Centaurus" for Van Vogt's contribution (one of my alltime favorites), and would rather have seen "They" for Heinlein's. And of course I had to wonder where the heck "What's It Like Out There?" by Edmond Hamilton had disappeared off to (another one of my alltime faves). But such carpings are only germane if you examine it based upon its original intent. Taken as a great big scifi anthology though--filled with a bunch of great stories--you're hardly ever likely to improve on this one. This was one of the first SF books I ever got--all part of the 3-for-a-dime introductory offer from the SF Book Club way back when (and I remember you actually had to tuck a dime into this little flap thingie on the return postcard). My dad--hardly a scifi fan--even read the whole thing cover to cover himself. I lost my original copy, but then--fortunately enough--I came across another at a library book sale, with that same memorably cheesy dust jacket and all! lol So of course I had to snap it up. :)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    Starting in 1966, the Science Fiction Writers of America began presenting annual Nebula Awards for the best novels and short stories. A few years later, they decided to go back and do a retrospective on the best stories published before '66. This is that collection, and it is damn good. All the greats are represented (Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke... Zelazny), along with stories and authors that have been mostly forgotten. The quality is universally high, and while some of the stories are dated--part Starting in 1966, the Science Fiction Writers of America began presenting annual Nebula Awards for the best novels and short stories. A few years later, they decided to go back and do a retrospective on the best stories published before '66. This is that collection, and it is damn good. All the greats are represented (Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke... Zelazny), along with stories and authors that have been mostly forgotten. The quality is universally high, and while some of the stories are dated--particularly the gender politics--you can watch the evolution of the genre in terms of theme, literary merit, and intellectual complexity from year to year. This is one of my new favorite anthologies, and I've read a lot of Golden Age scifi.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    This is arguably the best anthology of early science fiction short fiction ever published. In the early years short fiction dominated the field rather than novels. Every story here is a classic, and I've read most of them many times. Some, like Asimov's "Nightfall," Brown's "Arena," and "Flowers For Algernon" by Keyes, are still well-known and easily available, but there are many other stories and authors here that should be remembered, too. My personal favorites are the Zelazny, Leinster, and v This is arguably the best anthology of early science fiction short fiction ever published. In the early years short fiction dominated the field rather than novels. Every story here is a classic, and I've read most of them many times. Some, like Asimov's "Nightfall," Brown's "Arena," and "Flowers For Algernon" by Keyes, are still well-known and easily available, but there are many other stories and authors here that should be remembered, too. My personal favorites are the Zelazny, Leinster, and van Vogt.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    Not as good as I'd anticipated. It contains some real clunkers from my perspective. Amongst the stories new to me, my favorite is "The Weapons Shop" by A.E. van Vogt. I had already read Fredric Brown's "Arena" and Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" -- both wonderful classics. Asimov's "Nightfall" is maybe just a notch below these two.

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