I was gently reminded last week that my book reviews and related posts are, as relevant as I might think them, changing the focus of this blog, so I aim to stop after this post. Having recommended some new things last week, I felt it would be leaving this subject incomplete if I didn’t mention some old things, newly compiled, republished or otherwise presented for your review.
Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century is an anthology from 2001, edited by Orson Scott Card. I admit, this fact alone was enough for me to pick it up! There’s some terrific classics in here — Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed by Ray Bradbury is one of my favorites. “All You Zombies—” by Robert Heinlein is a mind-twisting time-travel tale that makes what Douglas Adams did to Zaphod Beeblebrox’s family tree look positively amateur.
Another great set of compilations is The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, sharing stories from 1929-1964. Volume One (which I own and love) is pictured here. Volumes Two A and Two B are available in hardback, and were originally published in 1973 “to honor novellas that had come before the institution of the Nebula Awards.”
Volume One’s short stories hail from the same span of years (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.” Indeed, this volume is full of great stuff — Scanners Live in Vain! by Cordwainer Smith and The Weapon Shop by A. E. van Vogt are fantastic, and Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester will tie your grey matter into several complex knots. In a good way, I mean.
Classic science fiction is just as enjoyable today as it was when first published, especially the stuff presented in the above anthologies. Do yourself a favor and check them out!