Universal acclaim greeted the initial volume of this remarkable project. With this new volume, Isaac Asimov continues his presentation of the memorable foundation-stone storeis that make science fiction the accepted literature it is today.
In this anthology, covering he very important year of 1940, will be found brilliant and memorable novelettes and short stories by writers still recognized as the “greats” of today:
THE GREAT SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, VOLUME TWO presents Isaac Asimov in his role as regular editor of this unique DAW series.
The general comments regarding this book are virtually the same as they were for its predecessor, Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 1, 1939. Here again we have a number of the great classics of “golden age” sf, including Asimov’s own “Robbie” (in its original form, too boot, not the revised version that appeared in I, Robot and elsewhere), Harry Bates’ “Farewell to the Master,” Theodore Sturgeon’s “Butyl and the Breather,” and lots and lots of others. Definitely an excellent anthology, definitely worth getting for the Asimov fan particularly because of the pre-Susan Calvin version of “Robbie.”
One note, however. Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 1, 1939 included two stories by Robert A. Heinlein, including “Lifeline,” Heinlein’s first publication and one of the stories that inaugurated the Golden Age. For some reason, however, there were to be no more stories by Heinlein in the entire “Great SF Stories” series. This particular volume and volume three have places where stories by Heinlein would have gone had he given permission for their inclusion, but he didn’t and they aren’t there. (One assumes that permission was denied at the last minute, perhaps while the book was being set.) Later volumes don’t even attempt to allocate room.
This is rather unfortunate, because Heinlein was one of the “Big Three” sf authors through to his death, and so the picture one gets of the Golden Age sans Heinlein is a rather distorted one and an unfortunate if unavoidable flaw in the series.
|“Robbie” aka “Strange Playfellow”|