Join in the world’s most exciting pastime with SF’s most provocative authors. In this collection of nine superbly crafted short stories, you’ll find unforgettable variations on humanity’s most notorious theme. For example:
SAIL 25 by Jack Vance. Henry Belt, drunken, megalomaniacal commander of training ship No. 25, is reputed to be the Captain Bligh of the skies. But when the ship’s computerized navigational system beaks down, his six cadets learn the horrors of Sloth—in mind-chilling ways…
Topflight SF writer Frederick Pohl in THE MAN WHO ATE THE WORLD, astutely illustrates the sin of Gluttony. In the Era of Plenty, humanity’s needs could not keep pace with technology-increased production. So the poor were forced to consume endlessly, while only the privileged rich were permitted temperance. Then the Era of Plenty ended, and normal consumption resumed. Except for one man, Anderson Trumie, who, from his remote island, was driven by dark forces to devour everything—land, food, weapons—threatening civilization with destruction.
PEEPING TOM by Judith Merrill shows the strength of Lust, as Tommy, a clean-cut young man, learns to read minds and later finds success in all things. Except in his search for a virtuous woman…
Covetousness is the target in THE HOOK, THE EYE, AND THE WHIP by Michael G. Coney. Charles is allowed to commute his prison sentence by a term of indentured servitude to Doug Marshall, who participates in the dangerous sport of sling-gliding. During his bondage, Charles is obliged to serve Doug faithfully…if Doug is injured, Charles must donate any necessary organs to him. But Charles’ obligations will end if Doug dies instantly—perhaps in a well-planned sling-gliding accident…
Also included in this far-reaching and absorbing colleciton are stories by Roger Zelazny, Poul Anderson, Henry Slesar, and Isaac Asimov.
This is quite an anthology. It’s got “Galley Slave” in it—one of my very favorite Susan Calvin stories. It’s got “Sail 25” by Jack Vance, Judith Merril’s “Peeping Tom,” Roger Zelazny’s “Divine Madness,” Poul Anderson’s “Margin of Profit,” and “The Midas Plague” by Frederik Pohl together with its (rather weaker) companion story, “The Man Who At the World.”
And then—inexplicably—we’ve got “The Hook, the Eye, and the Whip” by one Michael G. Coney and the whole thing falls apart. I’m not saying that this is a bad story—but I don’t like it at all, and as it’s the last story in the volume, it provides a distinct and unwelcome anticlimax without which one would be much, much happier. It’s the only flaw in the book—but it is a big one, and mars the book badly by its presence.