“Anyone interested in reading the best of early sf should acquire this series. With biographical and anecdotal material about the various authors, each volume provides a handsome, inexpensive way to gain a feel for science fiction’s roots and an appreciation of its early successes.”—The Washington Post
Through the battle-scared [sic], post war year of 1946, the bright light of the Golden Age of Science Fiction still shone brightly. With many young writers returning home from the front to pick up the pen, the world of science fiction gained the momentum which makes the table of contents of this eighth volume of Asimov selections read like the Science Fiction Hall of Fame:
Arthur C. Clarke
and many more.
What can you say about an anthology with names like these? We say, ‘Read on!’
For general comments on this series, see Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 1, 1939.
Asimov is present in this series with “Evidence,” his first robot story to be included since “Liar!” was in Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 3, 1941. It’s an excellent choice, among the best of the robot stories. (One is rather annoyed, however, that Asimov and Greenberg never saw fit to include any Foundation stories after the original “The Encyclopedists” itself in Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 4, 1942. It would have been nice for “The Mule” or “The Search by the Foundation” to be included at some point, although to be fair, they are a tad long for this series.)
Even if “Evidence” weren’t in, er, evidence, this is still an excellent anthology because of the presence for the first time of Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke (whoever he is). Bradbury, in particular, has his “Million Year Picnic” which is one of the very most wonderful and unforgettable sf stories ever written. Clarke’s three stories (“Loophole,” “Rescue Party,” and “Technical Error”) are not perhaps among his best, but it’s nice to finally see him appear.
Meanwhile, this would be a more than worthwhile anthology by any account. Will F. Jenkins has his “Logic Named Joe,” Dolton Edwards his rather notorious “Meihem in Ce Klasrum,” and Fredric Brown his “Placet is a Crazy Place.”
All of these are small potatoes. What truly immortalizes this collection, outside of “The Million Year Picnic,” is Lawrence O’Donnell’s incredible “Vintage Season.” Any book including that is more than worthwhile.
To be frank, I wish I could give this book a rating higher than “3.” It really deserves one.