“When complete, this multi-volume anthology of science fiction will be incomparable…this one contains nothing but masterpieces.”—Washington Post
Written about the previous book in this series, the term masterpieces surely must apply to all the stories in all the volumes and certainly to those in this 1951 selection. The great SF writers of today had their roots back then. Here, for instance, is Julian May. Here is Arthur C. Clarke, with the story that inspired 2001. Here’s Asimov himself. And Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, Jack Finney, Anthony Boucher…Read the Table of Contents for more greats! And then the stories for the brest anthology reading on the book stands today!
For general comments on this series, see Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 1, 1939.
This volume represents the middle point of the "great sf stories" series as originally planned and finally executed. Asimov is here himself with his story “Breeds There a Man…?,” which I personally don’t really get all that excited about, particularly in a year when he also published “Hostess,” “C-Chute,” and above all “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” Oh, well.
Meanwhile, we’ve also got a few other really terrific or important stories, but not as many as in previous volumes. For example, the most historically important story here is Arthur C. Clarke’s “Sentinel,” which eventually led to 2001: A Space Odyssey. C.M. Kornbluth has his bitter “Marching Morons” in the book, Alan E. Nourse his “Tiger by the Tail,” Anthony Boucher his “Quest for Saint Aquin,” and Fritz Leiber his “Pail of Air”—but none of the other stories are in my opinion all that memorable. Still, it’s overall good enough to give it three spaceships-and-suns, but just barely so.
|“Breeds There a Man…?”|