ARTHUR C. CLARKE • BRIAN CLEEVE • RAY RUSSELL • LEO TOLSTOY • WINSTON K. MARKS • CORNELL WOOLRICH • FREDERIC BROWN • ROBERT BLOCH • ROBERT F. YOUNG • STEPHEN VINCENT BENET • RICK HAUTALA • PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER • CHARLES BEAUMONT • JEROME BIXBY • BRUCE ELLIOTT • THEODORE R. COGSWELL • THEODORE STURGEON
From a man too simple for the devil to fool, to a college student taking an honors class in temptation, here are tales of black magic and demonic enchantment—stories of those who heed Satan’s siren song and those ready to match wits with this most cunning of opponents. So get ready for some red-hot reading about the age-old battle between humans and their ever-present foe as you settle in for a devilish good time in—
MAGICAL WORLDS OF FANTASY
I actually enjoyed this collection of stories about the Horned One rather more than I’d expected, particularly given the fact that Asimov himself isn’t featured in the book. (Only “Gimmicks Three” or ”The Last Trump would reasonably qualify, I suppose, but either would be a good addition.)
It doesn’t get off to an auspicious start, mind. The (very) long story at the beginning is Cornell Woolrich’s “I’m Dangerous Tonight,” whose age shows. (The idea here is that a dress made out of the devil’s cloak makes anyone who even touches it a murderous psychopath.) However, the volume climaxes with top-notch stories such as Tolstoy’s “Tale of Ivan the Fool,” Robert Bloch’s Hugo-winning “That Hell-Bound Train,” and Stephen Vincent Benet’s “Devil and Daniel Webster.”
Perhaps the biggest delight, however, for me was the presence of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Guardian Angel,” which I instantly recognized as the first portion of his marvelous novel which I haven’t read in far too long, Childhood’s End. Seeing that old friend here warmed my heart enormously. On the whole, I’d have to say this is a very good anthology indeed.