FREDERIK POHL • HARRY SLEASER • ROBERT SHECKLEY • DAVID BRIN • CLIFFORD D. SIMAK • GEORGE H. SMITH • C.M. KORNBLUTH • ISAAC ASIMOV • THOMAS EASTON • A.A. JACKSON • HOWARD WALDROP • PHILIP K. DICK • DAVID R. BUNCH • ALGIS BUDRYS • HENRY KUTTNER • C.L. MOORE • LESTER DEL REY • MICHAEL SHAARA • HARRY BATES
Meet mankind’s ally, heir, and, perhaps, his enemy in these future robotic visions of: a town where tomorrow would never come…two men doomed to be saved by a sentient lifeboat built for aliens…a space probe with a mind of its own with a rendezvous with a supernova…a man who raised a robot but forgot the most basic ingredient of all. These and thirteen other brilliant tales of tomororw’s “living” technology can be found in this fascinating collection assembled by the master creator of robot fiction.
Well, all I can say is that if I were to edit an anthology about robots—it wouldn’t be this one.
To be sure, there are some good stories here. It contains “Sally,” for example, which is a good story, but hardly the one single robot story of Asimov’s entire corpus I’d pick as the best or most representative. (“Evidence,” maybe, or “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” Not “Sally.”) And we’ve got Clifford D. Simak’s “How-2” and Harry Bates’ “Farewell to the Master,” which is a fitting climax to the book.
But where is Jack Williamson’s “With Folded Hands”? Hm? The best robot story, perhaps, ever written. Where is it? “I, Robot” by Eando Binder? Lester del Rey’s “Helen O’Loy”? And while most of the hitherto unmentioned stories are good enough— a lot of them aren’t, such as Philip K. Dick’s unfortunate “Second Variety,” which was sufficiently obvious that even I got the ending halfway through.
No, one could have done so much better with this theme. This book is really a major disappointment.