POUL ANDERSON • ANNE McCAFFREY • JACK VANCE • ARTHUR C. CLARKE • ALGIS BUDRYS • ISAAC ASIMOV • FREDERIK POHL & C.M. KORNBLUTH • AND MORE OF SCIENCE FICTION’S FINEST
The decade of the 1960s was an era of great social and technological upheaval, and with each passing year, and every new challenge, discovery, or seeming disaster, the science fiction community responded with a fascinating assortment of unforgettable, visionary tales which reflected not only what was then happening in the world but which also looked forward to the many possible futures which were being opened up by important events and exciting advances.
And in 1961, the stories spun by science fiction’s finest talents naturally echoed the concerns of many people over the increasing mechanization of society and the fear of never-ending warfare, as well as the hope and belief that no matter what changes technology might bring, we would always manage to retain our humanity. So step back to yesterday and look forward to the day after tomorrow in tales which will take you from a starship with a human brain and soul…to a man who has found a way to reinvent his own life for the good of mankind—if he doesn’t take his experiment a cycle too far…to a man who, having betrayed his country to the enemy once is about to be given a second chance—or is he?
For general comments on this series, see Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 1, 1939.
Asimov’s fun “What Is This Thing Called Love?” is included in this anthology, which is a good sign (although it is Asimov’s last appearance in the series). It also has R.A. Lafferty’s equally fun “Rainbird,” which is another.
In addition, there are stories like Randall Garrett’s “Highest Treason,” Brian W. Aldiss’ “Hothouse” (which I’ve never particularly cared for, but which is very famous and won a part of a Hugo in 1962), Arthur C. Clarke’s “Death and the Senator” and “The Quaker Cannon” by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth.
The two crowning pieces in this anthology, however, are without a doubt Anne McCaffrey’s “Ship Who Sang,” and the even better and utterly unforgettable “Planet Called Shayol” by Cordwainer Smith.
And by the way of housekeeping: This is the last book which we can reasonably believe was assigned a book number by Asimov himself. From here on, the numbers are extrapolations.
|“What Is This Thing Called Love?”|