FRED SABERHAGEN • CHRISTOPHER ANVIL • JOHN BRUNNER • POUL ANDERSON • CLIFFORD D. SIMAK • BRUCE McALLISTER • HAL CLEMENT • ROBERT SILVERBERG • RAY NELSON • ALFRED BESTER • WILLIAM TENN • ROGER ZELAZNY • PHILIP K. DICK
In 1963, the world was in a state of turmoil and change. Racial unrest and civil rights marches, President Kennedy’s assassination, the establishment of the “hot line” between Washington and Moscoe, the discovery of the quasar, and the first human organ transplants, all were seminal events. And the concerns of the time, the fears aobut where humankind might be heading, and the hopes for a better future are reflected in masterful stories by some of science fiction’s all-time great.
From the work which marked the beginning of Fred Saberhagen’s best-selling “Berserker” series about alien-created killer machines programmed to destroy all organic life, to the incredibly powerful and poignant “A Rose for Ecclesiastes,” in which a poet from Earth must confront both his own humanity and the last remnants of a dying race, to John Brunner’s “The Totally Rich,” an eye-opening look at what money can really buy—here are true classics from one of the most memorable eras in the history of science fiction.
For general comments on this series, see Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 1, 1939.
This is the last volume in this series. As with Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 24, 1962, there are no headnotes by Asimov, as he died before he could write them, and there are no stories by Asimov because he published no short fiction at all in 1963. And once more there are no stories for which I particularly care, although there are some very famous and well-crafted ones: Pohl Anderson’s “No Truce with Kings,” Philip K. Dick’s “If There Were No Benny Cemoli,” Roger Zelazny’s “Rose for Ecclesiastes.”
At the end of the book is a note by Greenberg, explaining that even though Asimov’s death would prevent any further volumes ever being published in the series, they had planned to end it at this point, anyway.
Although this is not nearly the worst volume in the series by any means, it is still something of a whimper for a series that started out with such a bang 24 volumes ago.