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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Most of the stories had interesting elements. My favorites were A Boy and His Dog (twisted love story, er, not bestiality) and The Big Flash (large-scale brainwashing). I also enjoyed After the Myths Went Home, Death by Ecstasy, For the Sake of Grace, and Sixth Sense. A quote from the last story (The Big Flash) sums up the series, and kind of the whole SciFi genre, well: Oh yes, I'm a monster mother... just call me mankind.
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This book has had the good fortune to have several lives under different names, some of which were the same as other books' names, leading to much bibliographic confusion. Hence I'll specify that this review is of the World's Best SF 1 edited by Donald Wollheim and Terry Carr, containing stories first published in 1967. It begins with 'See Me Not' by Richard Wilson, and ends with 'It's Smart to Have an English Address' by D.G. Compton. It's a disappointing collection of science fiction short stories, all of them published in genre magazines in 1967. Co-editor Donald Wollheim was among the earliest fans of the science fiction magazines in the 1920s and '30s, and one of the original fans-turned-pro, largely as an editor. This selection seems largely to reflect the old-fashioned tastes of an old-fashioned fan, and seems like poor fare to a 21st century reader. It is tempting to imagine that the handful of not-dull stories were chosen by the younger editor, Terry Carr. The editors' introduction invokes the Old Wave vs New Wave controversy that troubled much of the science fiction world at the time. To this reader it seems strange to regard anything in the collection as 'new wave', unless 'new wave' is code for 'competently written'. This collection contains the great 'I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream' by Harlan Ellison and 'The Man Who Loved the Fiaoli' by Roger Zelazny; and 'Hawksbill Station' by Robert Silverberg, later expanded to novel length, though the original is good enough that it's hard to see how more could be better. There's the pretty good 'Coranda' by Keith Roberts, and 'Driftglass' by Samuel Delany. Lafferty's 'Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne' has an oddball charm, and may even make sense. Well, maybe not. Aldiss's 'Full Sun' is so-so, but at least has the distinction of being one of the few really weird stories in the volume. There are a lot of what I think of as 'Analog stories'. Analog is a science fiction magazine which is very much based in the notion that the term 'science fiction' means something, and that science fiction should have something to do with science. This seems as absurd to me as that romance novels should have romans in them. What is 'science' anyway? Surely everything is in its domain -- but those who want science fiction to have something to do with 'science' invariably have some very narrow sense of science as an academic discipline. What is the sense of wanting a genre of fiction that concerns in some way a narrow range of topics discussed in a particular department of the university? That would lead to stories like Asimov's 'Billiard Ball', perversely regarded by at least one of the editors as one of the best sf stories published in 1967: surely one of his dullest works, but it's about science so in it goes. The other aspect of this narrow view of 'science fiction' is of course the 'social effects of advances in technology' story, because technology sort of has something to do with science. Compton's 'It's Smart to Have an English Address' is one of these. The main driver of the story is the suspense generated by the question 'What is the sf premise of this seemingly mundane story supposed to be and oh god when will it finally be revealed?', and the revelation late in the story does not justify anything the reader has endured till then. The story, and I suppose many others in this sf subgenre, can be summarised thus: protagonist mopes around for quite a lot of pages, like someone in a mundane story that even mundane readers wouldn't be interested in; finally the sf premise of the story is revealed: a technological innovation!; the protagonist dislikes this innovation a lot. I haven't read anything else by Compton, but his novel 'The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe' sounds like something I'd like to read. (It's yet another reality-TV-story-published-before-reality-TV). I'm hoping this story was unrepresentative. 'The Sword Swallower' by Ron Goulart, another writer I haven't read before but who seemed interesting, is a barely-publishable superhero comic of a story, in which a super-pow...
GOAT SONG Poul Anderson
THE MAN WHO WALKED HOME James Tiptree Jr
OH VALINDA Michael G Coney
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