The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories

Front Cover
T. A. Shippey
Oxford University Press, 1992 - Fiction - 587 pages
2 Reviews
In "Swarm," Bruce Stirling takes the reader inside the Nest, a vast honeycomb of caverns within an asteroid orbiting Betelgeuse, peopled by hundreds of thousands of large, insectlike aliens, including eight-legged, furred workers the size of Great Danes, and horse-sized warriors with heavy, fanged heads. In "The Screwfly Solution," Raccoona Sheldon creates a world much like modern America, except that something--an insect virus, a mass religious delusion, or an alien--is infecting men worldwide, converting their sexual drive into homicidal rage against women. And J.G. Ballard in "Billennium" portrays the end result of unchecked population growth, a claustrophobic city of 30 million people, where by law the unmarried must live in cubicles four meters square. These three tales, though strikingly different, have one thing in common--each evokes a world that is uniquely the author's own. Indeed, to read any science fiction writer is to enter into another world. It may be a world far off in space or time, or it may be right here, right now, but with a twist--an invention, or event, or visitor--that suddenly changes everything.
In The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories, Tom Shippey has brought together thirty classic science fiction tales, each of which offers a unique vision, an altered reality, a universe all its own. Here are some of the great names in science fiction--H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Frederik Pohl, Brian Aldiss, Ursula K. Le Guin, Thomas Disch, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, and David Brin. To give readers a sense of how the genre's range, vitality, and literary quality evolved over time, Shippey has organized these stories chronologically. Readers can sample H.G. Well's 1903 story "The Land Ironclads" (which predicted the stalemate of trench warfare and the invention of the tank), Jack Williamson's "The Metal Man," a rarely anthologized gem written in 1928, Clifford D. Simak's 1940s classic, "Desertion," set on "the howling maelstrom that was Jupiter," Frederik Pohl's 1955 "The Tunnel Under the World" (with its gripping first line, "On the morning of June 15th, Guy Burckhardt woke up screaming out of a dream"), right up to the current crop of writers, such as cyberpunks Bruce Sterling and William Gibson, whose 1982 story "Burning Chrome" foreshadows the idea of virtual reality, and David Brin's "Piecework," written in 1990. In addition, Shippey provides an informative introduction, examining the history of the genre, it major themes, and its literary techniques.
Here then is a galaxy of classic science fiction tales, written by the stars of the genre. Anyone with a serious interest in science fiction--and everyone who has entertained a curiosity about the genre--will find this volume enthralling.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librisissimo - LibraryThing

Not the best collection of stories per se, but a fair representation over time from 1903 to 1990. Most of the major authors are represented (although some of the highly-anthologized writers and works ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Frenzie - LibraryThing

A nice collection of sci-fi short stories, albeit due to the nature of short stories it's more pleasant to read two or three in between bigger books than to read the book as a whole. Read full review


The Land Ironclads 1903 H G Wells
Finis 1906 Frank L Pollack
As Easy as ABC 1912 Rudyard Kipling 3 3

23 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Writing Short Stories
Ailsa Cox
No preview available - 2005

About the author (1992)

About the Editor:
Tom Shippey is Professor of English Language and Medieval English Literature at the University of Leeds. He is the author of The Road to Middle-Earth and editor of Fictional Space: Essays on Contemporary Science Fiction.

Bibliographic information