The Science Fiction of Mark Clifton
Southern Illinois University Press, 1980 - Fiction - 296 pages
This collection of the best short stories of Mark Clifton makes these fine tales readily available for the first time in two decades.
Winner with Frank Riley of the 1955 Hugo Award for They’d Rather Be Right, Clifton has for a variety of reasons unrelated to the quality of his writing all but disappeared from the awareness of today’s science fiction audience. Never a prolific writer he had published only about twenty-five short stories before his death in 1963. But with those stories and his three novels he irrevocably altered the course of contemporary science fiction.
Almost single-handedly he introduced the full range of psychological insights to the commonly occurring themes of the genre—alien invasion, expanding technology, revolution against political theocracy, and space exploration and colonization—to ever more truthfully portray how humanity would react to a future that could be either mindless or intellectually stunning.
With his first published story, “What Have I Done?” Clifton initiated the theme of a starkly realistic world in which, at its best, humanity is inalterably vile—a theme that became an inextricable part of all his subsequent works. In his later works Clifton occasionally clothed his bitter indictment in the garb of comedy.
The stories collected here include “What Have I Done?” “Star, Bright,” “Crazy Joey,” “What Thin Partitions,” “Sense from Thought Divide,” “How Allied,” “Remembrance and Reflection,” “Hide! Hide! Witch!” “Clerical Error,” “What Now, Little Man?” and “Hang Head, Vandal!”