hits counter The Big Book of Science Fiction - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Big Book of Science Fiction

Availability: Ready to download

Quite possibly the greatest science fiction collection of all time - past, present and future. What if life was neverending? What if you could change your body to adapt to an alien ecology? What if the pope were a robot? Spanning galaxies and millennia, this must-have anthology showcases classic contributions from H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia E. Butler, and Kurt Quite possibly the greatest science fiction collection of all time - past, present and future. What if life was neverending? What if you could change your body to adapt to an alien ecology? What if the pope were a robot? Spanning galaxies and millennia, this must-have anthology showcases classic contributions from H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia E. Butler, and Kurt Vonnegut, alongside a century of the eccentrics, rebels, and visionaries who have inspired generations of readers. Within its pages, you'll find beloved worlds of space opera, hard SF, cyberpunk, the New Wave, and more. Learn about the secret history of science fiction, from titans of literature who also wrote SF to less well-known authors from more than twenty-five countries, some never before translated into English. In The Big Book of Science Fiction, literary power couple Ann and Jeff VanderMeer transport readers from Mars to Mechanopolis, planet Earth to parts unknown. Immerse yourself in the genre that predicted electric cars, space tourism, and smartphones. Sit back, buckle up, and dial in the coordinates, as this stellar anthology has got worlds within worlds. Including: . Legendary tales from Isaac Asimov and Ursula K. Le Guin . An unearthed sci-fi story from W. E. B. Du Bois . The first publication in twenty years of the work of cybernetic visionary David R. Bunch . A rare and brilliant novella by Chinese international sensation Cixin Liu Plus: . Aliens! . Space battles! . Robots! . Technology gone wrong! . Technology gone right!"


Compare

Quite possibly the greatest science fiction collection of all time - past, present and future. What if life was neverending? What if you could change your body to adapt to an alien ecology? What if the pope were a robot? Spanning galaxies and millennia, this must-have anthology showcases classic contributions from H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia E. Butler, and Kurt Quite possibly the greatest science fiction collection of all time - past, present and future. What if life was neverending? What if you could change your body to adapt to an alien ecology? What if the pope were a robot? Spanning galaxies and millennia, this must-have anthology showcases classic contributions from H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia E. Butler, and Kurt Vonnegut, alongside a century of the eccentrics, rebels, and visionaries who have inspired generations of readers. Within its pages, you'll find beloved worlds of space opera, hard SF, cyberpunk, the New Wave, and more. Learn about the secret history of science fiction, from titans of literature who also wrote SF to less well-known authors from more than twenty-five countries, some never before translated into English. In The Big Book of Science Fiction, literary power couple Ann and Jeff VanderMeer transport readers from Mars to Mechanopolis, planet Earth to parts unknown. Immerse yourself in the genre that predicted electric cars, space tourism, and smartphones. Sit back, buckle up, and dial in the coordinates, as this stellar anthology has got worlds within worlds. Including: . Legendary tales from Isaac Asimov and Ursula K. Le Guin . An unearthed sci-fi story from W. E. B. Du Bois . The first publication in twenty years of the work of cybernetic visionary David R. Bunch . A rare and brilliant novella by Chinese international sensation Cixin Liu Plus: . Aliens! . Space battles! . Robots! . Technology gone wrong! . Technology gone right!"

30 review for The Big Book of Science Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Finished! Overall this was really more educational than enjoyable, but I'm glad I read it. The Star by H.G. Wells -"...how small the vastest of human catastrophes may seem, at a distance of a few million miles." Sultana's Dream by Rokheya Shekhawat Hossain -"You have neglected the duty you owe to yourselves and you have lost your natural rights by shutting your eyes to your own interests." The Triumph of Mechanics by Karl Hans Strobl - apparently Strobl spent a good portion of his career producing Finished! Overall this was really more educational than enjoyable, but I'm glad I read it. The Star by H.G. Wells -"...how small the vastest of human catastrophes may seem, at a distance of a few million miles." Sultana's Dream by Rokheya Shekhawat Hossain -"You have neglected the duty you owe to yourselves and you have lost your natural rights by shutting your eyes to your own interests." The Triumph of Mechanics by Karl Hans Strobl - apparently Strobl spent a good portion of his career producing pro-Nazi propaganda. The New Overworld by Paul Scheerbart - fur covered turtles learn to live happily together on Venus. Not sure about much more than that. Elements of Pataphysics by Alfred Jarry - Hmmm...no idea. Mechanopolis by Miguel de Unamuno - My favourite story so far! "My loneliness began to be filled with ghosts. That is the worst thing about loneliness, how easily it becomes filled." The Doom of Principal City by Yefim Zozulya -"Bitter confusion and spiritual devastation were universal now. Even serious-minded and governmental newspapers started dedicating a lot of space to personal polemics that were not free of spiteful accusations, vindictive attacks, and intent to offend and humiliate rather than establish the truth." The Comet by W.E.B. DuBois - Distinctions of race and class mean little without a world full of people to perpetuate them. The Fate of the Poseidonia by Clare Winger Harris -"How little we then realized that the relative importance of gold and water was destined to be reversed, and that man was to have forced upon him a new conception of values which would bring to him a complete realization of his former erroneous ideas." The Star Stealers by Edmond Hamilton - I was happily surprised to see that the pilot was a woman who fought alongside the men...up until the end when she seeks a beauty parlour as her only reward for helping to save the world from sure destruction. The Conquest of Gola by Leslie F. Stone - The matriarchy of Venus crushes the invasion of their planet by the weakling men of Earth using the superior power of their minds! A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Finally the SF short story evolves to include more intricate worldbuilding in the development of a variety of well described alien species. The Last Poet and the Robots by A. Merritt - "Now and then, out of the sea of lunatic mediocrity, a wave uplifted that beheld for a moment a light from the sun of truth-but soon it sank back and the light was gone. Quenched in the sea of stupidity." The Microscopic Giants by Paul Ernst - Written in 1936, this is the first story where the writing style, to me, has the feel of a more modern SF thriller. "Cold anger shone from the soulless eyes. Chill outrage, such as might shine from the eyes of a man whose home has been invaded. The little men palpably considered us trespassers in these depths, and were glacially infuriated by our presence." Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges - The collective consciousness of the world is changed by means of a book."[A]lready a fictitious past has supplanted in men's memories that other past, of which we now know nothing certain--not even that it is false." Desertion by Clifford D. Simak - Altering humans to survive the off-world environment! This story was much more to my taste than anything we have read up to now. "Maybe the brains of Earth things naturally are slow and foggy. Maybe we are the morons of the universe. Maybe we are fixed so we have to do things the hard way." September 2005: The Martian by Ray Bradbury - This story has an enduring quality representative of Bradbury's writing generally. "Who is this, he thought, in need of love as much as we? Who is he and what is he that, out of loneliness, he comes into the alien camp and assumes the voice and face of memory and stands among us, accepted and happy at last?" Baby HP by Juan Jose Arreola - "To the Lady of the House: Convert your children’s vitality into an energy force. We now have on sale the marvelous Baby HP, a device that is set to revolutionize the domestic economy." Surface Tension by James Blish - An excellent story about humans altered to microscopic size and adapted for an aquatic environment, yet still retain the desire to explore "space" and travel to "other worlds." "Come, my friend; join me at my table. We will plan our journey to the stars." Beyond Lies the Wub by Philip K. Dick - I always like Dick's short stories, and this is no exception. A short, clear, and wonderfully self-contained story. The Snowball Effect by Katherine McLean -  This is an interesting story about what happens when people conducting an experiment forget about the inherent unpredictability of social systems. MacLean is a writer I hadn't heard of before, and I found her style very readable. Prott by Margaret St. Clair - In the introductory notes to this story the editors describe it as "one of the most original collected in this anthology." Reading this story I can see the genesis of Jeff VanderMeer's own brilliantly creative and original book, Annihilation. The Liberation of Earth by William Tenn - Deeply political and therefore controversial in its time, this 1953 tale makes it clear that the "liberated" are the last thing so-called liberators actually care about. Let Me Live in a House by Chad Oliver - A tightly written and tense psychological story; probably my favourite in the collection so far. "Starburn leaves scars on the soul. Some men could not give up. Some men knew that man could not turn back. Starburned men knew that dreams never really die."  The Star by Arthur C. Clarke - An example of how humans can't help but try to integrate the new and unknown into existing narrative. Grandpa by James H. Schmitz - Relying on policy and regulations rather than observation and common sense can get you killed. The Game of Rat and Dragon by Cordwainer Smith - "Only partners could fight this deadliest of wars--and the one way to dissolve the partnership was to be personally dissolved!" The Last Question by Isaac Asimov - Everything truly does come full circle. Stranger Station by Damon Knight - to be honest I'm not exactly sure what happened at the end there, but I know it wasn't good. Sector General by James White - a very interesting and readable space hospital story. I was sorry when the end came! The Visitors by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - "Imagine yourself in the bowels of an alien spaceship, surrounded by unliving mechanisms, imagine yourself flying over an icy desert--without any hope, unsure where you are going--flying for days, months, maybe even years, imagine all of this and you can see what I'm thinking." A great premise that never played out in the execution. Pelt by Carol Emshwiller - A kind of creepy environmental story where it becomes clear that the distinction between "furs" and hunter is somewhat murky. The Monster by Gérard Klein - Quietly chilling and exquisitely written. "A memory came suddenly into her mind. A sentence read or heard, an idea harvested and stored away, to be milled and tasted now. It was something like this: men are nothing but empty shells, sometimes cold and deserted like abandoned houses, and sometimes inhabited, haunted by the beings we call life, jealousy, joy, fear, hope, and so many others. Then there was no more loneliness." The Man Who Lost the Sea by Theodore Sturgeon - "For no farmer who fingers the soil with love and knowledge, no poet who sings of it, artist, contractor, engineer, even child bursting into tears at the inexpressible beauty of a field of daffodils--none of these is as intimate with Earth as those who live on, live with, breathe, and drift in its seas." The Waves by Silvina Ocampo - "Science" can always be used to justify "progress." "But there is always someone who tells the truth, and if the truth sets some people free, then it condemns others." Plenitude by Will Worthington - A father and son confront their family's choices in a tale that could easily be the inspiration for some elements of The Matrix. "You look for ugliness and senselessness. It is that simple. Look for places that have been overlaid with mortar so that nothing can grow or change at its will. Look for things which have been fashioned at great expense of time and energy and then discarded." The Voices of Time by J.G. Ballard - Not for me. Pondering and philosophical without much structured plot and not really even enjoyable in terms of writing style. The Astronaut by Valentina Zhuravlyova - a moving and wistful account of the actions of a crew on a mission of exploration. "I enjoy...no, I have a love, a great love for Earth, for life on Earth, for the people who live there." The Squid Chooses Its Own Ink by Adolfo Bioy Casaeres - political critique observing the failed and dangerous state of those in power and and lamenting the lack of will most people ultimately possess to effect real change. 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - a typically grim tale about population control. "The painter pondered the mournful puzzle of life demanding to be born and, once born, demanding to be fruitful...to multiply and to live as long as possible--to do all that on a very small planet that would have to last forever." A Modest Genius by Vadim Shefner -a wonderful story about an underappreciated inventor and the love that finds its way to him. Day of Wrath by Sever Gansovsky - intelligent story with a focus on biotech experimentation and the aftermath that is left to the ordinary person to live with. A critique of the danger of intelligence untempered by compassion. Well, they take them all, the talented people, and lock them away in a closed space. And they coddle them. And they don't know anything about life. And that's why they have no compassion for people. . .You need to be a person first of all. And only then a scientist." The Hands by John Baxter - Creepy SF dealing with bodily takeover: "No thought had any real permanence. They were all vague and shadowy. He felt nothing sharply, with real emotion. He seemed always to be watching pictures of thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves." ... "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Tictockman by Harlan Ellison - a great story about one man's nonviolent attempts at disrupting authority: "...you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and in every revolution a few die who shouldn't, but they have to, because that's the way it happens, and if you make only a little change, then it seems to be worthwhile." Nine Hundred Grandmothers by R.A. Lafferty - "If they die, they not be here to say they do not die. Oh, I joke, I joke. No, we do not die. It is a foolish alien custom which we see no reason to imitate." ... When it Changed by Joanna Russ - Men come to Themyscira and they aren't Chris Pine. "Where are all the people?" said that monomaniac. I realized then that he did not mean people, he meant men, and he was giving the word the meaning it had not had on Whileaway for six centuries." And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side by James Tiptree Jr. - The biological imperative to seek out the new and the exotic becomes untenable and destructive when it comes to relations between humans and aliens. Where Two Paths Cross by Dmitri Bilenkin - A really interesting contact story where the humans and aliens are each completely beyond the initial understanding and experience of the other. I read Semiosis by Sue Burke shortly after this story and it made for a great pairing. Standing Woman by Yasutaka Tsutsui - a very creepy dystopian where government dissenters and troublemakers aren't killed, but planted and slowly turn into trees. Tsutsui also wrote the novel upon which the very interesting anime film, The Girl Who Leaped Through Time, was based. The IWM 1000 by Alicia Yanez Cossio - Imagine having a device at your fingertips that could supply any knowledge required: "Its operation was so simple that children spent time playing with it. It was an extension of the human brain. Many people would not be separated from it even during the most personal, intimate acts." The House of Compassionate Sharers by Michael Bishop - interesting and clever idea, but so sad and depressing to read too. Sporting with the Chid by Barrington J. Bayley - Tightly written and no less dark and creepy for the inevitable ending: "And life, he remembered dimly, was worth hanging on to at any cost." Sandkings by George R.R. Martin - Excellent SF horror by a master writer. It's easy to see why this won both the Hugo and the Nebula in 1979. Wives by Lisa Tuttle - feminist and anti-colonialist, this was utterly depressing and more impactful than Joanna Russ' story, When it Changed. The Snake Who Had Read Chomsky by Josephine Saxton - lab scientists seeking glory and social status turn on each other with predictably disastrous results. A nicely written and well-developed story. Reiko's Universe Box by Kajio Shinji - A really tidy little story that I liked quite a bit except for the very end, which felt a bit...incomplete somehow. Swarm by Bruce Sterling - a great, complete-feeling story, with a fantastic organic setting that reminded me of Kameron Hurley's books. ... Bloodchild by Octavia Butler - in a masterful combination of the sensual and the horrifying, Butler demonstrates she can write excellent short stories as well as novels. One of the best selections in the book. Variation on a Man by Pat Cadigan - I didn't completely understand what happened, but I liked the writing. If we prize our illusions, we are even that much more jealous of our delusions because they're so patently untrue. Passing as a Flower in the City of the Dead by S.N. Dyer - I suppose this story is about the decay of relationship in a new environment and dramatic life changes. Not much more to say about the story although I did like the writing itself. New Rose Hotel by William Gibson - Hmmm. I didn't like this much. I wasn't a fan of the use of second person here. It made the story feel even more vague. Pots by C.J. Cherryh - Sort of the opposite problem that I had with the story by S.N. Dyer. I liked the idea here but not the way it was written. It didn't feel tight enough to me, although that really is a matter of taste. Snow by John Crowley - A story about the nature of memory. In this case, rediscovering something you didn't know you lost and then seeing it disappear again. The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things by Karen Joy Fowler - Another story about memory, this time constructs of events that never happened. I liked this one a lot. It read a bit like an episode of Black Mirror. **Review continued in comments**

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I HAVE FINISHED THIS BIG GREEN BEAST!! It's been a journey of almost two years at one story per week. Sometimes I let a few stories pile up before reading them all at once, but the overall average rate was one per week. This book is huge, like a telephone book, with telephone book-like pages, so it was a daunting project. And for someone who tends to start things with the best of intentions, but then doesn't finish for whatever reason, I am very happy that I stuck with this short story project to I HAVE FINISHED THIS BIG GREEN BEAST!! It's been a journey of almost two years at one story per week. Sometimes I let a few stories pile up before reading them all at once, but the overall average rate was one per week. This book is huge, like a telephone book, with telephone book-like pages, so it was a daunting project. And for someone who tends to start things with the best of intentions, but then doesn't finish for whatever reason, I am very happy that I stuck with this short story project to the end. The stories were not always great, or even good. And some of them I had no clue what they were even about. But there were several very good stories that were either pretty creepy, or else thought-provoking. Overall I had a pretty enjoyable experience with reading this book. I think what I liked best was that the stories are all in chronological order, and each one is prefaced with an author bio. And sometimes the bio was more interesting than the story. It was a great way to get a nice sampling and overview of a variety of authors in the field. I would say for the stories themselves, the book gets a rating of 3 stars as there was quite the range of stories on the spectrum - from one to five stars. But I'm tacking on another star just because I always looked forward to see what I would be reading next. And if the story wasn't very good, at least it wasn't very long, then it was on to the next one. ****************************** Previous update: Embarking on a beast of a buddy read. Tentative schedule - 1 story per week. 105 stories total by 105 authors are included in this book. Bonus for the way my brain works - the stories are organized in chronological order and encompass the 20th century. I appreciate the page before each story which describes the author's background and mentions longer works to consider. One story down, "The Star" by H.G. Wells, 104 to go.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    How do you read an anthology? I always buy them and they sit on my shelf. Well I started a few stories from the end and read forward, and at some point will pick another starting point. I'll write tiny reviews of the stories when I finish them. I didn't want to retype the table of contents, but this one is alphabetical by author last name rather than in the order the book has them. Behind a spoiler tag for space. (view spoiler)[ Yoshio Aramaki, “Soft Clocks” 1968 (Japan) – translated by Kazuko Beh How do you read an anthology? I always buy them and they sit on my shelf. Well I started a few stories from the end and read forward, and at some point will pick another starting point. I'll write tiny reviews of the stories when I finish them. I didn't want to retype the table of contents, but this one is alphabetical by author last name rather than in the order the book has them. Behind a spoiler tag for space. (view spoiler)[ Yoshio Aramaki, “Soft Clocks” 1968 (Japan) – translated by Kazuko Behrens and stylized by Lewis Shiner Juan José Arreola, “Baby H.P.” 1952 (Mexico) – new translation by Larry Nolen Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question” 1956 J.G. Ballard, “The Voices of Time” 1960 Iain M. Banks, “A Gift from the Culture” 1987 Jacques Barbéri, “Mondo Cane” 1983 (France) – first translation by Brian Evenson John Baxter, “The Hands” 1965 Barrington J. Bayley, “Sporting with the Chid” 1979 Greg Bear, “Blood Music” 1983 Dmitri Bilenkin, “Crossing of the Paths” 1984 – new translation by James Womack Jon Bing, “The Owl of Bear Island” 1986 (Norway) - translation Adolfo Bioy Casares, “The Squid Chooses Its Own Ink” 1962 (Argentina) - new translation by Marian Womack Michael Bishop, “The House of Compassionate Sharers” 1977 James Blish, “Surface Tension” 1952 Michael Blumlein, “The Brains of Rats” 1990 Jorge Luis Borges, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” 1940 (Argentina) – translation by Andrew Hurley Ray Bradbury, “September 2005: The Martian” 1949 David R. Bunch, “Three From Moderan” 1959, 1970 Octavia Butler, “Bloodchild” 1984 Pat Cadigan, “Variations on a Man” 1984 André Carneiro, “Darkness” 1965 (Brazil) – translation by Leo L. Barrow Stepan Chapman, “How Alex Became a Machine” 1996 C.J. Cherryh, “Pots” 1985 Ted Chiang, “The Story of Your Life” 1998 This was a re-read for me, but it had been long enough where the parts came together in a surprising way once again. I understand from the VanderMeer introduction to the story that this will be a film in the upcoming year or so (article on film may have story spoilers) and that would definitely be interesting! I hope they don't just have the aliens off-stage. Arthur C. Clarke, “The Star” 1955 John Crowley, “Snow” 1985 Samuel R. Delany, “Aye, and Gomorrah” 1967 Philip K. Dick, “Beyond Lies the Wub” 1952 Cory Doctorow, “Craphound” 1998 Fun story with alien pickers. And somehow in the zany narrative Doctorow seems to be asking what aliens are really looking for. I think I got what he was saying between the lines, but maybe they just like cowboys. W.E.B. Du Bois, “The Comet” 1920 Jean-Claude Dunyach, “Paranamanco” 1987 (France) – translation by Sheryl Curtis S. N. Dyer, “Passing as a Flower in the City of the Dead” 1984 Harlan Ellison, “‘Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktock Man” 1965 Carol Emshwiller, “Pelt” 1958 Paul Ernst, “The Microscopic Giants” 1936 Karen Joy Fowler, “The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things” 1985 Sever Gansovsky, “Day of Wrath” 1964 (Ukraine) – new translation by James Womack William Gibson, “New Rose Hotel” 1984 Angélica Gorodischer, “The Unmistakable Smell of Wood Violets” 1973 (Argentina) – first translation by Marian Womack Edmond Hamilton, “The Star Stealers” 1929 Han Song, “Two Small Birds” 1988 (China) – first translation by John Chu Alfred Jarry, “The Elements of Pataphysics” 1911 (re-translation by Gio Clairval; France) Gwyneth Jones, “The Universe of Things” 1993 Langdon Jones, “The Hall of Machines” 1968 Kaijo Shinji, “Reiko’s Universe Box” 1981 (Japan) – translation by Toyoda Takashi and Gene van Troyer Gérard Klein, “The Monster” 1958 (France) – translation by Damon Knight Damon Knight, “Stranger Station” 1956 Leena Krohn, “The Gorgonoids” 1992 (Finland) – translation by Hildi Hawkins R.A. Lafferty, “Nine Hundred Grandmothers” 1966 Kojo Laing, “Vacancy for the Post of Jesus Christ” 1992 (Ghana) Geoffrey A. Landis, “Vacuum States” 1988 Tanith Lee, “Crying in the Rain” 1987 Ursula K. Le Guin, “Vaster Than Empires and More Slow” 1971 Stanisław Lem, “Let Us Save the Universe” 1981 (Poland) – translation by Joel Stern and Maria Swiecicka-Ziemianek Cixin Liu, “The Poetry Cloud” 1997 (China) – translation by Chi-yin Ip and Cheuk Wong I started with this story after Jeff VanderMeer posted that someone emailed him that this was the best story of the anthology. A hollow earth, dismissive elitist gods, and Chinese poetry... also the limits of technology. I think I'd need to read it again. I love humanity being portrayed as uncivilized. Katherine MacLean, “The Snowball Effect” 1952 Geoffrey Maloney, “Remnants of the Virago Crypto-System” 1995 George R.R. Martin, “Sandkings” 1979 Michael Moorcock, “The Frozen Cardinal” 1987 Pat Murphy, “Rachel in Love” 1987 Misha Nogha, “Death is Static Death is Movement” 1990 Silvina Ocampo, “The Waves” 1959 (Argentina) – first translation by Marian Womack Chad Oliver, “Let Me Live in a House” 1954 Manjula Padmanabhan, “Sharing Air” 1984 (India) Frederick Pohl, “Day Million” 1966 Rachel Pollack, “Burning Sky” 1989 Robert Reed, “The Remoras” 1994 Kim Stanley Robinson, “Before I Wake”1989 Joanna Russ, “When It Changed” 1972 Josephine Saxton, “The Snake Who Had Read Chomsky” 1981 Paul Scheerbart, “The New Abyss” 1911 (Germany) – first translation by Daniel Ableev and Sarah Kaseem James H. Schmitz, “Grandpa” 1955 Vadim Shefner, “A Modest Genius” 1965 (Russia) –translation by Matthew J. O’Connell Robert Silverberg, “Good News from the Vatican” 1971 Clifford D. Simak, “Desertion” 1944 Johanna Sinisalo, “Baby Doll” 2002 (Finland) – translation by David Hackston Science fiction in the sense that the world isn't quite real, but almost. Children are highly sexualized and become a commodity. Uncomfortably close to the real world I suppose, but a strange ending to the anthology. The intro mentions a parallel with a few other stories in the book so perhaps once I reread the Tiptree I will understand it better. Cordwainer Smith, “The Game of Rat and Dragon” 1955 Margaret St. Clair, “Prott” 1985 Bruce Sterling, “Swarm” 1982 Karl Hans Strobl, “The Triumph of Mechanics” 1907 (Germany) – first translation by Gio Clairval Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, “The Visitors” 1958 (Russia) – new translation by James Womack Theodore Sturgeon, “The Man Who Lost the Sea” 1959 William Tenn, “The Liberation of Earth” 1953 William Tenn, “Ghost Standard” 1994 James Tiptree, Jr., “And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side” 1972 Tatyana Tolstoya, “The Slynx” 2000 (Russia) – translation by Jamey Gambrell This is an excerpt from the novel of the same name. What beautiful writing. I have meant to read this novel for a while. Like many Russians, it is a bit of a tease, writing about nature and possibly meaning something else. Yasutaka Tsutsui, “Standing Woman” 1974 (Japan) – translation by Dana Lewis Lisa Tuttle, “Wives” 1979 Miguel de Unamuno, “Mechanopolis” 1913 (Spain) – new translation by Marian Womack Élisabeth Vonarburg, “Readers of Lost Art” 1987 (Canada/Quebec) – translation by Howard Scott Kurt Vonnegut, “2BRO2B” 1962 H.G. Wells, “The Star,” 1897 James White, “Sector General” 1957 Connie Willis, “Schwarzschild Radius” 1987 Gene Wolfe, “All the Hues of Hell” 1987 Alicia Yánez Cossío, “The IWM 1000” 1975 (Chile) – translation by Susana Castillo and Elsie Adams Valentina Zhuravlyova, “The Astronaut” 1960 (Russia) – new translation by James Womack Yefim Zozulya, “The Doom of Principal City” 1918 (Russian) – first translation by Vlad Zhenevsky (hide spoiler)]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jared Millet

    After reading the introduction by the editors, Holy Crap am I excited for this anthology. The VanderMeers have got to be the most well-read SF goons on the face of the planet. They appreciate the entirety of the genre, with a breadth that even a lifelong fan like myself hardly knew existed. This is gonna be good. One year, four months later… OMG I finished it. That was a fantastic anthology, and it was a monster. 105 stories by 104 authors (William Tenn sneaks in twice). 100 years of stories from After reading the introduction by the editors, Holy Crap am I excited for this anthology. The VanderMeers have got to be the most well-read SF goons on the face of the planet. They appreciate the entirety of the genre, with a breadth that even a lifelong fan like myself hardly knew existed. This is gonna be good. One year, four months later… OMG I finished it. That was a fantastic anthology, and it was a monster. 105 stories by 104 authors (William Tenn sneaks in twice). 100 years of stories from all over the globe, representing almost every sub-genre and style imaginable. There are a few inevitable omissions: Heinlein and Herbert are missing, probably due to rights issues, but there’s plenty of skiffy goodness to fill in the gaps. Odder still is the lack of time travel; I’d have thought that was a science fiction staple but unless I’m forgetting something it isn’t touched on in this volume. Mere quibbles! Here’s the good stuff: An International Sampler Science Fiction isn’t just an English language phenomenon (uh… Jules Verne, anyone?) and the editors make it a point to showcase the richness and diversity of ideas from around the world. The second story in the volume, “Sultana’s Dream”, is from a turn-of-the-19th Century Bengali feminist writer. I particularly enjoyed the French author Gérard Klein’s story “The Monster” and modern Chinese star Cixin Liu’s “The Poetry Cloud.” Statistically among the international contingent there seems to be a plethora of Argentinian and Russian SF authors. The Argentinians didn’t grab me – too philosophical and didactic – but I love the Russians for their dry, bleak wit. Hitchhiking the Galaxy Space travel and exploring other planets? Check. In this humble fan’s opinion, flying around in spaceships and visiting alien worlds is what SF is for. Everything else is just extra. This book’s got plenty of what I like, whether from authors who ignore the cosmic speed limit or those who embrace it, such as Ursula Le Guin, who examines what kind of dysfunctional personalities it would take to leave Earth for hundreds of years in the sublime “Vaster Than Empires and More Slow.” On the other end of the spectrum is the rip-roaring early space opera of Edmond Hamilton’s “The Star Stealers.” Which leads us to what is by far the overriding theme in this collection: Shaking Hands (and Brains) with Little Green Men You could easily lump three quarters of this volume into the category “Encountering the Alien” and still not feel that the stories repeat themselves. Whether the aliens come to Earth or we encroach their territory, it’s fascinating to watch the shift in how authors tackle the meeting of human and non-human minds. In the early days it’s either combative Wellsian invasions or unintentionally destructive encounters, such as Ray Bradbury’s tragic “September 2005: The Martian.” A few authors go Full Lovecraft and propose that encountering a truly alien mind would lead to madness, such as in Chad Oliver’s “Let Me Live In a House” or Damon Knight’s “Stranger Station.” I really, really wish I could go back in time and get these authors to read Ted Chiang’s bittersweet mind-bending “Story of Your Life”, which is included toward the end of the collection. A turning point seems to be James White’s “Sector General,” set in a multi-species intergalactic hospital where all patients are welcomed and treated regardless of how many appendages they have or what they breathe. From there on there is a trend in stories in which contact with aliens is, while still fraught with missteps and danger, a potentially enlightening encounter and broadening on both sides. This comes to full expression with Cory Doctorow’s wonderful “Craphound” in which man and alien come together over a shared love of kitschy memorabilia. Pick a Future, Any Future Utopias and Dystopias abound, although Utopian fiction seems to have had its heyday in the early part of the 20th century, before those pesky World Wars and the accompanying atom bombs. After that, there are plenty of examinations of humanity’s possible “failure modes” (as David Brin would put it). Nuclear annihilation was the planetary death of choice for most of the twentieth century, but there is a definite shift toward environmental and sociological collapse toward the later parts of the collection. The only modern author (outside of Gene Roddenberry) with the gall to imagine a working utopia is Iain M. Banks, represented here in “A Gift From the Culture,” though he focuses a lot on the non-Utopian fringe of his perfect society more than the society itself. Machines Will Save Us / Eat Us All At its core, SF has always been a literature about the advance of technology and the effect that technology might have on society for good or ill. In “Good News From the Vatican,” Robert Silverberg snarkily presents the A.I. takeover of the theocratic realm, while in “Death Is Static Death Is Movement” Misha Nogha dives headfirst into the cyberpunk realm of human/machine interfaces that blur the very concepts of reality and identity. In “The Hall of Machines” Langdon Jones turns a catalog of mysterious creations into a creepshow more nightmare-inducing than any haunted house. SF’s patron saint Isaac Asimov, however, gets the last word on the long term benefit of artificial intelligence in his classic “The Last Question.” All Good Things Science Fiction is also about taking the Deep View, as Asimov does in his above mentioned story. It’s a field that will take an idea to its logical and inevitable end, right up to the end of all things. J.G. Ballard’s “The Voices of Time” brings the slow, grinding death of the universe into the immediate present, while the death of civilizations is examined from afar in C. J. Cherryh’s “Pots” and Arthur Clarke’s “The Star” (which, btw, may be my favorite SF short story ever). I could go on for days. Originally I tried to review each individual story as I finished it, but the Goodreads word count limit would never let me get away with that. Still, before I go, shout-outs to Harlan Ellison, Michael Moorcock, Connie Willis, Theodore Sturgeon, Kurt Vonnegut, Stanley G. Weinbaum, James Blish, Cordwainer Smith, and the incomparable Gene Wolfe. And many, many thanks to the Vandermeers for putting this Bible of SF together. I don’t care how thick it is, dammit. READ IT!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    The Next 58 Following on from https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... **** 1968 (continued) The Dance of the Changer and the Three : Terry Carr Going Down Smooth : Robert Silverberg The Comsat Angels : J G Ballard 1969 "Franz Kafka" by Jorge Luis Borges : Alvin Greenberg The Holland of the Mind : Pamela Zoline Sundance : Robert Silverberg 1970 Heresies of the Huge God : Brian W Aldiss The Worm that Flies : Brian W Aldiss Where No Sun Shines : Gardner Dozois 1971 The Sliced-Crosswise Only-on-Thursday World The Next 58 Following on from https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... **** 1968 (continued) The Dance of the Changer and the Three : Terry Carr Going Down Smooth : Robert Silverberg The Comsat Angels : J G Ballard 1969 "Franz Kafka" by Jorge Luis Borges : Alvin Greenberg The Holland of the Mind : Pamela Zoline Sundance : Robert Silverberg 1970 Heresies of the Huge God : Brian W Aldiss The Worm that Flies : Brian W Aldiss Where No Sun Shines : Gardner Dozois 1971 The Sliced-Crosswise Only-on-Thursday World : Philip Jose Farmer 1972 Ozymandias : Terry Carr The Milk of Paradise : James M Tiptree, Jr The Head and the Hand : Christopher Priest When we Went to See the End of the World : Robert Silverberg The Meeting : Frederick Pohl and C M Kornbluth 1974 The Last Flight of Dr Ain : James M Tiptree, Jr 1975 The Air Disaster : J G Ballard 1976 I See You : Damon Knight Tricentennial : Joe Haldeman 1977 If this is Winnetka, you must be Judy : F M Busby Air Raid : John Varley The Screwfly Solution : James M Tiptree, Jr Particle Theory : Edward Bryant 1981 The Start of the End of it All : Carol Emshwiller 1982 Fire Watch : Connie Willis Swarm : Bruce Sterling 1983 Hardfought : Greg Bear 1985 Snow : John Crowley All my Darling Daughters : Connie Willis Roadside Rescue : Pat Cadigan 1986 Hatrack River : Orson Scott Card R&R : Lucius Shepherd Note : these two long stories (awright, novelettes) are wonderful examples of how the new sf writers of the 1980s found that magical thing all the critics said sf never had : style. The writing is gorgeous, never mind the ideas, which are also. 1987 At the Cross-Time Jaunters' Ball : Alexander Jablokov 1990 Bears Discover Fire : Terry Bisson Mr Boy : Patrick Kelly 1991 Beggars in Spain : Nancy Kress 1993 Papa : Ian McLeod 1994 Flowering Mandrake : George Turner Cocoon : Greg Egan Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge : Mike Resnick None so Blind : Joe Haldeman 1995 Hot Times in Magma City : Silverberg Judgement Engine : Greg Bear We were out of our Minds with Joy : David Marusek Mortimer Gray's "History of Death" : Brian Stableford 1996 The Dead : Michael Swanwick The Flowers of Aulit Prison : Nancy Kress Bicycle Repairman : Bruce Sterling 1997 Moon Six : Stephen Baxter 1998 Taklamakan : Bruce Sterling 1999 The Wedding Album : David Marusek Macs : Terry Bisson People Came from Earth : Stephen Baxter 2000 Tendeleo's Story : Ian Macdonald The Thing about Benny : M Shayne Bell 2002 In Paradise : Bruce Sterling 2004 The People of Sand and Slag : Paolo Bacigalupi Note : it may be observed that the selections trickle to a halt after the year 2000 – this is because I have a giant heap of Dozois and other anthologies that I have not got round to yet. 2010 Ant Colony : Alissa Nutting ****** As with the first 100 list - which ones are missing ??

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Full disclosure: I received an ARC of this book on Goodreads giveaways in exchange for my honest opinion. Secondly, I haven't fully read the book yet. That may take me a long time to do, given the enormous size (1178 pages) of this book. Therefore, an update will be forthcoming once I finish the book. This is an incredible anthology of science fiction. I think all of these works have been previously published, although a number of them are either newly translated into English or have been retrans Full disclosure: I received an ARC of this book on Goodreads giveaways in exchange for my honest opinion. Secondly, I haven't fully read the book yet. That may take me a long time to do, given the enormous size (1178 pages) of this book. Therefore, an update will be forthcoming once I finish the book. This is an incredible anthology of science fiction. I think all of these works have been previously published, although a number of them are either newly translated into English or have been retranslated into English, so those stories will probably be new even to the most avid of science fiction readers. It looks like the VanderMeers decided to create an anthology that is representative of all the major eras and traditions in science fiction, by including stories published over a span of more than 100 years. I'm sure some readers will flip through the book and say, "but why isn't [insert famous/important/incredible author name here] included?" but I would guess that list is fairly short. In this book, you'll find just about every major name in science fiction and some of the most famous stories in science fiction. Flipping through this book, I see a whole bunch of stories that I've wanted to read for a long time now. The book has a nice introduction to the history of science fiction, and each story has a short biography of the author, demonstrating why that author and that story in particular are so influential. I like that, since it helps me understand how these works fit together and how they've influenced the genre. Since I haven't seen anyone publish the table of contents anywhere and viewing that is always important to me when I consider buying an anthology, I'm listing it here for anyone who's interested. I'm always wary of buying anthologies because I might have the stories in other volumes, especially when the anthology is full of classics like this one. However, given the size of this and the relative obscurity of most of the translated works, I suggest that this is worth it if you like to collect short science fiction. Contents: H. G. Wells: The Star Rokheya Shekhawat Hossain: Sultana's Dream Karl Hans Strobl: The Triumph of Mechanics Paul Scheerbart: The New Overworld Alfred Jarry: Elements of Pataphysics Miguel de Unamuno: Mechanopolis Yefim Zozulya: The Doom of Principal City W. E. B. Du Bois: The Comet Clare Winger Harris: The Fate of the Poseidonia Edmond Hamilton: The Star Stealers Leslie F. Stone: The Conquest of Gola Stanley G. Weinbaum: A Martian Odyssey A. Merritt: The Last Poet and the Robots Paul Ernst: The Microscopic Giants Jorge Luis Borges: Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius Clifford D. Simak: Desertion Ray Bradbury: September 2005: The Martian Juan Jose Arreola: Baby HP James Blish: Surface Tension Philip K. Dick: Beyond Lies the Wub Katherine MacLean: The Snowball Effect Margaret St. Clair: Prott William Tenn: The Liberation of Earth Chad Oliver: Let Me Live in a House Arthur C. Clarke: The Star James H. Schmitz: Grandpa Cordwainer Smith: The Game of Rat and Dragon Isaac Asimov: The Last Question Damon Knight: Stranger Station James White: Sector General Arkady and Boris Strugatsky: The Visitors Carol Emschwiller: Pelt Gerard Klein: The Monster Theodore Sturgeon: The Man Who Lost the Sea Silvina Ocampo: The Waves Will Worthington: Plenitude J. G. Ballard: The Voices of Time Valentina Zhuravlyova: The Astronaut Adolfo Bioy Casares: The Squid Chooses Its Own Ink Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: 2 B R O 2 B Vadim Shefner: A Modest Genius Sever Gansovsky: Day of Wrath John Baxter: The Hands Andre Carneiro: Darkness Harlan Ellison: "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman R. A. Lafferty: Nine Hundred Grandmothers Frederik Pohl: Day Million F. L. Wallace: Student Body Samuel R. Delany: Aye, and Gomorrah Langdon Jones: The Hall of Machines Yoshio Aramaki: Soft Clocks David R. Bunch: Three from Moderan Stanislaw Lem: Let Us Save the Universe Ursula K. Le Guin: Vaster Than Empires and More Slow Robert Silverberg: Good News from the Vatican Joanna Russ: When It Changed James Tiptree Jr.: And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side Dmitri Bilenkin: Where Two Paths Cross Yasutaka Tsutsui: Standing Woman Alicia Yanez Cossio: The IWM 1000 Michael Bishop: The House of Compassionate Sharers Barrington J. Bayley: Sporting with the Chid George R. R. Martin: Sandkings Lisa Tuttle: Wives Josephine Saxton: The Snake Who Had Read Chomsky Kajio Shinji: Reiko's Universe Box Bruce Sterling: Swarm Jacques Barberi: Mondocane Greg Bear: Blood Music Octavia E. Butler: Bloodchild Pat Cadigan: Variation on a Man S. N. Dyer: Passing as a Flower in the City of the Dead William Gibson: New Rose Hotel C. J. Cherryh: Pots John Crowley: Snow Karen Joy Fowler: The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things Angelica Gorodischer: The Unmistakable Smell of Wood Violets Jon Bing: The Owl of Bear Island Elisabeth Vonarburg: Readers of the Lost Art Iain M. Banks: A Gift from the Culture Jean-Claude Dunyach: Paranamanco Tanith Lee: Crying in the Rain Michael Moorcock: The Frozen Cardinal Pat Murphy: Rachel in Love Manjula Padmanabhan: Sharing Air Connie Willis: Schwarzschild Radius Gene Wolfe: All the Hues of Hell Geoffrey A. Landis: Vacuum States Han Song: Two Small Birds Rachel Pollack: Burning Sky Kim Stanley Robinson: Before I Wake Misha Nogha: Death Is Static Death Is Movement Michael Blumlein: The Brains of Rats Leena Krohn: Gorgonoids Kojo Laing: Vacancy for the Post of Jesus Christ Gwyneth Jones: The Universe of Things Robert Reed: The Remoras William Tenn: The Ghost Standard Geoffrey Maloney: Remnants of the Virago Crypto-System Stepan Chapman: How Alex Became a Machine Cixin Liu: The Poetry Cloud Ted Chiang: Story of Your Life Cory Doctorow: Craphound Tatyana Tolstaya: The Slynx Johanna Sinisalo: Baby Doll

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The SpecFic Buddy Reads group read this mammoth anthology starting in January 2017 at a rate of one story per week and just finished it about a week ago in January 2019. It was a long, often frustrating, but voluminous, education on what one pair of really notable editors consider to be important waypoints from the origins of the genre to its most modern antecedents. Along the way there are some amazing gems, Bloodchild and Story of Your Life among them, but there are also plenty of stories that The SpecFic Buddy Reads group read this mammoth anthology starting in January 2017 at a rate of one story per week and just finished it about a week ago in January 2019. It was a long, often frustrating, but voluminous, education on what one pair of really notable editors consider to be important waypoints from the origins of the genre to its most modern antecedents. Along the way there are some amazing gems, Bloodchild and Story of Your Life among them, but there are also plenty of stories that would best be described as "of academic interest only", including a lot of literary experimentation. I've read the Vandermeer's stuff before, and it's very clear that their tastes in story selection match their own fiction, with quite a number of these stories stretching science fictional concepts to horror and even bizarro fiction in places. I nearly always appreciated what I was reading through this anthology, for a look at when different science fictional concepts were showing up in fiction, and also to see some of the genre traditions of other countries. But because the editors have such a strong and obvious preference for certain bents in fiction (highbrow literature, experimental fiction, horror), I never got an impression of a chronicle of science fiction as such, but much more of a "this is what we think was important" list. And ultimately, other than academic interest, I simply don't share much of the tastes of the Vandermeers in this realm, and I probably only enjoyed (rather than appreciated) one story in three in this anthology. I'm still glad I read it though.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Feld

    They're not kidding when they call this The Big Book of Science Fiction -- the book is the size of a dictionary, with two columns of text on every page. It is mind-blowingly, wrist-snappingly huge. But there is a method to this madness. Over the past few years, there's been a great deal of tension in the science fiction community over what constitutes the field's canon. There are those who claim you need a grounding in the (primarily white and male) Golden Age pulp authors to understand the field They're not kidding when they call this The Big Book of Science Fiction -- the book is the size of a dictionary, with two columns of text on every page. It is mind-blowingly, wrist-snappingly huge. But there is a method to this madness. Over the past few years, there's been a great deal of tension in the science fiction community over what constitutes the field's canon. There are those who claim you need a grounding in the (primarily white and male) Golden Age pulp authors to understand the field. Others have tried to reclaim the regularly erased contributions of women, LGBT people and people of color in anthologies that focus on the reclaimed groups, which inadvertently keeps them divorced from the whole. And that's not even counting people who only read subgenres like Cyberpunk. The field has gotten so broad that not only are there multiple conversations going on, but it's entirely possible to read broadly and immerse yourself in the genre without realizing just how much still remains unexplored outside your little bubble. The BBSF seems to be an attempt to bring everyone back to the table by creating a new, broader canon. It represents a century's worth of science fiction, including entries by great writers from around the world, with good representation by women writers, LGBT writers, and writers of color, and biographical notes on each author that show who is in conversation with whom. There were some old favorites here like James Tiptree Jr, Joanna Russ, and Octavia Butler, but I also got introduced to a number of authors I didn't know, like James White and Chad Oliver, whose work I now want to hunt down. And one of my favorite stories here was written by an author not known for his SF, WEB du Bois. While I loved about a dozen of the stories, there were a bunch that were not my thing. Honestly, in an anthology this wide-ranging, no one is going to love every story. I also highly recommend getting this in ebook format to save your wrists. But I think it's a hugely important work in terms of getting everyone to take a step back and see how we all make up part of a larger whole.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet Jay

    I read a LOT, and a lot of that is sci fi, and a lot of THAT is short stories. All that to say, when I say “this is the best comp I’ve ever read,” it means something. Of course it had a lot of gold standards, but also delved into the historical origins of the form. One thing I really appreciated was their concern with and attention to non-English stories, both presenting rare and new stuff, and by paying to retranslate some older stories that benefited from the treatment. It’s long but great.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Loring Wirbel

    Time was when an ideal collection of sci-fi could be judged solely by its Thud Factor. Monstrous collections would try to include a couple old-masters works by Asimov and Bradbury, some scary new efforts from Sturgeon or Knight, and a few unknown space-opera chestnuts. But then along came the 1980s fragmentation into New Wave, feminist, humanist, absurdist, cyberpunk, ad infinitum, and it became harder and harder to find the monster collection that pleased everyone. Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have r Time was when an ideal collection of sci-fi could be judged solely by its Thud Factor. Monstrous collections would try to include a couple old-masters works by Asimov and Bradbury, some scary new efforts from Sturgeon or Knight, and a few unknown space-opera chestnuts. But then along came the 1980s fragmentation into New Wave, feminist, humanist, absurdist, cyberpunk, ad infinitum, and it became harder and harder to find the monster collection that pleased everyone. Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have returned us to Thud Factor with a vengeance, producing a monster work weighing in at 1160 pages, beginning with Alfred Jarry and H.G. Wells, and dancing through all the major sub-genres of science fiction without missing a beat. OK, maybe the collection aims for politically correct by excluding conservatives like Robert Heinlein and Eugene Wolfe, and certainly the modern provocateurs like Vox Day (Theodore Beale), but you know what? I don't miss that segment a bit. While there are plenty of feminist and environmental works here, there is no intention of focusing on sci-fi stories that opt for dystopia and corrective measures. Instead, the VanderMeers concentrate on the well-told-tale, and give us J.G. Ballard, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ursula K. LeGuin, William Gibson, Kurt Vonnegut, and on and on. Occasionally, the stories are chosen to terrify, as with the back-to-back offerings of Greg Bear and Olivia Butler, but many other works, such as those from Ted Chiang and Cixin Liu, are intended to educate and amaze. The editors have gone to great lengths to make this a global collection, with lesser-known works, sometimes translated for the first time, by authors from South America, China, Russia, and Southeast Asia. Thud Factor? This book is too massive to carry on a plane or to the beach, but it's one of those definitive collections you'll be proud to place on your coffee table. If a few of the Hugo Awards disrupters think the selection is too politically correct, let them build their own alternative-sci-fi facts for the Trump era. It would be very surprising if such a collection had even a fraction of the Thud Factor of this one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Bauer

    I'll keep it simple. If you either read much speculative fiction or write, this is kinda a MANDATORY book for you to own. It is a Bible of science fiction short stories and probably weighs as much as a Guttenberg. I have not had such a sense of accomplishment in finishing a book from cover to cover since I finished reading James Joyce in high school. So very worth it. I'll keep it simple. If you either read much speculative fiction or write, this is kinda a MANDATORY book for you to own. It is a Bible of science fiction short stories and probably weighs as much as a Guttenberg. I have not had such a sense of accomplishment in finishing a book from cover to cover since I finished reading James Joyce in high school. So very worth it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    RJ - Slayer of Trolls

    $25 cover price, marked down at BN.com, less 40% off coupon and free shipping = about 1200 pages of sci-fi goodness for less than $9. I've read "The Star" by Arthur C Clarke and "New Rose Hotel" by William Gibson (from back when he was good) and both are excellent. Looking forward to this one. $25 cover price, marked down at BN.com, less 40% off coupon and free shipping = about 1200 pages of sci-fi goodness for less than $9. I've read "The Star" by Arthur C Clarke and "New Rose Hotel" by William Gibson (from back when he was good) and both are excellent. Looking forward to this one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    This is one of the best science fiction anthologies I've ever read. Not a dud in the bunch. And not the usual stories either. This is one of the best science fiction anthologies I've ever read. Not a dud in the bunch. And not the usual stories either.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aerin

    A birthday gift! I'm hoping to make it through all of this beast next year, reading a couple of stories a week. Some of my favorite stories are in here, but most of them will be new to me, and I trust the VanderMeers' tastes. A birthday gift! I'm hoping to make it through all of this beast next year, reading a couple of stories a week. Some of my favorite stories are in here, but most of them will be new to me, and I trust the VanderMeers' tastes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Nick

    The selection is suspect as there is an obvious feminist, even intersectional, agenda at work here. Nevertheless, the masters are at least nominally represented. But some are notably absent, again, likely for political reasons, like Orson Scott Card. Introduction *** Learned about the (unfortunate) existence of subgenres like "Humanist" and "Feminist" sci-fi, and others--basically, sci-fi as a commentary on the sociological and otherwise impact of technology, aliens, or other "science-y" stuff. The selection is suspect as there is an obvious feminist, even intersectional, agenda at work here. Nevertheless, the masters are at least nominally represented. But some are notably absent, again, likely for political reasons, like Orson Scott Card. Introduction *** Learned about the (unfortunate) existence of subgenres like "Humanist" and "Feminist" sci-fi, and others--basically, sci-fi as a commentary on the sociological and otherwise impact of technology, aliens, or other "science-y" stuff. I thereafter expected I'd be skipping some stories, but realized that I had enjoyed such sci-fi by John Brunner (The Sheep Look Up)--who is neglected in this tome--in the past, and as I read the first story by H. G. Wells ("The Star"), which is to a degree about mankind's reaction to an extinction event, I realize it might not be such a deal-breaker after all, and I thus plan to be somewhat more open-minded about the coming stories--at least up to the point of encountering any feminist dreck. The Star *** Apparently the origin of "impact fiction", and thus reminiscent of guilty cinematic pleasures along the lines of Armageddon and Deep Impact (God that title sounds corny now … !), it entertains exactly along those lines, without any further consequence. As the first story in the anthology, it's likely there for chronological reasons, but also to soothe any worries a casual reader might have about the agenda the editors have in selecting stories for this tome. Sultana's Dream * What, like the raisin … ? … and the feminist sci-fi genre is … "born" (?) Echhhh. This is NOT sci-fi, but the excuses abound in the preamble about the author of this story, as the editors twist themselves into pretzels to argue that it is, as a "conte philosophique" … and, presuming success, open the door for any "story" to be included herein, peppered among genuine classics and true envelope pushers, in the hopes of infiltrating impressionable young minds still susceptible to the siren song of the progressive left. Hell, according to biographical material, all this was, was a way for her to practice her English composition while her husband was away on some sorta tour ... The Triumph of Mechanics ** "Rise of The Machines" trope and its Nazi party origins. Who knew ... ? The New Overworld * Yeah, I dunno what that was all about ... Elements of Pataphysics *** You see, I likely won't know what's going on w/ this one, either, but because it's Alfred Jarry, it won't matter--everything he writes is sublime, the master absurdist! Yay! It's fun to see his absurdity come quite close to wandering into the realm of the plausibly rational--but not quite. There is a way to read this stuff such that you just allow yourself to be transported on its waves of nonsense--delightful! Mechanopolis **** Even the editors admit to the paucity of sci-fi output from Unamuno, and yet somehow it's still an "excellent example of Spanish" sci-fi at less than three pages in length--more evidence of suspect quality of the selections in this anthology, if you're driving an agenda which includes feminism, internationalism, and intersectionalism. You can't have it both ways ... That being said, this second tale featuring the theme of AI Dominance--this time in it's stable, post-human state--though unremarkable in its content or action, features the most thoughtful and philosophical conclusion reached thus far in this collection: "That is the worst thing about loneliness, how easily it becomes filled." It speaks volumes to me on a personal level, despite my not being entirely sure what it means, or how such a thing even can be. It's one of those things that seems reasonable and clever when you hear it, induces emotional resonance almost immediately, and yet proves ever more elusive the more you think about it. Gold. An alternative translation by Emily A. Davis doesn't have quite the same impact or, really, message: "That’s the worst thing about being alone, when your loneliness gets all filled up with imagined companions." The Doom of Principal City

  16. 5 out of 5

    Moonglum

    I read this book from cover to cover, first story to last. It was a rewarding quest, and it gives you a sense of the evolution of science fiction, as the stories are arranged roughly chronologically. One of the really cool things about this anthology is that it includes a selection of stories from many non-english speaking countries. This was probably my first real exposure the Japanese literary science fiction, and I absolutely loved the stories from Japan. But there are many wonderful science I read this book from cover to cover, first story to last. It was a rewarding quest, and it gives you a sense of the evolution of science fiction, as the stories are arranged roughly chronologically. One of the really cool things about this anthology is that it includes a selection of stories from many non-english speaking countries. This was probably my first real exposure the Japanese literary science fiction, and I absolutely loved the stories from Japan. But there are many wonderful science fiction stories from places like India, South America, Russia, and the Nordic countries. The Big Book of Sci Fi also includes many stories by women, including stories from many countries and from many periods. For example, it was cool to read the story 'Sultana's Dream', a philosphical 'utopian' fiction by an Indian woman, and to see cool science fiction being written by women in the 1950s ('The Snowball Effect', by Katherine Maclean, 'Prott' by Margaret St. Clair). Reading this anthology also gave me a chance to re-read several stories that I had read previously, but often decades ago, and had loved. 'Rachel in Love', 'The New Rose Hotel', 'Repent Harlequin! said the Tick Tock Man', 'The Star', 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius', 'The Martian', 'The Story of Your Life' (I actually read this a couple years ago, but the re-read was still great), etc.. all made for awesome re-reads, and I envy the person encountering these marvelous tales for the first time. But what reading an anthology like this is really good for is discovering new writers, and reading awesome tales that you have not previously encountered. Here is a list of some of the wondrous, new discoveries found within this tome: “Soft Clocks”, by Yoshio Aramaki: Japanese science fiction that reminded by of Rudy Rucker at his best. It concerns bio-engineering martian reality to be more like a Salvador Dali painting, because Salvador Dali is just that cool. “Vacancy for the Post of Jesus Christ”, by Kojo Laing. An African writer from Ghana, writing in english, the story has a poetic, beat sensibility. It has something of the kind of take on science fiction that Burroughs did in, say, 'The Soft Machine', or 'The Wild Boyz', in that it re-purposes science fictions metaphors into radical prose, but his sensibility is different from Burroughs. The story also makes use of the street culture and folklore of Ghana to quite cool effect. “The Poetry Cloud”, by Cixin Liu. I had read 'The Three Body Problem' by Liu (translated by Ken Liu, an America writer who I am also a fan of), but that was about the extent of my encounter with this amazing writer. "The Poetry Cloud" is far reaching, super imaginative space opera that conveys that creepy feeling that I love of being lost in a vast, cold, strange space ('Three Body Problem' does likewise). Also I just love the moniker 'The Devouring Empire'. “Sandkings”, by George R.R. Martin. I loved this tale of science fiction horror that has a nice, twisty ending. The story is apparently quite famous, but I had never read it before. “The Liberation of Earth”, by William Tenn. Another awesome, apparently famous story that I had never encountered before. This one was famous in the 60s as an anti-war fable, but highly relevant today. “Standing Woman”, by Yasutaka Tsutsui. More super groovy Japanese science fiction. This one is a creepy, somewhat Kafkaesque political story. The matter of fact acceptance of the surreal change to the world of having people punished by being metamorphosed into trees reminded me of Murakami's Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. "Pots", by C.J. Cherryh. In my quest to read every Hugo winning novel, I have attempted twice to read Cherryh's 'Down Below Station'. I can never get past the first few chapters, though perhaps that's because the cheap paperback copy I have has such small print. This story totally makes me want to give that novel another go! It combines space opera, intense suspense, a gloomy tragic understanding of the precariousness of civilization, and a half cynical, half hopeful take on the power of stories.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike Jansen

    A little light reading for the holidays. The first 75% of the book I liked a lot; several stories I read in other anthologies, so a bit like coming home. After that I hit a bit of a snag with stories I just couldn't relate to. Fortunately there were a few gems in there still. A memorable collection. A little light reading for the holidays. The first 75% of the book I liked a lot; several stories I read in other anthologies, so a bit like coming home. After that I hit a bit of a snag with stories I just couldn't relate to. Fortunately there were a few gems in there still. A memorable collection.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joe Backus

    The Big Book of Science Fiction is a book of marvelous adventures and different opinions. My opinion of the book depends on the story in which I read. If I read a story related to more adventure and philosophy, I enjoy it. If I read a book more about talking and a process, then I start to lose interest. Since there are so many different stories and plots in this book, I´m going to review one of my favorites so far called The Star by H.G. Wells. The basic plot of this book is that a dangerous sta The Big Book of Science Fiction is a book of marvelous adventures and different opinions. My opinion of the book depends on the story in which I read. If I read a story related to more adventure and philosophy, I enjoy it. If I read a book more about talking and a process, then I start to lose interest. Since there are so many different stories and plots in this book, I´m going to review one of my favorites so far called The Star by H.G. Wells. The basic plot of this book is that a dangerous star is continuing on a path and it's messing with the planets like Jupiter and all its moons. The research of a mathematician is shown throughout the world. The mathematician reveals to others that the star and Earth's Sun are exerting gravitational connection, and as a result the star is being sucked deeper into the Solar System. According to its location, it is proven that the star will either touch Earth or move by at close proximity, which would lead to a ton of issues for Earth. As this idea disrupts nights on Earth, many people begin to feel nervous. People and Scientist also anticipated the world's end as this star approaches. Finally, why I gave this book a four out of five is because some stories get you on the edge of your seat due to all the knowledge and excitement stored within. Other stories, however, make you feel really lost and confused, which makes people start to lose interest for reading such a great novel. This is a book that people don't want to lose interest in The Big Book Science Fiction is one book that I will always be able to call one of the greatest books out there.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark Palermo

    Yeah, I'll read the longest short fiction anthologies ever compiled from front to back. Some of them might just take me three years. Calling this an alternative history of science fiction feels shortsighted when it serves to be more of a corrective. There's a heavier emphasis on international and feminist writers than has been common in these sorts of collections, and that only makes sense, since science fiction should be about an expansion of genre conventions, not a narrowing. Yeah, I'll read the longest short fiction anthologies ever compiled from front to back. Some of them might just take me three years. Calling this an alternative history of science fiction feels shortsighted when it serves to be more of a corrective. There's a heavier emphasis on international and feminist writers than has been common in these sorts of collections, and that only makes sense, since science fiction should be about an expansion of genre conventions, not a narrowing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Carper

    If there had been a Sci-Fi lit course in college instead of just Brit, Am, and World, this would have been the textbook and I would have been inspired and flummoxed in similar proportions.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Norman Cook

    This massive anthology contains a broad overview of science fiction from the 20th Century, with a combination of classic stories, (mostly) by white men, and stories by a diverse set of authors representing non-English and female voices. Some of the non-English stories are a bit flat, but it's not clear if it's the stories themselves or the translations. Nevertheless, it's good to spotlight some of the overlooked sf from around the world. Some of the highlights: "The Star" by H. G. Wells (The Graph This massive anthology contains a broad overview of science fiction from the 20th Century, with a combination of classic stories, (mostly) by white men, and stories by a diverse set of authors representing non-English and female voices. Some of the non-English stories are a bit flat, but it's not clear if it's the stories themselves or the translations. Nevertheless, it's good to spotlight some of the overlooked sf from around the world. Some of the highlights: "The Star" by H. G. Wells (The Graphic, November 1897 - short story) 4 Stars A planetoid crashes into Neptune, causing it to form a new star. Its violent birth causes widespread disaster on Earth. Wells clearly did the math to understand how an object like this would behave, and his extrapolations of human behavior under the crisis conditions are well thought out. "A Martian Odyssey" by Stanley G. Weinbaum (Wonder Stories, July 1934 - novelette) 4 Stars The first crew to land on Mars encounters strange environments and stranger life forms. One of the crew crash lands his scouting plane and is rescued by an alien who superficially resembles an ostrich. Despite a language barrier, the two help each other trek across the Martian terrain to hopeful safety, while encountering benign and hostile company. "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" by Jorge Luis Borges (Sur, May 1940 - short story) 2016 Retro-Hugo Award finalist First published in English in Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings, 1962. 3 Stars It's a stretch to call this a story. It's more of an information dump of the characteristics of a mythical land called Uqbar and its legend of Tlön, a mythical world whose inhabitants believe a form of subjective idealism, denying the reality of objects and nouns. It contains dry academic discussions of topics such as metaphysics, language, epistemology, and literary criticism. "Desertion" by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding, November 1944 - short story) 2020 Retro-Hugo Award finalist 5 Stars Ostensibly part of the City series, this story takes place entirely on a space station orbiting Jupiter. A means has been invented to change humans into beings that can withstand Jupiter's harsh environment, but every volunteer fails to come back to verify the success of the experiment. Finally, out of desperation, the project's leader (and his dog) undergo the transformation, finding results that are unimaginable. One of the great last lines in science fiction history. "Surface Tension" by James Blish (Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1952 - novelette) 5 Stars A crew of humans crash onto an ocean planet with no hope of survival. They genetically engineer some microbes to carry their human DNA into the future, hoping that the lifeforms will evolve into intelligent beings. Most of the story describes this evolution, culminating in the exploration of the universe beyond the barrier created by the surface tension of the water. This is a remarkable tale of very alien lifeforms. "The Star" by Arthur C. Clarke (Infinity Science Fiction, November 1955 - short story) 1956 Hugo Award winner 4 Stars This very short piece uses its twist ending to explain an iconic religious symbol as a secular event. The implication is that many, if not all, religious beliefs can be explained by science, a comforting idea for many readers and a controversial one for others. This kind of thought provocation, not necessarily with easy answers, is what elevates good science fiction to great science fiction. "The Game of Rat and Dragon" by Cordwainer Smith (Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1955 - short story) 1956 Hugo Award finalist 3 Stars Humans and cats are linked telepathically to fight space monsters, appearing as dragons to the humans and as rats to the cats. It's a creative scenario, but not particularly interesting. The bottom line seems to be that the human-cat pairs love each other more than human-human pairs. "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov (Science Fiction Quarterly, November 1956 - short story) 5 Stars The Hugo Award for Best Short Story was not awarded in 1957, but if it had been, this story would have undoubtedly been a finalist, and probably the winner. There is no plot per se, but as in Clarke's "The Star" a secular answer is shown for one of the ultimate questions in religion, framed here as "can entropy be reversed?" Asimov considered this his favorite short story and it's hard to disagree. "The Man Who Lost the Sea" by Theodore Sturgeon (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1959 - short story) 1960 Hugo Award finalist 4 Stars A dreamlike stream of consciousness fills a doomed astronaut's last moments after he crashes on Mars. It's a tale full of word pictures that convey the man's anxiousness and leaves the reader off balance. "The Voices of Time" by J. G. Ballard (New Worlds, October 1960 - novelette) 4 Stars There's a lot to unpack here. The protagonist is a man who knows exactly when he is going to die and the somber ways he prepares for it. In the background are myriad details about this alternate world (Mercury astronauts land on the Moon and make contact with aliens, for example) such as the effects atomic fallout has on mutations in life. The whole tone of the story is clearly influenced by the anxiousness and paranoia of the Cold War. The ultimate, depressing message is that not only do individuals have finite lifespans, but the extinctions of entire species, even the universe, can be predicted, so why try to fight it? ""Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison (Galaxy Magazine, December 1965 - short story) 1966 Hugo Award winner and Nebula Award winner 5 Stars In a dystopian future, time is strictly regulated by the Ticktockman. Being late is a crime. So when Everett C. Marm, aka Harlequin, engages in a whimsical rebellion against deadlines, the ensuing disruptions must be dealt with harshly. This satirical story, that stretches conventional writing style, is one of the most reprinted stories of all time. "Day Million" by Frederik Pohl (Rogue, Feb/March 1966 - short story) 4 Stars This story is heavily influenced by the New Wave movement, being more of a stylistic thought experiment than an actual story. The lesson is that time will evolve our physicalities and mentalities in ways we cannot imagine. This story has what is certainly one of the earliest depictions of transexual humans, presented in a matter-of-fact, no-big-deal manner. "Aye, and Gomorrah …" by Samuel R. Delany (Dangerous Visions, October 1967 - short story) 1968 Nebula Award winner and Hugo Award finalist 5 Stars This is arguably the best story in Dangerous Visions, about unconventional sex practices performed by neutered astronauts (to avoid the effects of space irradiated genes) with their groupies known as "frelks". The story deals with nonbinary sex at time when society didn't acknowledge non-heterosexual sex as acceptable. "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow" by Ursula K. Le Guin (New Dimensions 1: Fourteen Original Science Fiction Stories, August 1971 - novelette) 1972 Hugo Award finalist 4 Stars On an exploratory mission to a new planet, ten misfits have to cope not only with their own peccadilloes, but also with the mysterious new lifeforms they encounter, ostensibly non-sentient plants but ultimately something more. One of the crew, a "cured" autistic who retains hyper-sensitive empathy, bears the brunt of his crewmates' displeasure and the fear induced by the alien life. "Good News from the Vatican" by Robert Silverberg (Universe 1, 1971 - short story) 1972 Nebula Award winner 3 Stars This is intended to be a humorous satire of religion. A new pope is being chosen and one of the leading candidates is a robot. The story examines this from various viewpoints, both religious and non-religious. It has its thought provoking moments, but is ultimately kind of shallow. "When It Changed" by Joanna Russ (Again, Dangerous Visions, March 1972 - short story) 1973 Nebula Award winner and Hugo Award finalist 3 Stars I'm sure this was a radical piece of sf when it was first published, but this tale of an all-female planet being invaded by men seems dated by today's standards, which in a way is a good thing. Today's writers are free to write about diverse cultures of all kinds, thanks in large part to writers like Russ who first broke the unwritten rules concerning gender and sexuality. "And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side" by James Tiptree, Jr. (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1972 - short story) 1973 Hugo Award finalist and Nebula Award finalist 2 Stars I'm sure this was quite radical when it was written fifty years ago, but I just couldn't find much to like about it today. I don't need to read about how perverse human (especially male) sexuality is. About the only thing I appreciated was that aliens are depicted with a wide variety of sexual behaviors, unlike Star Trek, for example, where humans and aliens seemingly have no barriers to sex. "Sandkings" by George R. R. Martin (Omni, August 1979 - novelette) 1980 Hugo Award winner and Nebula Award winner 5 Stars Once upon a time, George R. R. Martin wrote science fiction, and in my opinion it's better than the fantasy he is better known for. "Sandkings" is arguably his best piece of fiction, combining sf with horror in a powerful and potent way. The ending is unforgettable. "Swarm" by Bruce Sterling (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1982 - novelette) 1983 Hugo Award finalist and Nebula Award finalist 4 Stars This is a first-contact story with aliens very different from Earth life. When a human plans to use their genetic material to enhance humans, he finds that it won't be so easy, for the aliens are an ancient race that has dealt with this kind of behavior before. "Blood Music" by Greg Bear (Analog, June 1983 - novelette) 1984 Hugo Award winner and Nebula Award winner (The 1985 novel-length version was a Nebula Award finalist and a Hugo Award finalist.) 5 Stars This is a chilling story of biotechnology gone horribly wrong. If people distrust genetically modified food now, wait till they become terrified by trillions of microscopic cells in our bodies becoming sentient (at least until the cells take over the world). "Bloodchild" by Octavia E. Butler (Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, June 1984 - novelette) 1985 Hugo Award winner and Nebula Award winner 5 Stars This is simultaneously a horror story and a love story, and not for the squeamish. Aliens use humans to incubate their eggs. Do the aliens actually care for the humans or just use them to breed? This is the central question, one that is answered in at least this one instance. "Snow" by John Crowley (Omni, November 1985 - short story) 1986 Hugo Award finalist and Nebula Award finalist 3 Stars Small drones follow and record thousands of hours of video of people so that after they are dead their loved ones can relive moments. The only trouble is, the way the images are recorded doesn't allow them to be indexed, so viewers have to be content with random scenes. Better off just relying on your own memories. "Rachel in Love" by Pat Murphy (Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, April 1987 - novelette) 1988 Nebula Award winner and Hugo Award finalist 3 Stars Rachel is a chimpanzee whose brain has been overwritten with the memories of a teenage girl. When her scientist father who performed the operation dies, Rachel is left to fend for herself and things don't go particularly well. Although well written, this seems more like the first two or three chapters of a novel—the story just stops as Rachel reaches a turning point. "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang (Starlight 2, November 1998 - novella) 1999 Hugo Award finalist and 2000 Nebula Award winner 5 Stars The basis for the film Arrival (2016). A story that upends linear thinking through an examination of alien linguistics. The aliens are truly alien, but not so much that we can't understand them. A nice examination of free will versus predestination. Can we remember the future?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Sutch

    An anthology does a number of things on at least two levels. On the larger, social level a good comprehensive anthology (as this one is) sets out to redefine a canon: it confirms or reworks boundaries of what "is" or "is not" "good" science fiction (or American fiction or mystery fiction or African-American fiction and so on). Not only does this include stories and longer works but also which authors should be considered to be significant (both historically and on the contemporary scene). It sho An anthology does a number of things on at least two levels. On the larger, social level a good comprehensive anthology (as this one is) sets out to redefine a canon: it confirms or reworks boundaries of what "is" or "is not" "good" science fiction (or American fiction or mystery fiction or African-American fiction and so on). Not only does this include stories and longer works but also which authors should be considered to be significant (both historically and on the contemporary scene). It should adequately deal with the numerous subgenres of the kind of work being anthologized (especially important in a literary genre like science fiction which has several subgenres, all of which have their own fan base and are more-or-less important to the larger genre as a whole). "Lost" or "forgotten" works should be presented to new readers and placed in their proper historic and literary context within the genre. An evenness of "spread" should be achieved along any axes you might care to name: gender, ethnicity, timespan, and (back to this again) subgenres. An anthology should do all of this as well as provide adequate scholarly material (introductions, thematic essays, author bios, microanalyses that place works and authors in their place in the canon and justify their inclusion). On the personal level, an anthology should please, entertain, and interest most readers. Unlike the VanderMeers' previous anthology _The Weird_, which was excellent and necessary (see my review), this anthology of science fiction is not quite up to par. Admittedly, science fiction is a large (and arguably old) genre and, as in any anthology project that aims to be "complete," it is difficult to please everyone. With only a few exceptions I want to address this work without talking about the "choice" of a certain story or lack thereof (as I briefly discuss in my review of _The Weird_ such choices often come down to personal taste, which simply isn't much of a factor when _seriously_ reviewing a work). I do, however, want to address some problems I detect with this particular anthology. I _will_ include a short discussion of works that have been ommitted that (I believe) should have been included. To start, though, these are the things that this anthology did right. First, the introduction and other scholarly material is very good. The introduction, in particular, provides a cogent summary of the genre's development over the past century or so, talks about several "movements" and subgenres in science fiction writing and fandom, and presents the VanderMeers' rationale for organizing the work as a whole and including the writers and works that they chose (more on this in a moment). They are at great pains to place science fiction in an international framework, something that should be applauded and supported (most anthologies up to very recently have focused almost solely on work produced in the United States and the United Kingdom). So far so good. Second, the VanderMeers find some very good "lost" or "forgotten" works (and in some cases, draw on the work of more canonical writers like W. E. B. Du Bois and reclassify them as science fiction). There are numerous stories included here from the 1920s and 1950s in particular that are worthy of being more widely read and appreciated. The number of works from the former Soviet Union is considerable (though I found their quality and enjoyability uneven), and the other works from non-Western writers were also interesting and worthy of being read and appreciated. Third, as the Vandermeers mention in their introduction, pressures of space and (in at least one important case) lack of cooperation from an author's estate did place a limit on what they wished to include. The mention, for example, Frank Herbert's _Dune_ (justly considered a classic of ecological fiction, as well as of good, complex social science fiction in general), which is obviously too long to include (although they _do_ excerpt other novels in this collection). They also specifically mention that they wished to include Robert A. Heinlein's "All You Zombies" but were unable to obtain (or perhaps afford) the rights. (On a side-note: the Heinlein estate might think that their author is important enough and well-known enough in his own right that they could afford _not_ to allow one of his stories to be included in an anthology like this; however, as a teacher of science fiction in a high school, I can inform them that _none_ of my students is familiar with Heinlein's work, and, when I try to encourage them to read something by him, they profess lack or interest or complete boredom when faced with the actual article. This, frankly, does not bode well for Heinlein's longevity as an American writer.) I also think that the inclusion of some authors chosen was vitally important, both to generate continuing interest in their work and to introduce them to new audiences. I was pleased to find an early J. G. Ballard story ("The Voices of Time") that is an excellent exemplar of his importance to the genre. Although I personally thought David Bunch's "Moderan" stories were well-known, I discovered that they have suffered neglect since their author's demise; the inclusion of three of them in this anthology is heartening. Similarly I was pleased with the inclusion of stories by John Crowley (whom I consider to be one of the finest writers of his generation, and unjustly ignored in his own country, the US) and Tanith Lee were excellent choices indeed. So here is where some of the problems with this anthology begin: of all the subgenres of science fiction, arguably one of the most popular (Harry Turtledove has created his own cottage industry out of it for crying out loud) is the alternate history story. This anthology lacks any example of this subgenre. I find this somewhat baffling (while noting that inclusion of Heinlein's "All You Zombies" would have rectified this by providing at least one exemplar text). Admittedly, alternate histories are difficult to do in short form...but there are numerous examples of short stories that fall in this subgenre: why on Earth are there _none_ in this volume? Similarly troubling is a certain selectivity of inclusion of members of some demographic groups over other members of those groups. To speak plainly: of course it is important to include Ursula K. LeGuin, Joanna Russ, and Octavia Butler as examples of important American women science fiction writers. But what about Leigh Brackett? What about Marion Zimmer Bradley (even if you object to her because she was only _sometimes_ considered "feminist" by the general readers she was still one of the first women authors in the genre to seriously deal with issues like gay/transgender relationships in works such as _The Heritage of Hastur_ and _The World Wreckers_)? Along similar lines, one of the absences I found somewhat puzzling was John Varley. Although current literary taste (and Varley's own willingness to play up this in his writing) might relegate him to "merely" a continuation of the Heinleinian (and ultimately Twainian) voice in American science fiction, his story "The Persistence of Vision" is still one of the most groundbreaking and important works of late 1970s science fiction (and much more important and valuable than George R. R. Martin's "Sand Kings" from roughly the same year). In turn, Varley demonstrably has affected later writers in the genre such as Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross (Doctorow is included; Stross is not) whose works are innovative and important in their own right. These gaps and lacunae puzzle and disappoint me greatly. Along with these author issues are time issues as well. The decades most represented in this anthology are the 1950s and 1980s. Both of these choices are reasonable: the 1950s, even more than the 1930 and 1940s, is the true "Golden Age" of science fiction in the sense that this is the period when the genre made great gains in readership and canonical acceptance by critics; the 1980s simply had a plethora of interesting, groundbreaking, and experimental writing in its own right. However, other decades of equal importance (for their own reasons) are slighted: in particular the 1960s coverage is very brief and does not include some of the more important "New Wave" writers, let alone others, and the 1970s is barely included at all (where is Barry N. Malzberg? Sorry to harp again on a single author, but Malzberg encapsulates both of those decades as well as later ones, but there not a single story by him in tis volume). Along with this, although the anthology is supposedly laid out in chronological order by work, there are severe lapses from this principle for no apparent reason I could detect (indeed, one 1950s story is included around where 1965 ought to be: the introduction to that story explains that the story is an important work with ecological themes similar to Herbert's _Dune_ of that year...but fails to explain why it does not take its proper place in the volume chronology during the previous decade). Indeed, if you're hoping to "place" stories in a precise historical context, this is often impossible because (particularly during the 1980s pages) the stories follow no discernible chronology at all. Despite these serious issues, I did find some excellent work (particularly in the 1990s and 2000s) that I had not been introduced to, including the excerpt from Stepan Chapman's _The Troika_ and the final story in the volume, Johanna Sinisalo's "Baby Doll" (which is unfortunately even more socially relevant today than when it was first published 28 years ago). There is much to admire and like and learn in this volume...but I hope there is a second edition or companion volume on the way that will make this selection a _better_ and more inclusive one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jon Den Houter

    I will get right to the good stuff! Reviews for the stories that I read (I didn't read all of them) follow: 3/5 "The Star" by H. G. Wells - Describes a "star" (an asteroid that smashes into Neptune) that is on a collision course with Earth. The main character is the event, which made me not like this story very much. My favorite part was when I got to know the math professor who was working on determining the exact path this "star" was on. So while Wells' description of the event is captivating, I will get right to the good stuff! Reviews for the stories that I read (I didn't read all of them) follow: 3/5 "The Star" by H. G. Wells - Describes a "star" (an asteroid that smashes into Neptune) that is on a collision course with Earth. The main character is the event, which made me not like this story very much. My favorite part was when I got to know the math professor who was working on determining the exact path this "star" was on. So while Wells' description of the event is captivating, the lack of a compelling main character made it ultimately disappointing for me. 3/5 "Mechanopolis" by Miguel de Unamuno - Imagines what it would be like for a human to visit a city now entirely run by AI, with no more humans there. I was glad to be introduced to a new SF writer, but this very short story was like a tumbleweed in the wind--there wasn't much to it. 4/5 "The Comet" by W.E.B. Du Bois - Earth passes through the tail of a comet, the gasses from which have a catastrophic effect on the planet. In the aftermath, a black male and a white female discover each other as sole survivors. Du Bois definitely wrote the story to explore the racism of our country, and he does a fantastic job of doing just that, but apart from that, it's just a great science fiction story. (For too much telling vs. showing I docked it one star). 2/5 "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" by Jorge Luis Borges - I like Borges' work, but not this story. The premise was outstanding--a person comes upon a set of encyclopedias in which an extra entry has been inserted (on "Uqbar," a mysterious place that can nowhere be found on earth). The protagonist finds other strange writings about the inhabitants of Uqbar, the Tlons--but the story disintegrates from there, into philosophical musings on Spinoza, etc., and how the structure of our language shapes our reality. 5/5 "September 2005: The Martian" by Ray Bradbury - the VanderMeers point out that Bradbury is more than just an SF "spec" writer (some would say not a true SF writer at all) but rather is very literary in his work, and this story proves it. Although it takes place on (a very Earth-like) Mars and involves an alien, it is at bottom a beautiful, tragic story about human need. 5/5 "Beyond Lies the Wub" by Philip K. Dick - this is a very lighthearted story (yet with a thought-provoking theme about how we treat each other) about an intelligent cow-like alien that is utterly judicious and kind, but unfortunately for him is also very tasty. 3/5 "The Liberation of Earth" by William Tenn - a satire about how "liberating" an oppressed people can damage them more than they were damaged by their original oppressors! The message is great, but the story itself is just meh. 5/5 "The Star" by Arthur C. Clarke - my second favorite story of all of these; at only five pages, it doesn't get bogged down into philosophical rambling but tells an emotionally powerful story of one Jesuit priest and astrophysicist who once believed that "the heavens declare the glory of God," but now that he has explored those heavens, in particular, one solar system whose star went supernova, has lost his faith. A profound story about how scientific progress (think Galileo, Darwin, etc.) so often leads to religious doubt. 4/5 "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov - interesting, but I don't consider it among Asimov's best work (even though Asimov himself apparently thought it was his best short story). Just to name one story, I thought "Liar" was far better. "The Last Question" is just a series of snapshots, each snapshot going farther and farther into the future, in which AI never makes progress on solving the last question, which is... DON'T READ IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED... how to overcome entropy. 3.5/5 "The Voices of Time" by J. G. Ballard - explores the idea of the inexorable passing of time, using the vehicle of a main character who has a disease whereby he sleeps more and more each day until finally, he won't wake up. He spends his ever-more-limited waking hours tending to the lab of a colleague who committed suicide; the lab is full of animals whose two "extra" genes" have been activated through radiation, causing all sorts of strange mutations, the only purpose of which seems to be to enable these animals to survive in a post-apocalyptic future. The story is populated with characters that are hard to understand where they come from and how they all fit together. The setting, too, is muddy, and while the mystery of the sleeping disease--and the giant mandala "clock" that the main character is unconsciously building--is fascinating, the story ultimately left me confused and unsatisfied. 4.5/5 "2 B R 0 2 B" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - in a brief, well-told story, Vonnegut is able to paint a clear setting of a future in which death has been overcome, scientists in league with the government has set a population limit, and the only way families can have children is if people volunteer to die to make room for them. The story follows a father whose wife has just given birth to triplets, wondering where on earth he and his wife will find three volunteers to die to make room for them. Perhaps the father will have to take things into his own hands? The story is too brief for the father's character to have much depth; nonetheless, his story arc is satisfying, and by the end of the story, the reader has lots to ponder. 5/5 - " 'Repent, Harlequinn!' Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison - This is the first story of Ellison's I've ever read, and it won't be the last. His main character, the Harlequinn, is silly and fun, yet driven by a deep conviction that the efficient world that science and government have created is missing its soul. He attempts to awaken people's souls through acts of impish, ultimately harmless sabotage, though in the end he has to face the Ticktockman, who believes society, being so efficient, has nothing wrong with it. The Ticktockman is in charge of doling out penalties for people who are late (the penalty is for every minute someone is late for work, to finish a task, etc., they lose a minute of their life). The story is fun, extremely well-written (apparently Ellison wrote it in 6 hours!), and makes for lots of food for thought. 4.5/5 "Let Us Save the Universe" by Stanislaw Lem - This story is a fun story about astronaut Tichy's journey through the universe, who has seen animals adapt to the tourist-trashed universe in a multitude of bizarre ways. It made me laugh out loud at several points and satirizes how tourism can destroy ecologies. 4/5 "Vaster than Empires and More Slow" by Ursula K. Le Guin - Le Guin crafts her characters in this story brilliantly, and I loved how she built the characters to pass the time as their spacecraft flew into a far-flung galaxy to investigate a planet with life on it. (What I am trying to say is she spends a paragraph explaining how the spacecraft is nearing this far-flung galaxy, spends the next few paragraphs having the crew interact with each other, and then goes back to the action--the spacecraft entering this galaxy). Her description of the planet's life was evocative, too. The ending doesn't live up to the build-up, in my opinion; however, her depiction of how the character of "sensor" changed over the course of the story is believable and powerful. 1/5 - "And I Awoke And Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side" by James Tiptree Jr. (James is a pseudonym for "Alice"; he is a she) - a story about how men are awed by the aliens that have come to earth and want to have sex with them; the main character is a man who was driven by lust to leave his safe midwestern home to visit a strange bar in Washington DC where aliens frequent; his drive to have sex with aliens leads him to take a banal job in space just so he can be close to aliens, even though the aliens see humans as mere drones/workers. The story is apparently about how mankind is a different beast than all the aliens; what makes man different is that he is "exogenous," driven to have sex with everything he can find and spread his seed into all the universe. Okay... 5/5 "Sandkings" by George R. R. Martin - I see why Martin has such a reputation. He wove this story expertly, brilliantly establishing the main character's sadistic desire to have parties in which his exotic animals from all over space are put to various fights for the entertainment of him and his guests. The "sandkings", though, are not going to take this abuse and become his first pets to fight back. This is a brilliant character study, and Martin tells a ripping good tale. 5/5 "Swarm" by Bruce Sterling - what I find I like best are stories with believable characters. The two main characters in this story, sent to a hollowed-out asteroid to investigate a new breed of alien, are very believable. Their interaction and clash of values is interesting, and the way these two interact with this new alien race (which actually is 100,000s of years old), called the "Swarm" is compelling. These two humans are tasked with getting DNA info from the Swarm in order to make this sentient-less race into organic machines, but the Swarm gets the last laugh. 5/5 "Blood Music" by Greg Bear - I didn't like this story that much at first until I had time to think about it. It filled my thoughts for an entire day: how the main character's insecurity and recklessness leads him to his decisions is fascinating; he injects his own blood with nanotechnology that hasn't been tested. The nanotechnology--essentially a microcomputer mixed with bacteria--ultimately becomes smarter than humans, and the main character falls victim to it. This story is a cautionary tale of pushing the envelope of technology too far, too recklessly-kind of like Frankenstein--and the way Bear spins it is brilliant. 4/5 "New Rose Hotel" by William Gibson - I liked the three main characters Gibson created for this story--a mastermind criminal, an accomplice, and a femme fatale. The setting, too, was brilliant and stark: a world run by powerful corporations that will do anything to get an edge over their competition. This story of betrayal I have read lots of times before, so that part wasn't interesting to me and why I only give "New Rose Hotel" 4 stars. 4/5 "Remnants of the Virago Crypto-System" by Geoffrey Maloney - This is a story about an alien race that has left their technology behind on earth. It's short enough that it doesn't overstay its welcome. The main character is embittered by his wife/girlfriend when she insists on going into the country to meet with a female alien, whom he suspects is a lover. He tries to use the alien technology to find out. The idea of this abandoned technology and the response of human beings is the part I really appreciate about this story. 5/5 "The Poetry Cloud" by Cixin Liu - this story is goofy on the one hand--one of the main character is a 10-foot talking dinosaur named Big-tooth--and on the other hand profound. The goofy characters and goofy science--hollowing out the Earth and bringing the oceans and continents inside it--didn't bother me, though, because Liu tells the story so well. It's about a superior alien race, so advanced they appear to humans as "gods," who are upset that with all their technology, they haven't been able to match the evocative power and beauty of classic Chinese poetry. The godly race is determined, however, and figures out a way to match the poetry of Chinese Li Bai through a 2000-line-code piece of software. But does the godly race really succeed? The story makes you think about the limits of technology and what really is important in life. 6/5 "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang - I know I am violating my rating system, but this story is THE BEST story of all that I read, and I don't want to change all my previous ratings to reflect that. Chiang goes back and forth throughout the story with two storylines: the first thread is Louise's remembering incidents with her daughter as she grows up; strangely, Louise talks in the future tense about her: you will do this, you will say that. The other thread is Louise, a linguist professor, being summoned by the government to interact with the Heptapods (7-limbed, barrel-shaped aliens) that have come to Earth for no clear purpose. She is partnered with a physicist who says "highly neat," which really irritates her; he is there to learn about the science of the aliens. Amazingly, Louise (and other linguists who are working in other places the aliens have made contact) together learn the spoken and written language of the Heptapods; she even begins to think in Heptapod (the written language). Thinking in this language completely changes her and makes her reflect about whether existence is causal--one thing causing another--or performative/teleological--the ending known from the beginning, and the way there is already mapped out, we just have to "perform" it in the way that actors perform a play. Unlike Borges' "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," which was laden with boring philosophical discourses that had precious little to do with the story, Chiang makes the philosophy part of the story! In the end, the two storylines come together like fire and bismuth combining to make crystals. I can't wait to read more of Ted Chaing; in the words of another review I read, Chaing is truly a "wonder."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Akemi G.

    Great read. The introduction is already very considerate, and the choice of works is global. (Some are translated into English for the first time.) I'm still working on this tome, but here is my quick notes. (it's hard to discuss short fiction without spoilers, so I'll hide the whole thing.) (view spoiler)[ The Star (H. G. Wells) Read this in The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction before. I love the last paragraph, which offers an alternative perspective of the incident. Sultana’s Dream (Rokhey Great read. The introduction is already very considerate, and the choice of works is global. (Some are translated into English for the first time.) I'm still working on this tome, but here is my quick notes. (it's hard to discuss short fiction without spoilers, so I'll hide the whole thing.) (view spoiler)[ The Star (H. G. Wells) Read this in The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction before. I love the last paragraph, which offers an alternative perspective of the incident. Sultana’s Dream (Rokheya Shekhawat Hossain) Rokheya--a female writer from British India, present-day Bangladesh--already wrote a gender-swap story. The Triumph of Mechanics (Karl Hans Strobl) Austrian author, who later became a Nazi. This work is from 1907. It's literally a weird tale; robot rabbits terrorizing people by the power of their number. Sadistic humor. The New Overworld (Paul Scheerbart) German author. Two very different species on Venus find a way to coexist--segregation. It's not about racial discrimination, but still I don't quite like it. Elements of Pataphysics (Alfred Jarry) French author. Mechanopolis (Miguel de Unamuno) from Spain. Early example of machine vs human conflict, or the machine are so scary story. The Doom of Principal City (Yefim Zozulya) This 1918 work by the Soviet-era Russian author reminds me of what is said about We, written by Yevgeny Zamyatin in 1920-21. I wrote "what is said about" because I haven't read it yet, but I understand Orwell took ideas for 1984 from it. Grim satire. The Comet (W. E. B. Du Bois) Racism at the end of the world--oh, wait, not the end. Too allegorical for my taste. The Fate of the Poseidonia (Clare Winger Harris) Read this in Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century Another early feminist SF, quite good. The Star Stealers (Edmond Hamilton) The Conquest of Gola (Leslie F. Stone) Read this in Wesleyan. Many early SF stories were about space colonization, and this reverses the perspective. Perhaps not coincidental that it was written by a woman. A Martian Odyssey (Stanley G. Weinbaum) The Last Poet and the Robots (A. Merritt) The Microscopic Giants (Paul Ernst) Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (Jorge Luis Borges) Desertion (Clifford D. Simak) Read in Wesleyan. I'd love to read more of this author. September 2005: The Martian (Ray Bradbury) from The Martian Chronicles Baby HP (Juan José Arreola) Surface Tension (James Blish) Beyond Lies the Wub (Philip K. Dick) The Snowball Effect (Katherine MacLean) Prott (Margaret St. Clair) The Liberation of Earth (William Tenn) Read in Wesleyan. I tend to think of this as the counterpoint of The Conquest of Gola. Let Me Live in a House (Chad Oliver The Star (Arthur C. Clarke) Grandpa (James H. Schmitz) The Game of Rat and Dragon (Cordwainer Smith) The Last Question (Isaac Asimov) ((shrug)) Stranger Station (Damon Knight) Sector General (James White) The Visitors (Arkady and Boris Strugatsky Pelt (Carol Emshwiller The Monster (Gérard Klein ) The Man Who Lost the Sea (Theodore Sturgeon) The Waves (Silvina Ocampo) Plenitude (Will Worthington) The Voices of Time (J. G. Ballard) The Astronaut (Valentina Zhuravlyova) The Squid Chooses Its Own Ink (Adolfo Bioy Casares) 2 B R 0 2 B (Kurt Vonnegut Jr.) A Modest Genius (Vadim Shefner) Day of Wrath (Sever Gansovsky) The Hands (John Baxter) Darkness (André Carneiro) “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman (Harlan Ellison) Read in Wesleyan. OK. Nine Hundred Grandmothers (R. A. Lafferty) Well. This is almost like rakugo, in that it so depends on the way the story is told. Day Million (Frederik Pohl) Read in Wesleyan. Like Lafferty, it's very much about the way the story is told. Well, I like it. Student Body (F. L. Wallace) Aye, and Gomorrah (Samuel R. Delany) The Hall of Machines (Langdon Jones) Soft Clocks (Yoshio Aramaki) Three from Moderan (David R. Bunch) Let Us Save the Universe (Stanisław Lem) Vaster Than Empires and More Slow (Ursula K. Le Guin) Good News from the Vatican (Robert Silverberg) When It Changed (Joanna Russ) Read in Wesleyan. Not my favorite feminist SF, but I guess this represents the common sentiment. And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side (James Tiptree Jr.) Where Two Paths Cross (Dmitri Bilenkin) Standing Woman (Yasutaka Tsutsui) The IWM 1000 (Alicia Yánez Cossío) from Ecuador. The machine is just like a tablet+the internet. Forecast of the future technology. The House of Compassionate Sharers (Michael Bishop) Sporting with the Chid (Barrington J. Bayley Sandkings (George R. R. Martin) Wives (Lisa Tuttle) Read in Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century, and gosh, what a story! The Snake Who Had Read Chomsky (Josephine Saxton Reiko’s Universe Box (Kajio Shinji) Swarm (Bruce Sterling) I love Sterling's We See Things Differently. This is also a great read. Mondocane (Jacques Barbéri) Blood Music (Greg Bear) Bloodchild (Octavia E. Butler) So many themes in this relatively short fiction: coexistence, coming of age, (psedo)sex and pregnancy ... I'm rather overwhelmed Variation on a Man (Pat Cadigan) Passing as a Flower in the City of the Dead (S. N. Dyer New Rose Hotel (William Gibson Pots (C. J. Cherryh) Snow (John Crowley) The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things (Karen Joy Fowler The Unmistakable Smell of Wood Violets (Angélica Gorodischer The Owl of Bear Island (Jon Bing Readers of the Lost Art (Élisabeth Vonarburg A Gift from the Culture (Iain M. Banks Paranamanco (Jean-Claude Dunyach Crying in the Rain (Tanith Lee The Frozen Cardinal (Michael Moorcock Rachel in Love (Pat Murphy) my review Sharing Air (Manjula Padmanabhan Schwarzschild Radius (Connie Willis All the Hues of Hell (Gene Wolfe Vacuum States (Geoffrey A. Landis Two Small Birds (Han Song) from China. A strange story of ... time travel? Chinese SF is a genre in itself. Burning Sky (Rachel Pollack Before I Wake (Kim Stanley Robinson Death Is Static Death Is Movement (Misha Nogha The Brains of Rats (Michael Blumlein Gorgonoids (Leena Krohn Vacancy for the Post of Jesus Christ (Kojo Laing The Universe of Things (Gwyneth Jones The Remoras (Robert Reed The Ghost Standard (William Tenn Remnants of the Virago Crypto-System (Geoffrey Maloney How Alex Became a Machine (Stepan Chapman The Poetry Cloud (Cixin Liu) Did I say Chinese SF is a genre in itself? Gorgeous images, organic integration of science and fantasy. Lacking a conflicts-driven plot, but readers would hardly notice it. Story of Your Life (Ted Chiang) my review If you only watched the movie, you are missing a lot. Craphound (Cory Doctorow The Slynx (Tatyana Tolstaya Baby Doll (Johanna Sinisalo (hide spoiler)]

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katrin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I think the collection is great, so I give it five stars. I like to read stories, which are not my cup of tea, just because I like variety and to get to know new kinds of stories. And can it get any more varied? But I also think I have to rate each story individually. I haven't read a lot of science fiction, so I might not understand subtexts etc., so please let me know if you don't agree and why. I'm going to update as I progress. There will be spoilers but I'm trying not to. I'll give the page nu I think the collection is great, so I give it five stars. I like to read stories, which are not my cup of tea, just because I like variety and to get to know new kinds of stories. And can it get any more varied? But I also think I have to rate each story individually. I haven't read a lot of science fiction, so I might not understand subtexts etc., so please let me know if you don't agree and why. I'm going to update as I progress. There will be spoilers but I'm trying not to. I'll give the page number where the intro starts, and the title. 1 THE STAR rather realistic scenario and not the catastrophic end I was expecting. I like the ambivalence of the outcome 4/5 9 SULTANA'S DREAM It was probably a very risky subject to write about. I don't like the easy way of embedding everything in a dream, but maybe the author could get away with the criticism that way. It is also a bit too black-and-white, but at the time it had to be said. 3/5 17 THE TRIUMPH OF MECHANICS The story managed to get me worried in the end, and I would have called it a bit too far fetched, if it wasn't for the end. 4/5 25 THE NEW OVERWORLD I think I might not get the subtext. Is it supposed to be just a nice story with a nice ending? 2/5 30 ELEMENTS OF PATAPHYSICS Pataphysics is not for me. I'd call it Dada-Technobabble. Don't think it's supposed to make sense, just annoy people. I fail to see the art or beauty in that weird text. 1/5 37 MECHANOPOLIS Early example of technology is going to make us all lonely and unhappy. Probably true, but a bit to random for me. 2/5 41 THE DOOM OF PRINCIPAL CITY So many aspects of that story are still relevant and will always be. It can be interpretet in so many ways. 5/5 54 THE COMET Very relevant again today. New spin to the old "everybody's dead" theme. You do not know if you're glad or sad about the ending. 5/5 63 THE FATE OF THE POSEIDONIA Glad that I could look up when this story was written. Strange to think that at the time most of our electronic playthings were unheard of. Modern and quaint at the same time with little bit of criticism of capitalism. 4/5 to be continued...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I can't give this book a rating as I didn't read every single story in it (it was over 1000 pages and frankly some of them just didn't interest me), or I had already read some of them before previously. However, in my mind this is a 5 star collection as a whole. The introduction gave some great history into the sci-fi genre, where it came from, where it is now, and where it's going, and a good short synopsis over the many eras of sci-fi. There was a very conscious effort to fill the collection I can't give this book a rating as I didn't read every single story in it (it was over 1000 pages and frankly some of them just didn't interest me), or I had already read some of them before previously. However, in my mind this is a 5 star collection as a whole. The introduction gave some great history into the sci-fi genre, where it came from, where it is now, and where it's going, and a good short synopsis over the many eras of sci-fi. There was a very conscious effort to fill the collection with many diverse authors, from many different time periods. It felt incredibly comprehensive, and you could tell that the editors have sci-fi in their hearts, and really care about this genre of fiction. Highly highly recommend this to anyone, long or short term fans of science fiction can find something to get out of this collection. I enjoyed almost every story I read in here, but in no particular order my favorites that I read -keeping in mind I did skip some along the way- were : 2 B R 0 2 B - Kurt Vonnegut Aye and Gemmorah - Samuel Delaney Standing Woman - Yasutaka Tsutsui September 2005 : The Martian - Ray Bradbury Beyond Lies The Wub - Phillip K. Dick Day Million - Frederick Pohl And I Awoke and Found Me Here On the Cold Hill's Side - James Tiptree Jr. Variation On a Man - Pat Cadigan Remnants of the Virago Crypto-System - Geoffrey Maloney Baby Doll - Johanna Sinisalo Story of Your Life - Ted Chiang

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan Marcus

    Science fiction stories and novels have engaged me since my teens. My hero authors then were Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Ursula K. LeGuin. Happily devouring all their works, I was oblivious to the wealth of writings in the genre from dozens of other creative minds. This anthology, edited and annotated by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, contains sample works, mostly short stories, by those writers I ignored in my youth. Varied in agendae, whether politcal or aesthetic, in tone, imagery, and subj Science fiction stories and novels have engaged me since my teens. My hero authors then were Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Ursula K. LeGuin. Happily devouring all their works, I was oblivious to the wealth of writings in the genre from dozens of other creative minds. This anthology, edited and annotated by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, contains sample works, mostly short stories, by those writers I ignored in my youth. Varied in agendae, whether politcal or aesthetic, in tone, imagery, and subject, many stories astounded me (appropriate, right?). For example, the 1887 story by H.G. Wells, 'The Star'--an 'impact genre' tale--compares favorably with Kajio Shinji's 'Reiko's Universe Box,' appearing nearly 100 years later. The Vendermeers' lengthy and essential introduction supplies a detailed overview of the genre's history and trends influencing the writings. I especially enjoyed the premonitory piece by Yefim Zozulya, 'The Doom of Principal City,' truly a story for our own times and James Blish's 'Surface Tension,' concerning terraforming and human modification with an uncanny twist. In all, this is an exciting and valuable work.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This anthology turned out to be an educational experience for me as a reader. I would have called myself a sci-fi buff, but it turns out that I am buffed only for sci-fi in the form of short stories that tend toward fantasy or humor or genuine human feeling that just happens to be felt on another planet. Turns out I wasn't all that enthusiastic for the lengthier novelettes or the SCIENCE science fiction. So I just skipped those, and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous "The Story of Your Life" (Ted Ch This anthology turned out to be an educational experience for me as a reader. I would have called myself a sci-fi buff, but it turns out that I am buffed only for sci-fi in the form of short stories that tend toward fantasy or humor or genuine human feeling that just happens to be felt on another planet. Turns out I wasn't all that enthusiastic for the lengthier novelettes or the SCIENCE science fiction. So I just skipped those, and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous "The Story of Your Life" (Ted Chiang). "Rachel in Love" (Pat Murphy) very touching. And it's always a pleasure to meet my old friend from grammar school, Ray Bradbury (even if the included story isn't my favorite of his.) "Sandkings" (George R R Martin) snarky fun. "Bloodchild" (Octavia Butler) postapocalyptic and darker than I usually care about, but wonderful in a way that creeps up on you. Can't deny that the book has plenty of everything for every kind of sci-fi buff, and that is its strong suit.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    There's a saying that goes "Quantity has a quality all its own," and I think they decided to go with that in spades. More than 100 short stories from the history of SF. It's a FAT book. I just couldn't get myself to read them all. After reading the first dozen or so, it just wasn't paying off. The old stuff is a walk down memory lane of SciFi, and if you like the OLD stuff, great. It's here. But lots of it just felt moldy and old fashioned. Dated. Almost silly sometimes. So I skipped ahead to th There's a saying that goes "Quantity has a quality all its own," and I think they decided to go with that in spades. More than 100 short stories from the history of SF. It's a FAT book. I just couldn't get myself to read them all. After reading the first dozen or so, it just wasn't paying off. The old stuff is a walk down memory lane of SciFi, and if you like the OLD stuff, great. It's here. But lots of it just felt moldy and old fashioned. Dated. Almost silly sometimes. So I skipped ahead to the stories by authors whose name's I recognized. That was about a dozen more. Again, nothing compelling. So I quit. Not a huge fan of the short story, I guess. Hopefully you'll enjoy them more. But be warned.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    I got this book to read Ted Chiang's story that the film Arrival is based on. That story (The Story of Your Life) was a great mix of hard sci-fi and human emotion, but I ended up leaving this book on my bedside table for the next month and reading almost half the stories in an 1,100 page anthology. There were great re-reads of stories by Philip K. Dick, JG Ballard and Greg Bear and awesome new finds by Bruce Sterling, Ursula LeGuin and Liu Cixin. Each story is introduced with a one page summary I got this book to read Ted Chiang's story that the film Arrival is based on. That story (The Story of Your Life) was a great mix of hard sci-fi and human emotion, but I ended up leaving this book on my bedside table for the next month and reading almost half the stories in an 1,100 page anthology. There were great re-reads of stories by Philip K. Dick, JG Ballard and Greg Bear and awesome new finds by Bruce Sterling, Ursula LeGuin and Liu Cixin. Each story is introduced with a one page summary of the author's work and some background on the story chosen. I loved this collection so much that even the phone book size format didn't bother me!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...