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American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s Hardcover – Sep 27 2012

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Hardcover, Sep 27 2012
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1750 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; Slp edition (Sept. 27 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598531573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598531572
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 8.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Here's the heart of the heart of where those who take American science fiction seriously would want to begin -- the genre's equivalent of Hollywood's classical period, and the books subsequent creators like Thomas Pynchon and Stanley Kubrick used to bend their brains -- as well as a selection of novels as fresh and evocative as any hungry reader could hope to discover."  — – Jonathan Lethem

About the Author

GARY K. WOLFE, editor, is Professor of Humanities in Roosevelt University’s Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies and the author, most recently, of Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature and Sightings: Reviews 2002–2006. He has received numerous awards for his critical writing including the British Science Fiction Association Award and the World Fantasy Award. He writes a monthly review column for Locus Magazine.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e4e1ccc) out of 5 stars 25 reviews
177 of 181 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de05720) out of 5 stars Is it too much too ask? Oct. 1 2012
By William - Published on
Is it too much too ask that Amazon list the nine novels in the collection? Here they are:
*Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants
*Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human
*Leigh Brackett, The Long Tomorrow
*Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man
*Robert A. Heinlein, Double Star
*Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination
*James Blish, A Case of Conscience
*Algis Budrys, Who?
*Fritz Leiber, The Big Time
I had to go to the LOA website to find out.
They're great books and I have other Library of America books that are beautifully made so 5 stars

UPDATE: Amazon responded to this comment by changing the listing to show the titles...Thanks Amazon!
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de05b28) out of 5 stars Splendid set Oct. 1 2012
By Wayne Dynes - Published on
Verified Purchase
For too long, science fiction has been banished to the margins of American literature. This splendid set goes a long way to repairing this injustice. The selections are varied and representative, the annotation is helpful, and the printing quality is exceptional. The dust jackets and box are works of art in themselves. Surely this set deserves an award as one of the best publications of 2012. Buy the set: when it arrives it will make your day. It certainly did mine.
47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de05f60) out of 5 stars Marvelous edition and great value Sept. 27 2012
By Reader - Published on
Verified Purchase
I received this collection today as promised, having ordered it when the first announcement was made some months ago. I have not read the novels again but wish to comment on the presentation. The books are produced to the same standard as other LoA books, with clean typography, high-quality paper and Brillianta cloth binding. The end notes explain the sources of the texts (for example the multiple versions of Alfred Bester's The Stars my Destination, originally published as Tiger, Tiger) and define many names and places that might be unfamiliar. There also is a web site with essays on the novels and other information (

In my opinion the nine novels are all among the best science fiction novels of the 1950s. There are some favorite authors missing, including Kurt Vonnegut, who has his own set of Library of America volumes, and Ray Bradbury, who may someday also have his own volume. But the selections are excellent and the presentation fine.

Plus, to buy the least expensive mass market paperbacks of the nine would cost significantly more than the price of these volumes.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de05f30) out of 5 stars Interesting Selection Nov. 28 2012
By R. Albin - Published on
Its great to see the Library of America publish more science fiction. As pointed out by the editor of this set, Gary Wolfe, the 1950s is the first period to see the publication of a signficant number of American Science Fiction novels, something made possible by an expanded market for Science Fiction. The genre attracted a number of talented writers and the 1950s are regarded often as a "Golden Age" for science fiction. Wolfe's selection is aimed clearly at anthologizing a wide spectrum of fine Science Fiction novels. All books selected are worthwhile reading and include a couple of the best Science Fiction novels ever published; Blish's A Case of Conscience and Bester's The Stars My Destination.

Like all such anthologies, some selections and omissions are contestable. Heinlein's Double Star, one of his best written novels, is included. But as a Science Fiction novel, Double Star is relatively weak and one or more of Heinlein's other 1950s novels like Rocket Ship Galileo or Starship Troopers, could have been selected. Leigh Brackett's The Long Tomorrow is selected as a post-holocaust novel but the best post-holocaust novel, Walter Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, is not. Similarly, some truly original and outstanding books such as Ward Moore's pioneering and very interesting parallel world novel, Bring The Jubilee, or Edgar Pangborn's A Mirror for Observers are not included.

Having published this book and a set of Philip Dick novels, I hope Library of America continues to publish more work in this important and distinctive branch of American literature.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de05fa8) out of 5 stars Richard Powers Box illustration Dec 9 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
It needs to be noted that the illustration on the box that we see illustrated here is by Richard Powers and was originally the cover of the classic 1953 Ballantine Books # 33 CHILDHOOD'S END by Arthur C. Clarke. The painting is among my favorite works of art. It is a little odd to me, therefore, that the Powers 1953 cover was selected to illustrate this anthology of American SF because (1) Clarke was a British author and (2) CHILDHOOD'S END is not part of this set.