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Best of Lester del Rey [Mass Market Paperback]

Lester Del Rey
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb. 12 1986
Science fiction's most protean personality -- writer, editor, critic, publisher -- sets off an incomparable fireworks display in these tales of robots and humans, animals and aliens, ghosts and gods, science and the supernatural!

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Terry Brooks recalls Lester del Rey as being "not physically imposing, barely over 5 feet, rather hollow-cheeked and frail-looking." But "when Lester looked at you, he peered through his thick glasses in the same way a botanist might study an interesting specimen." A legendary editor whose exploits included scooping up untried unknowns like Stephen R. Donaldson, David Eddings, and Brooks himself (not to mention the coup of snagging the rights to Star Wars), the eccentric del Rey is one of SF's elite old guard, widely respected for years as a publisher and critic. But, as Brooks points out in this book's introduction, del Rey also slugged it out in the trenches, writing for John W. Campbell and others in the glory days of Unknown, Astounding Science Fiction, et al. ("In those days of long ago, any sale to John W. Campbell was something of a triumph," del Rey recalls.)

This collection pulls together del Rey's best short works from the '30s, '40s, and '50s, including many of his personal favorites and more than a couple that sprouted from ideas passed on by Campbell himself. Some of the 16 stories here show their age in places, but all reflect del Rey's inventive, often opinionated, top-shelf mind. Whether it's a classic tale of boy-builds-robot, boy-falls-in-love-with-robot, or a Rip Van Winkle-style riff on an elven tinker who's frustrated by modern alloys, del Rey always stuck to the big ideas that brought him--and us--to sci-fi in the first place. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Winner of the prestigious Nebula Grand Master Award, Lester del Rey was the author of more than forty books, including such classic science fiction novels as Nerves and The Eleventh Commandment and nonfiction works on atomic power, oceanography, photography, and many other science-related topics. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. In 1977, he and his wife, Judy-Lynn del Rey, formed Del Rey Books. Judy-Lynn became Editor-in-Chief, and Lester served as Fantasy editor discovering many authors who later became bestsellers, including Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Barbara Hambly, and Stephen R. Donaldson.


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great! July 6 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This conglomeration of Lester Del Rey's stories was wonderful. I had never him before, but after this book, I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. A must have!
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff for the era, but nothing really essential Dec 18 2005
By Dave Deubler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a rather dated collection of science fiction tales from the 30's, 40's, and 50's, but still pretty good. "Helen O'Loy" is the oldest tale in the book, and is considered something of a classic, more for its assessment of human nature than for its science, a caveat which is typical of Del Rey overall, who is not by any means a "hard" science writer. Many of these stories wrestle with philosophical issues, often from a robotic or other non-human perspective. The end of the human race is another common theme. There are a number of tales that strike this reviewer as anti-religion, which some may find borderline offensive, although the turning-against-God yarn "For I Am a Jealous People" is probably the most memorable story in the collection.

The earlier stories are generally the more precise, and feature clear moral lessons: the work ethic of "The Coppersmith", the hope for the future evoked in "Into Thy Hands", the release from ignorance in "Superstition". Overall, not a bad collection. Only the plotless dog story, "The Keepers of the House" is a complete failure. Of course many of the ideas in these stories have since been used by other writers in better stories, and while this isn't Lester's fault, it does somewhat undercut this book for modern readers. A sound enough choice for fans of the speculative fiction of this era, but because it's so old-fashioned in style and approach, and because there aren't any stories that are just essential, three stars seems enough.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage goodness Oct. 3 2008
By Yegor Voronin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A very nice collection of stories. The true value of these works is in the freshness and naivete of the dawn of modern SF. Del Rey explores many different ideas, often being one of the first authors to touch upon them.
One thing that struck me about this collection is how memorable these stories are - they have characters and moods that stay with you for a long time. There are just too many good stories here to name them all, but "For I am a Jealous People" and "Vengeance is Mine" stand out. I also liked "Keepers of the House" (dog story that one of the previous reviewers did not like).
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great! July 6 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This conglomeration of Lester Del Rey's stories was wonderful. I had never him before, but after this book, I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. A must have!
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