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Best of All Possible Worlds [Mass Market Paperback]

Spider Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Book by Larry Niven, Theodore Sturgeon, Terry Carr, Robert Sheckley, Dean Ing, Anthony Boucher, Robert Heinlein, William Goldman

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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading June 17 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Find and buy a copy of this book, if you think of yourself as human: it is one of the few places to find a copy of "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" AND "Our Lady's Juggler" - both essential reading, even if they're the only fantasy you ever read. The former tale is the story Heinlein was proudest of, and the latter is his choice as the best least-reprinted story - and no other English translation of Anatole France's little gem is worth the paper it's printed on. Find this book and buy a copy. The other stories in it are fine, but the last two are worth the price of admission all by themselves.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an anthology but a Unique Collection of favorite stories Aug. 16 1998
By Albert Simon (simon@uhfmag.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS (Ace Books, Science Fiction, 1980) by Spider Robinson.
Here is why this book is so exceptional.
Spider Robinson picked his favorite short stories from each of his favorite authors - not the most popular or the ones with the most awards, just the best according to him, the ones he really loved.
He then wrote an introduction for each one of these stories, explaining, in his refreshing style, who the writer is, why he picked this particular story and how did the author reacted to his choice. Yes - and that's how this book develops a parallel anthology - he also contacted each of the authors and asked each one of them to pick one of their favorite stories by someone else and write an introduction for it.
When asked to handle this project by Jim Baen, Ace's science fiction editor, Spider Robinson recalls, in the foreword, how he "was drooling" at the idea and said "My favorite stories plus my favorite writers' favorite stories ? Christ, that sounds like the best of all possible worlds." "Yeah," (said Baen) "that's my working title."
This book is a gem. It starts with Larry Niven's "Inconstant Moon" and follows with Niven's choice "Spud and Cochise" by Oliver La Farge - an unforgettable "western that blooms into fantasy, compelling awe, laughter and belief."
The next one is "Need" by Theodore Sturgeon - my own favorite - and Sturgeon then picked "Hop-Friend" by Terry Carr. Following that, we have The Duel Scene from William Goldman's "The Princess Bride" and Goldman picked Robert Sheckley's "Seventh Victim". The next one is Dean Ing's "Portions Of This Program..." who then chose "They Bite" by Anthony Boucher.
Spider Robinson's last pick is an exquisitely touching story by Robert A. Heinlein (his introduction is a wonderful read in itself), "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" which recreates magically a Fellini-like atmosphere combined with the All American, mid century charm of Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life". Not only is this story surprisingly unHeinlein but Heinlein's own pick is another surprise, a sweetly naive and religious story by Anatole France "Our Lady's Juggler" very aptly translated by Spider Robinson himself (who was turned off by the two translations which were available at the time).
This anthology is not really an anthology as we know it. Spider Robinson's world - past and present - is revealed throughout and we also get a glimpse into the worlds of his favorite writers as they candidly recall their reactions to their favorite stories. It is, in the best sense of the word, a Collection, one which touches the heart and caresses the mind. In that sense and so many others, it is Unique.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This truely is the Best of all Possible Worlds June 14 1998
By D. Cummings - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is amazing in that every story in it is exceptional. During the 10 or so years that I have been collecting Spider, I have only seen one copy of this book. People who read this one tend to hold tightly to it and only loan it to close friends. One of the most amazing items about this book, is that all of the stories could have been written by Spider. This book holds gems that may not have seen the light of day for quite some time. Among these stories are the very best Heinlein and Sturgeon stories in print. All in all, I cannot recommend this collection highly enough.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic short stories that are hard to find anywhere else July 8 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The essence of this collection is that Spider Robinson picked his favorite short story, actually an excerpt from his favorite book (the swordfight on the Cliffs of Insanity from "The Princess Bride") and then contacted the author of that piece - William Goldman - and asked him what his favorite story was. Spider then contacted that author... and so on. The result is a unique collection of stories that provide insight into what affects these authors.

The book was published quite a few years back and I do not have a copy so I cannot list all the stories but I can say that no other collection has ever had the impact on me that this one did. If you ever wondered what Authors read and remember, find a copy and hang onto it - I've been trying to find a replacement copy for 12 years.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading June 17 2003
By Eric C. Sanders - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Find and buy a copy of this book, if you think of yourself as human: it is one of the few places to find a copy of "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" AND "Our Lady's Juggler" - both essential reading, even if they're the only fantasy you ever read. The former tale is the story Heinlein was proudest of, and the latter is his choice as the best least-reprinted story - and no other English translation of Anatole France's little gem is worth the paper it's printed on. Find this book and buy a copy. The other stories in it are fine, but the last two are worth the price of admission all by themselves.
5.0 out of 5 stars Prompt Feb. 15 2014
By Elaine Childers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very prompt! Got it just before I needed it. I have the series! Love it; love it; love it; love it!
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