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The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time Chosen by the Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America [Hardcover]

Ben Bova
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 29 2008 SF Hall of Fame (Book 3)
This volume is the definitive collection of the best science fiction novellas between 1929 to 1964 and contains eleven great classics. There is no better anthology that captures the birth of science fiction as a literary field.

Published in 1973 to honor stories that had come before the institution of the Nebula Awards, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame introduced tens of thousands of young readers to the wonders of science fiction and was a favorite of libraries across the country.

This volume contains novellas by: Ray Bradbury, James Blish, Algis Budrys, Theodore Cogswell, E. M. Forster, Frederik Pohl, James H. Schmitz, T. L. Sherred, Wilmar H. Shiras, Clifford D. Simak, and Jack Vance.

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Review

"Libraries can toss out worn collections of partly good/partly poor and buy this volume of the creme de la creme."--Library Journal on The Science Fiction Hall of Fame

About the Author

A six-time winner of the Hugo Award, a former editor of Analog, former editorial director of Omni, and past president of the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America, Ben Bova is the author of more than a hundred works of science fact and fiction. He lives in Florida.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Larger Chunks of SF's Past Feb. 21 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In Volume I of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, we read twenty-six short stories published between 1929 and 1964. The editor made the most of that book's limited space by including only relatively short stories. The novella-length classics in this book and in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 2B were too long for the first volume, but too good to ignore.

My three favorites from these eleven novellas are:

Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe" explores the relationship between Joe, a hardy creature gengineered to thrive in the hostile environment of Jupiter, and Edward Anglesey, a wheelchair-bound remote operator who links with Joe to direct his daily activities. A question emerges of who is in charge.

John Campbell's "Who Goes There?" shows us how a group of Antarctic researchers deal with an alien visitor awakened from the ice. A creature that insinuates itself into their group in an unexpected way. This story is a must-read for fans of The Thing.

Robert Heinlein's "Universe" is the prototypical generation spaceship story. The Ship has been traveling for a long time--long enough for the original crew's descendants to begin pursuing dreams of their own.

The Science Fiction Writers of America who selected these novellas have done their job well. Not only are the stories entertaining in their own right, but it is fascinating to see the roots of many of science fiction's now-oft-used themes. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Dec 29 2010
Format:Paperback
I've read a lot of science fiction anthologies, and this set is by far the best in terms of quality of the stories.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good follow-up, but read Vol. 1 first. July 25 2009
By T. S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I first picked up the original printing of the first volume of this anthology when I was a small child, around ten years old, and the first story in it ("A Martian Oddyssey") was so good that I put the book back down and didn't read the rest of it for another year because I was afraid none of the other stories in there could possibly be as good.

The second two volumes took me years to track down; II B I managed to find in a sale of discards from my school library; II A I didn't find at all until Amazon came along.

The conceit of this series is that the Science Fiction Writers of America picked the best short stories, novellas, and novels from before the Nebula Awards were commenced in 1965, and published them as a hall-of-fame anthology. Volume 1 collected the short stories and volume II (A and B) collected the novellas -- essentially, one stop volumes of all the "Nebula Emeritus" books, the sci-fi that professional SF writers of the sixties felt had most influenced and impacted them up to that point.

As such, this series is perfect for two groups of people: people who are completely ignorant of sci fi, and people who want to gain a better critical understanding of sci fi and its history as a genre. You can't find a better starting place, because these are the stories that the great modern SF writers started on, so by reading these, you'll understand more about what modern writers are doing, and you'll have the opportunity to experience the tropes first hand, from the stories that coined them, not in later knockoffs.

This particular volume has some really great stories in it, with a great deal of emotional impact. "The Martian Way" by Isaac Asimov is a great space yarn; "Earthman, Come Home" is an absolute classic; "The Machine Stops" has been amazingly influential (probably best seen lately in the movie WALL-E from Pixar) and "The Moon Moth" is unforgettably charming.

Probably the best benefit of these volumes is that they'll give you a general familiarity with the big names of Golden Age SF, so that you'll know who you like and don't and whose works you want to find more of. If I'd never read this volume, I don't know if (for example) I'd have ever read anything else by Jack Vance, and that would've been an absolute shame.

This volume contains:
"The Martian Way" by Isaac Asimov
"Earthman, Come Home" by James Blish
"Rogue Moon" by Algis Budrys
"The Spectre General" by Theodore Cogswell
"The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster
"The Midas Plague" by Frederik Pohl
"The Witches of Karres" by James H. Schmitz
"E for Effort" by T.L. Sherred
"In Hiding" by Wilmar H. Shiras
"The Big Front Yard" by Clifford D. Simak
"The Moon Moth" by Jack Vance.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compilation - all stories May 11 2008
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The follow up to Volume Two A, which also like this anthology, contains eleven novellas published from 1929 to 1964, is a strong selection; however in fact Volume Two B is a boomer era collection containing one tale from 1928 (close enough for government and sci fi collections), three from the forties, five from the fifties, and two from the sixties. The authors for the most part remain famous, a virtual who's who to include Asimov, Blish, Budrys, Cogswell, Forster, Pohl, Schmitz, Sherrod, Shiras, Simak, and Vance. Some of the entries like "The Martian Way", "The Midas Plague" and "The Witches of Karres" remain popular. The choices are solid as none are bad though some handle the test of time better. This reviewer especially enjoyed "Earthman Come Home by James Blish having remembered reading it in high school. The key to this anthology and its predecessor are that it is just about all story; in this case 526 pages of stories with no padding except for a brief two and half page introduction to explain the voting process. Great look back at some of the pre Nebula Awards age, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume Two B is a strong enjoyable compilation that validates how entertaining science fiction was especially from 1947-1961.

Harriet Klausner
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Titles in this Volume_ Two-B Feb. 22 2007
By David Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time: Titles as follows: SF Hall of Fame, The: Vol Two B

Asimov, Isaac Martian Way, The

Blish, James Earthman, Come Home

Budrys, Algis Rogue Moon - Psychological thriller

Cogswell, Theodore Spectre General, The

Forster, E.M. Machine Stops, The

Pohl, Frederik Midas Plague, The

Schmitz, James H. Witches of Karres, The

Sherred, T.L. E For Effort

Shiras, Wilmar H. In Hiding

Simak, Clifford D. Big Front Yard, The - a clever tale

Vance, Jack Moon Moth, The
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Good Old Stuff Feb. 10 2014
By Roochak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Here are four good reasons for picking up this collection: Clifford Simak's "The Big Front Yard" (Hugo winner, Best Novelette, 1959); Algis Budrys' "Rogue Moon" (Hugo nominee, Best Novel, 1961); the 1949 version of James Schmitz's "The Witches of Karres" (expanded to novel length in 1966, and nominated for a Best Novel Hugo in '67); and James Blish's "Earthman, Come Home" (winner of the 2004 Retro Hugo, Best Novelette).

My personal favorite here, Isaac Asimov's "The Martian Way," may not have garnered any awards, but it's a perfect example of what problem-solving, hard sf does best: it confronts its characters with a seemingly insoluble problem, and then allows them to solve it, with both elegance and tough-minded determination.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lot'sa fun! OLDE TYME SF. Sept. 28 2010
By E. Orchowski - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This series of Novellas is old school SF (no cyber, no political statements, nor any "green" themes). Could not help smiling a bit at the plots which were by any description light fun, best described as "Camp SF". As a SF reader for 50 years+, the collection was a bit nostalgic, easy reading, and pure amusement.
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