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 Paperback – Feb 2 2010
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About the Author
Ben Bova is the author of more than a hundred works of science fact and fiction, including Able One, Leviathans of Jupiter and the Grand Tour novels, including Titan, winner of John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation in 2005, and in 2008 he won the Robert A. Heinlein Award "for his outstanding body of work in the field of literature." He is President Emeritus of the National Space Society and a past president of Science Fiction Writers of America, and a former editor of Analog and former fiction editor of Omni. As an editor, he won science fiction's Hugo Award six times. Dr. Bova's writings have predicted the Space Race of the 1960s, virtual reality, human cloning, the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars), electronic book publishing, and much more. He lives in Florida.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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
My personal favorite here, Isaac Asimov's "The Martian Way," may not have garnered any awards, but it's a perfect example of what 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.
E for Effort is probably the most overlooked SF piece ever. Its descriptions of two well-meaning genius' with a sort-of time machine on their hands...masterful. But, like Rodney Dangerfield, it "don't get no respect". I reread this ever couple of years. Talk about a "sense of wonder"!