The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One 1929-1964: The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time Chosen by the Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America Paperback – Jan 13 2005
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If you own only one anthology of classic science fiction, it should be The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. Selected by a vote of the membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), these 26 reprints represent the best, most important, and most influential stories and authors in the field. The contributors are a Who's Who of classic SF, with every Golden Age giant included: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, John W. Campbell, Robert A. Heinlein, Fritz Leiber, Cordwainer Smith, Theodore Sturgeon, and Roger Zelazny. Other contributors are less well known outside the core SF readership. Three of the contributors are famous for one story--but what stories!--Tom Godwin's pivotal hard-SF tale, "The Cold Equations"; Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life" (made only more infamous by the chilling Twilight Zone adaptation); and Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon" (brought to mainstream fame by the movie adaptation, Charly).
The collection has some minor but frustrating flaws. There are no contributor biographies, which is bad enough when the author is a giant; but it's especially sad for contributors who have become unjustly obscure. Each story's original publication date is in small print at the bottom of the first page. And neither this fine print nor the copyright page identifies the magazines in which the stories first appeared.
Prefaced by editor Robert Silverberg's introduction, which describes SFWA and details the selection process, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964 is a wonderful book for the budding SF fan. Experienced SF readers should compare the table of contents to their library before making a purchase decision. Fans who contemplate giving this book to non-SF readers should bear in mind that, while several of the collected stories can measure up to classic mainstream literary stories, the less literarily-acceptable stories are weighted toward the front of the collection; adult mainstream-literature fans may not get very far into The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A basic one-volume library of the short science fiction story.” ―Kirkus on The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One
“Quibbling about the choice of the prize winners would be like arguing with the pros who vote on the Academy Awards.” ―Publishers Weekly on The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One
“The first definitive modern anthology of top science fiction stories.” ―Newark Sunday News on The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One
“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, Volume One
“Not for years has there appeared a collection of stories so remarkable, so profoundly enjoyable, so full of that marvelous 'remember when' quality, and, for the absolute beginner, so rewarding and informative a reading experience.” ―Theodore Sturgeon in the National Review on The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume OneSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
A few of the stories will seem campy by today's standards. "Martian Odyssey," by Stanley Weinbaum (1934) will show you just how far today's authors have come in terms of storytelling and prose styling. From those humble beginnings, the genre takes off like a rocket.
John Campbell's "Twighlight" (1934) show many of the themes and ideas--alienation, wonder, potential misuse of science--that would often define the Golden Age. "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov (1941) is probably the best of the early stories, showing perfect plotting and construction, combined with scientific ideas and thinking. As time marches on, we encounter such stories as "Scanners Live in Vain," by Cordwainer Smith (1948) which shows us a future society without burying us under the type of exposition that previously weighed-down other work; by 1954, we have "Fondly Fahrenheit," by Alfred Bester, a head-spinning, poetic, tour de force of a tale. "Flowers for Algernon" (1959) is one of the best-plotted, most poignant tales of the Golden Age. The book ends with "A Rose for Ecclesiastes," rife with the poetic, experimental style that would become a theme for much of the science fiction literature of the New Wave.
Unfortunately, a few of the stories don't age that well--and it is necessary for readers to realize that science fiction has continued to evolve in the decades since this book's publication. Nevertheless, it contains a large number of wonderful stories and--and serves as a schematic for the genre's development over four decades.
My favorite six--and this wasn't easy--are:
Frederic Brown's "Arena" was made into a Star Trek episode which pitted William Shatner against an unknown stunt man in a rubber reptile suit. This original story of a human versus a well-rounded alien in a fight to the death is better.
Murray Leinster's "First Contact" named an entire SF sub-genre. The aliens and humans meet, learn to communicate, and then need to figure out a way to get home without endangering both of their worlds.
C. M. Kornbluth's "The Little Black Bag" hints at a future where many people aren't too bright. One of them loses a bag of medical instruments all the way into the past. And somebody finds it.
Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" illustrates the danger of taking along just enough of everything--air, fuel, mass--on a space trip. There is always the unexpected.
Damon Knight's "The Country of the Kind" examines the life of a lonely man who keeps reaching out for others. Something always gets in the way. This story may have influenced Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.
Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" introduces Charlie Gordon, a mentally handicapped man whose life changes when he participates in a surgical experiment designed to improve intelligence.Read more ›
Though three decades have passed, most of the contributors remain highly renowned even outside the genre, but a few are less famous except among long time purists. Thus the lack of a one-page biography hurts when a virtually unrecognizable name has authored a famous work especially when other media mainstreamed the tale. Still each story is well written and affirms why the ASFWA selected them thirty years ago. This is a winner mostly for science fiction buffs and the nostalgic amongst the boomers.
Even though this book is packed from cover to cover with intriguing stories, I bought it for one story in particular "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett. First published in 1943 ("Lewis Padgett" was a pseudonym employed by Henry Kuttner and his wife, C. L. Moore)
My first encounter with this story was a vinyl record recording with William Shatner later it is replaces with a cassette tape. I believe this book is the only surviving form of the story.
Unthahorsten is experimenting with time travel and sends two black boxes back into the past. He had to put something in them so as a last minute thought places his old toys in them. They do not return so he forgets them. It is too late the mischief is done. One is found by children in 1942. The other well look at the title for a clue.
Most recent customer reviews
very good book and very good stories (story) when you start reading it you can't stop ever after I recommand itPublished on July 30 2013 by Claude Couillard
I've checked it out of the library more than once, but this is such a good book to own. If you want to see how science fiction is done, or learn how to write it yourself, this is... Read morePublished on July 12 2004
I bought this book when it first came out in 1970 when I joined the Science Fiction Book Club, and it is my favorite collection to this day. Read morePublished on April 7 2004 by Samwise Gamgee
Can someone list the titles and authors of all the stories in this book???
If I was stuck for life on a desert island, there are two
SF books I would take with me--Anthony Boucher's two-volume _A
Treasury of Great Science Fiction,_ and _The... Read more
I have the Avon paperback first edition from 1971, it's falling apart from re-readings over the years. Read morePublished on May 15 2003 by Steven L. Davis
Long out of print, these 26 stories include classics from the big names of the second third of the 20th century - Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Roger Zelazny. Read morePublished on May 6 2003 by Lynn Harnett
This is a reprint of a classic 1970 work in which The Science Fiction Writers of America members voted on what selections should be included in The Greatest Science Fiction Stories... Read morePublished on March 16 2003 by Harriet Klausner