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The Best of Lester Del Rey Hardcover – 1978

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8424142098
  • ISBN-13: 978-8424142094
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on July 6 2000
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good stuff for the era, but nothing really essential Dec 18 2005
By Dave Deubler - Published on
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
Vintage goodness Oct. 3 2008
By Yegor Voronin - Published on
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).
Some Gems in this Anthology Oct. 30 2015
By Philip P. Giunta - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You will find no shortage of robots and strange religions in this collection of stories from Lester Del Rey. Del Rey was an award-winning speculative fiction writer active from the late 1930s through the early 1990s before his death in 1993. He was awarded SFWA Grand Master in 1990.

As with any collection, there are stories ranging from passable to absolute gems. My favorites included:

Helen O’Loy - Robotics experts Dave and Phil create a female robot complete with emotions and decide to name her Helen O’Loy, a derivative of Helen of Alloy, which is a pun on Helen of Troy. Got that? The only problem is that she falls in love with Dave, making his life miserable…at least at first.

The Coppersmith - Industrious elf Ellowan Coppersmith emerges from a long sleep in the Adirondacks looking for work among humans only to find that his skills in repairing copper and brass items are no longer in high demand. Worse, mankind has developed horrid combustion engines. Perhaps Ellowan could use his skills to bring an eventual end to that…

Hereafter, Inc. - Righteous and judgmental Phineas Theophilus Potts returns to work after a long illness, forcing himself to be kind to the disgusting sinners around him, until he begins to realize that something is amiss. Some of his colleagues had died before his illness, so what are they doing here? Perhaps the question should be, what is Phineas doing there?

The Wings of Night - Two astronauts land on the moon to repair their ship and encounter a bizarre but benevolent alien named Lhin. Through trial and error, the astronauts find a way to communicate with the alien and learn that Lhin is the last of his kind, but with a small supply of copper could repopulate his species.

For I Am a Jealous People - A preacher’s faith is shaken when aliens attack the Earth claiming to be on a holy mission from the Lord Almighty to eradicate humans from the planet. This is one of three novellas in the collection.

Vengeance is Mine - A robot named Sam is left behind on the moon when the humans are evacuated to Earth. Shortly thereafter, Sam notices bursts of light on the Earth’s surface before the planet goes completely dark. Believing that aliens had attacked, Sam finds his way back to the planet only to eventually learn the truth behind the death of mankind. The last of three novellas.
worth the read July 4 2015
By missyfoderaro - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful collection of sci-fi stories from a master.
Five Stars May 26 2015
By rickylgarcia - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

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