Creatures from Beyond: Nine Stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Terry Carr, the editor, describes the book as follows in his brief introduction:
“We still wonder: Are there creatures somewhere who are watching us? What might their purpose be? And what if they come to Earth? Here is a collection of stories about such Creatures from Beyond, as imagined by some of the top writers of modern fantasy and science fiction.”
I think that this is a good anthology. There is one (for me) stand-out story, “Dear Devil” by Eric Frank Russell, and most of the others are fair reading.
Despite my comments above, I do not know enough about science fiction to give a detailed review. I’m also concerned that in the detail I might give away too much of the storylines. My main motivation for reviewing is to give an easily accessible list of contents to those browsing through anthologies on Amazon.
Here is a list of contents giving a brief introduction to each story (definitely not plot spoiling) :
(1) “The Worm” by David H. Keller (1927)
First lines “The miller patted his dog on the head, as he whispered: ‘We are going to stay here. Our folks, your ancestors and mine, have been here for nearly two hundred years, and queer it would be to leave now because of fear’. “
(2) “Mimic” by Donald A. Wolheim (1942)
“I have always known of the man in the black cloak. Since I was a child he has always lived on my street, and his eccentricities are so familiar that they go unmentioned except among the casual visitor.”
(3) “IT” by Theodore Sturgeon ( 1940)
First lines: “It walked in the woods. It was never born. It existed. Under the pine needles the fires burn, deep and smokeless in the mold. In heat and in darkness and decay there is growth.”
(4) “Beauty and the Beast” by Henry Kuttner (1940)
Jared Kirth is the first to explore the wrecked spaceship returning from the first ever interplanetary voyage.
(5) “Some Are Born Cats” by Terry and Carol Carr (1973)
The teenagers Freddie and Alyson have suspicions about the stray cat that has arrived at Alyson’s house.
““Maybe he’s an alien shape-changing spy from Arcturus”, Freddie said.”
(6) “Full Sun” by Brian W. Aldiss (1967)
“Balank was ill at ease, taking his laser rifle from the trundler and tucking it under his arm, although it meant more weight to carry uphill and he was tiring.”
(7) “The Silent Colony” by Robert Silverberg (1954)
First lines: “Skrid, Emerak, and Ullowa drifted through the dark night of space, searching the worlds below them for some sign of their own kind.”
(8) “The Street That Wasn’t There” by Clifford D. Simak (1941)
Mr Jonathan Chambers has been taking exactly the same walk at seven o’clock in the evening for twenty years, then one evening something is different.
(9) “Dear Devil” by Eric Frank Russell” (1950)
The first Martian spaceship arrives on Earth to find a scene of “untrammelled desolation”.
Really, this is just some great writing. I still have a hard-cover copy of this book on my shelf. The paper cover has long sisnce vanished, but the pages are strong. Read it.
I picked this up decades ago and recently re-read it. It's a fast moving book; each story is a gem ranging from very good to QUITE good. There are a wide variety of takes on the issue of "creatures", both Earth-created and alien. Most have a nice "twist" in them that really make them stand out. I didn't find a dud in the bunch.
VERY recommended for anybody who's a fan of good science fiction.
The Worm by David H. Keller,
Mimic by Donald A. Wohlheim,
It by Theodore Sturgeon,
Beauty and the Beast by Henry Kuttner,
Some are Born Cats by Terry and Carol Carr,
Full Sun by Brian W. Aldiss,
The Silent Colony by Robert Silverberg,
The Street that Wasn't There by Clifford D. Simak and Carl Jacobi, and
Dear Devil by Eric Frank Russell