- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (June 29 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765303590
- ISBN-13: 978-0765303592
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.5 x 24.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 726 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,819,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Going For Infinity: A Literary Journey Hardcover – Jun 1 2002
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Going for Infinity is a wonderful, wide-ranging collection that aptly showcases one of the greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy.
This collection presents some of Anderson's best-known work, interspersed with his own comments on writing and selected memories of his six-decade career. It's a successful combination: Anderson's likeable, thoughtful persona and his powerful, precise fiction balance and enrich each other, bringing fresh context to both. Highlights include "The Saturn Game" with its characteristic blend of science, psychology, and beautiful prose; "The Problem of Pain," which offers a provocative redefinition of the concept of God; and "Goat Song," a chilling reworking of Greek myth.
Anderson (who died in 2001) was a graceful and deeply humanistic writer who used impeccable science and convincing fantasy to explore the complexities of love, death, sacrifice, necessity, and the wonder of the world. This collection is a must-have for his fans and a splendid introduction for readers new to his work. --Roz Genessee
From Publishers Weekly
This posthumous retrospective anthology serves as a valentine to SFWA Grandmaster Anderson's legions of fans, and includes hard SF, first-contact stories, fantasy, detective fiction and sword and sorcery, sometimes melded together in surprising ways. Some tales (e.g., Sam Hall ) show their age but well reflect the writing popular at the time, while others, particularly those that play with fantasy elements (e.g., The Saturn Game ), underscore Anderson's tendency toward densely written, emotive prose, with a dollop of soul-satisfying melodrama. Among samples from his many series are The Master Key, a Nicholas van Rijn story from his Technic History series, and The Problem of Pain, one of his tales of the Poleosotechnic League. Both highlight the great divide between human and alien, but of chief interest is not the misunderstanding between the two but rather the human response to loss. The bittersweet Death and the Knight, part of the Time Patrol sequence, repeats a familiar Time Patrol plot (time traveler gone missing must be rescued), but with a twist. Classic must-read stories include Goat Song and The Queen of Air and Darkness, both of which foreground faerie. And Quest, in the sword-and-sorcery-meets-high-tech world of The High Crusade, posits an outer-space quest for the Holy Grail. Anderson provides brief headnotes for each story, full of anecdotes about fellow SF luminaries. This anthology represents the life's work of one of SF's most enduring and versatile writers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Keeping it short, don’t judge Anderson by this short story collection, he is much, much better than this.
A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows
Alight in the Void
Boat of A Million Years
Earth book of Stormgate
Ensign Flandry(in 3/1 The Imperial Stars)
Game of Empire
Going for Infinity
Maurai & kith
Orion shall Rise
People of the Wind
Shield of Time
The Armies of Elfland
The Broken Sword
The Fleet Of Stars
The Sound & the Furry w. G.Dickson
The Time Patrol
There Will Be Time
Poul Anderson's writing covers in time most of the life of the genre of science fiction, but the stories in Going for Infinity range less widely in style and substance than the genre as a whole. Anderson says in the Introduction:
"What [Robert Gleason, my editor] had in mind [for this book] was not simply another collection, but a retrospective - besides stories, something about their origins, backgrounds, contexts, a historical overview of the science fiction and fantasy field throughout those decades."
Then Anderson immediately follows with:
"Of course, this isn't really possible. I have been only one writer among many, and how wonderfully diverse a lot they were and are! "
Anderson's own stories in this collection are largely the product of a fairly straightforward synergy of contemporary science (contemporary to the time of writing), and imagination. In introducing the first story, "The Saturn Game," published in 1981, he recounts his visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory a few years later "to witness Voyager One's flyby of this very planet." Anderson had also written another story set on the Saturnine moon Iapetus. Anderson wondered,
Would my speculation prove completely mistaken? It's a risk that science fiction always takes, a risk that in the long run becomes an inevitability. But would this piece of mine have any run of might-be-so at all?
This realism, this concern that a story fit the facts, characterizes most of Anderson's stories in "Going for Infinity." These are not William Gibson stories. Most of them are science fiction as a backdrop of unfamiliarity against which the ordinary - but lonely, sad, evil, good, beautiful - stands out in a new and exciting way, or maybe just a simpler, more obvious, less complicated way. Economics, democracy, religion - these are all examined anew under the strange light of an unfamiliar sun.
Another mark of Anderson's stories is the emphasis on the writing itself. He tells stories, but even more he paints images and composes music in language. Not just fantasy clichés of `purple mountains on the horizon', but lines crafted from a conscious and deliberate wielding of language and words and rhythm and space. This, I think, is the most satisfying element of Anderson's work here.
There is more to enjoy, though. Anderson introduces every story with comments on the story itself, or its inception, context, or repercussions. He mentions other writers, other times, other ideas. For Anderson fans, this will surely be welcomed.
Though this collection mostly is of a realistic style, there is some other more fantastic pieces mixed in. "Goat Song" is one of these. Published in 1972, this story was somehow influenced by another science fiction story, "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," and Cocteau's film Orpheus. It seems appropriate that this story struck me as the most contemporary, regardless of publication date.
"Going for Infinity" is definitely a worthwhile collection to own, and Anderson's stories more than worth reading.