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On Our Way to the Future by Terry Carr

On Our Way to the Future (1970)

by Terry Carr (Editor)

Other authors: Brian W. Aldiss (Contributor), Algis Budrys (Contributor), Frank Herbert (Contributor), Philip Latham (Contributor), Fritz Leiber (Contributor)5 more, Kris Neville (Contributor), Edgar Pangborn (Contributor), James H. Schmitz (Contributor), Robert Silverberg (Contributor), Roger Zelazny (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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This anthology of ten science fiction stories published in 1970 draws from stories first published from 1963 to 1969 primarily
in various science fiction magazines of the day. Several top tier authors are included here giving this a little extra gravitas.

Terry Carr writes a really good introduction to the anthology built around the idea that change is the only constant. I thought it was an unusually thoughtful essay. He also provides a brief introduction to each story. The fiction stories are:

Greenslaves • (1965) by Frank Herbert
A Better Mousehole • (1965) by Edgar Pangborn
Ballenger's People • (1967) by Kris Neville
King Solomon's Ring • (1963) by Roger Zelazny
Sundance • (1969) by Robert Silverberg
Be Merry • (1966) by Algis Budrys
Under the Dragon's Tail • (1966) by Philip Latham
A Taste for Dostoevsky • (1967) by Brian W. Aldiss
Cyclops • (1965) by Fritz Leiber
Goblin Night • (1965) by James H. Schmitz

I didn't think I had read any of these stories before, but upon starting I immediately recognized Frank Herbert's "Greenslaves". It is part of a larger novel "The Green Brain" which I read perhaps thirty years ago and had a strong impact on me such that I haven't forgotten the beginning of it. I was very glad to revisit. It is a tale of the evolution of insects in response to pesticides and other things. I was underwhelmed with Pangborn's "A Better Mousehole" especially since it is told in colloquial hickspeak. The next two stories did nothing for me as well. In fact I ended up skimming and not finishing the Zelazny story.

The next story, "Sundance" by Robert Silverberg surprised me because I had just read it last year in a large collection of his
works. It is a sort of "Dances with Wolves" twist (circa 1969) where an Amerindian helping to prepare a new planet for colonization realizes he is exterminating an intelligent species. He goes native. It is a psychological drama and we don't know what is real or imagined. It is a pretty good story that I enjoyed re-reading.

Algis Budry's "Be Merry" I thought was a quite good idea and a reasonably good story. It is a post-apocalyptic novella unlike any that I can recall. I think the end was stretched out a little too long however to the climax.

"Under the Dragon's Tail" is a story written by an astronomer about the discovery that the asteroid Icarus may impact the earth. Since Icarus is a real minor planet near-earth asteroid that does actually get near earth the story had a lot of potential. Two years after the story was written Icarus came within 4 million miles of earth. Unfortunately the story struck me as a real clunker without direction or purpose - basically we spend a short time observing the life of an assistant at an observatory who probably loves his job but seems overwhelmed with life. FWIW, the next close approach of Icarus comes June 16, 2015 at approx 5 million miles.

The last three stories were disappointing. I didn't care much for either the Aldiss or Leiber. James Schmitz's "Goblin Night" is a novelette featuring Telzey Amberdon, one of his recurring characters in many stories he wrote. She is a girl with a bit of psi talent. Psi stuff is one of those SF tropes that was rather prevalent in earlier eras of science fiction writing and one of my least favorite things in most variations and uses. The story wasn't interesting to me and seemed a little silly and I just skimmed through the latter part of it.

So despite really liking several stories here, the clunkers really brought this collection down. ( )
  RBeffa | Apr 7, 2013 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carr, TerryEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, Brian W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Budrys, AlgisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herbert, FrankContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Latham, PhilipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leiber, FritzContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neville, KrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pangborn, EdgarContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schmitz, James H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Silverberg, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zelazny, RogerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gross;, CharlesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Introduction: We're all time travelers, each and every one of us; we move forward through time at the rate of one second per second.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From the rear cover:
Here are ten science fiction adventures in tomorrow that will keep you guessing till the last page.
Fritz Leiber tells of a strange alien artifact found in space. James H. Schmitz's GOBLIN NIGHT pits an otherworldly monster against a young girl with psi talent. Frank Herbert chronicles the war between humanity and an awesome insect super-mind. Edgar Pangborn writes grippingly of an alien invasion of earth. Robert Silverberg's SUNDANCE brings to life a race of peaceful, intelligent creatures on a far planet who are being exterminated by Earthmen. 
Plus five more stories about our journey to infinity, the eternal future. You've never read any of them in paperback before - don't miss them now.
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