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The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume…
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The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One: The Greatest Science Fiction… (1970)

by Robert Silverberg (Editor)

Other authors: Isaac Asimov (Contributor), Alfred Bester (Contributor), Jerome Bixby (Contributor), James Blish (Contributor), Anthony Boucher (Contributor)21 more, Ray Bradbury (Contributor), Frederic Brown (Contributor), John W. Campbell (Contributor), Arthur C. Clarke (Contributor), Lester del Rey (Contributor), Tom Godwin (Contributor), Robert A. Heinlein (Contributor), Daniel Keyes (Contributor), Damon Knight (Contributor), C.M. Kornbluth (Contributor), Fritz Leiber (Contributor), Murray Leinster (Contributor), Richard Matheson (Contributor), Judith Merril (Contributor), Lewis Padgett (Contributor), Clifford D. Simak (Contributor), Cordwainer Smith (Contributor), Theodore Sturgeon (Contributor), A.E. Van Vogt (Contributor), Stanley G. Weinbaum (Contributor), Roger Zelazny (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame (1)

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Awesome collection!! Wonderful gems from classic science fiction. ( )
  hredwards | Sep 6, 2014 |
A friend of mine recently reviewed this
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/31198022
& I realized I didn't have it on my bookshelf here & should. I have an old hardback from the library from back when I was a teen & I've read through all of these stories numerous times over the years both here & in other anthologies. Almost all of the stories are incredibly good. I won't review them all, but a few deserve mentioning.

Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" is probably the most dated & least favorite of mine. "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" by Roger Zelazny isn't a favorite either, although it is the story that brought my favorite author to everyone's attention.

"Surface Tension" by James Blish has always been a favorite. I think he captured the heroic spirit of exploration & striving perfectly. "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin is also excellent, if sad.

"It’s a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby is probably the scariest & would fit well in as horror story. It was a fantastic Twilight Zone. Little Will Robinson was perfect. "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes is super, but sad, & the movie "Charley" was a fantastic rendition for the silver screen.


"The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth definitely tops the chilling list, though. It's not only possible, but here. I work with folks that use computers - magic black boxes to many of them - & have seen some of the havoc wreaked through ignorance.

Anyone interested in SF should read this. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the stories here are some of the most published. It's certainly a super collection. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
This is a great selection of science fiction stories from the past. All of them are good, but some show their age more than others, such as the first one, where 2 US astronauts land on Mars and meets the inhabitants. A few others, like Mimsey were the Borogroves, are stories I've read before.

Anyway, here is the stories by list and my thoughts on them.

A Martian Odyssey - Stanley G. Weinbaum. This is one of the stories that shows it age - written in 1934, it has two handsome American Astronauts landing on a Mars with all sorts of alien creatures. When a machine malfunctions, one of the Astronaut is lost, makes friends with an alien creature, and plunders another alien civilization. It has all the hallmarks of American Superiority, plus a laughable Mars. IT is funny and well written, but for the most part, I found it dated.

Twilight - John W. Campbell. This is a fairly standard time travel story, where a man goes to the future and sees the end of Mankind, or the evolution into something that isn't human. The story was interesting, but not very remarkable.

Helen O'Loy - Lester del Rey. This is a variation of the story "Pygmalion". Where man tries to creature a perfect woman (this time its a robot). Its cute. But again, dated.

The Roads Must Roll - Robert A. Heinlein. This is a story about power, unions, and control. In the future, the US has turned all its highways into conveyor belts that go at various speeds. It is now possible to get from one end of the country to the other in a few hours - but all this requires upkeep, specifically mechanics and technicians who keep it all going. I liked this one - Heinlein is a good author, the story does suffer from Superior Americans.

Microcosmic God - Theodore Sturgeon. This one is truly scary - a very intelligent man versed in biochemistry creates an intelligent species that works 20 times faster than humans. The biochemist keeps giving new struggles to these small engineered intelligence, and they come up with solutions, which the biochemist steals. When the US government gets involved, bad things happen. This is the first story where the US is not a good guy.

Nightfall - Isaac Asimov. A story about people on a different world, in a different solar system with different planetary alignments and rotations. In a world that is always lit by a sun, What happens when a solar eclipse happens? I liked this one - the story has a bit of history, interesting characters, and an odd planetary system.

The Weapon Shop - A. E. van Vogt. I read this story - it wasn't great, but not bad either. Basically a weapon shop opens in a city that is perfect. It confounds the residents who have never had a need to own a weapon. I found this story to be too long, and rather annoying. Probably one of the weaker ones in the bunch.

Mimsy Were the Borogoves - Lewis Padgett. This is one of my favourite short stories. And I am very happy to read it again. This story is about the flexibility of youth to learn things, to think in ways that are impossible. IF you haven't read this, I highly suggest that you find a copy. It is just that good.

Huddling Place - Clifford D. Simak. A sad story about the comforts of home and fear of the new.

Arena - Fredric Brown. Humanity at war with an alien race - a higher being intervenes by pitting one human against one "other" to see who is the strongest, the winner survives, the other species dies.

First Contact - Murray Leinster. A great story about humanity finding its first interstallar species, accidentally and how do you trust an alien being, the solution is quite ingenious. This story is also a bit funny.

That Only a Mother - Judith Merril. The only story by a woman in this collection - the world is at war, a devasting war that is using nuclear bombs - and birth defects are high. Luckily, for Maggie - her baby is all right.... I actually found this story to be annoying. The mother, Maggie, is so... Stereotypical.

Scanners Live in Vain - Cordwainer Smith. An odd, sad story about Men who give up their humanity for the good of the human race... And what happens when these people are no longer needed... I honestly didn't like this story. This was something, very unsettling about it. It is well written, but unsettling.

Mars is Heaven - Ray Bradbury. When Man invades Mars, Mars fights back unexpectedly.

The Little Black Bag - C. M. Kornbluth. A great story - in the future, the morons of the world have outbred the smart people of the world, so to keep some sort of society, The smart people (supernormals) needed to simplify things for the rest of the population. Like, the medical kit. Give it a medical problem, it spits out a solution. SO, when this medical kit goes back in time, to a doctor with a revoked license, what happens? This story is funny, chilling, and quite good.

Born of Man and Woman - Richard Matheson. This is the shortest story of the bunch. I'm not quite sure what it is about - or how it is science fiction. Its a sad tale of a prisoner kept in a basement by his Father and Mother. He gets beat by them, and eventually learns to hate. I'd like to know more of this story, such as what is the prisoner thing, or why is it chained in the basement...

Coming Attraction - Fritz Leiber. This is another dystopian type future story - maybe Feminist? I'm not quite sure what this is about.

The Quest for Saint Aquin - Anthony Boucher. A priest in a world where Christianity is persecuted, is on a quest to find a saint. With only a robot ass for a companion, his faith is questioned.

Surface Tension - James Blish. I mission to colonize a water planet goes bad - and the team must make the best of a bad situation. I like this story - it is about a strange humanity, placed in a world with diatoms, amoeba and bacteria. It is about exploring the unknown, with typical human eagerness.

The Nine Billion Names of God - Arthur C. Clarke. A strange prophesy by Monks in Tibet, a calculating computer that enacts the prophesy, and two technicians who are in the middle of it. Its an odd story of Science joined by Religion.

It's a Good Life - Jerome Bixby. This story is not exactly Science Fiction - but it is chilling. Take a small, town, USA in the 50's. Add in a small boy with incredible powers that forces the town to conform to stereotypes, and you get fear. Its a totally creepy story.

The Cold Equations - Tom Godwin. Such a sad story - A stowaway is on-board a space ship carrying important vaccines to save a colony on another planet. The space ship has just enough fuel to get to the colony, no more, no less. The stowaway is a teenage girl trying to visit her brother. The extra weight means the space ship won't arrive. Ethical Questions abound.

Fondly Fahrenheit - Alfred Bester. A crazy android, a crazy human. Chicken and Egg sort of problem.

The Country of the Kind - Damon Knight. In a perfect world, where everyone is happy and kind, how does a person who is not happy or kind survive? How is he treated by the normal?

Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes. Such a sad, sad story. Is it better to be mentally retarded and not know it, or be brilliant and know how people feel about you? What happens when you reach ultimate brilliance, and than regress?

A Rose for Ecclesiastes - Roger Zelazny. The last story in this book - a world renowned, buy unliked poet is invited to Mars, a civilization that is dying. He falls in love with a Martian Girl, and saves the civilization. ( )
1 vote TheDivineOomba | Oct 27, 2013 |
This is a collection of 26 of the best science fiction short stories published before 1965 (the first year in which stories were eligible for the Nebula Awards). The stories in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame were selected by the vote of SFWA members in 1967-68, with slight adjustments by editor Robert Silverberg. Many of these stories are great classics of the genre, filled with evocative ideas and fantastic settings. However, many are clearly dated. For instance, some make scientific claims we now know to be wrong, some include racist or sexist content, and some feature characters whose behavior and motives seem inappropriate given their positions (as scientists, spacecraft pilots, etc.). Despite these downsides, the collection is very strong and is enjoyable to read. I provide star ratings and brief reviews of each individual story below. The story reviews below contain moderate spoilers (usually describing the general premise and sometimes the events from the first half of the story).

(1) "A Martian Odyssey" (1934) by Stanley Weinbaum - 4.5 stars - An intriguing page-turner about a crash-landed astronaut's journey across a Mars inhabited by a variety of strange creatures, including a friendly, ostrich-like companion, Tweel. The story's greatest strengths are the variety of interesting creatures the astronaut encounters and his growing bond with and understanding of Tweel. Some good humor, too. Downsides are the unprofessional manner in which the astronaut and his team conduct themselves and a single, passing racist reference.

(2) "Twilight" (1934) by John W. Campbell - 1 star - A time-traveler recounts his visit to the far future, when the human race has gone into decline and is tended by ancient, self-repairing machines that they no longer understand. The story doesn't have much plot and repeatedly harps on two points: the endless activity of machines in abandoned cities and the intellectual and moral growth and decline of the human race. While Campbell clearly seems obsessed and perturbed by the idea of machines that go on purposelessly after their creators are dead, he fails to make any points about this concept or demonstrate why one should care. His ideas of the growth and decline of humanity have a racist and Social Darwinist flavor, claiming that current humans are a step on a path between "semisavages" like "Negros" on the one hand and far-future humans on the other. His picture of humans past their prime, in decline, is unrealistic and feels like an inferior knock-off of the Eloi in H.G. Wells' 1895 novella "The Time Machine."

(3) "Helen O'Loy" by Lester del Rey (1938) - 2 stars - Two male friends purchase a robot in the form of a young woman and augment her with emotions. She falls in love with one of them, and the three of them must decide what to do. The story would have been better if the robot were compellingly sentient yet not quite human psychologically. Instead, she is just a synthetic person with mundane thoughts and emotions. The story embraces the sexist ideal of the woman as homemaker, subservient to her husband. The story's best moment is a single page about the narrator's job that is irrelevant to the main plotline.

(4) "The Roads Must Roll" by Robert A. Heinlein (1940) - 4 stars - Due to increasing numbers of car accidents and oil scarcity, America has replaced its highways with conveyor belts. These "roads" form the economic backbone of the country. Technicians who maintain one of the roads in Sacramento, CA decide to take charge by stopping part of the roadway and threatening further damage and disruption. The chief engineer, Gaines, must deal with the strike while minimizing damage and loss of life. This is a strong story, illustrating that sometimes one piece of fictional technology, not even all that futuristic, can form the basis of a compelling setting and can even drive a plot. Though the story includes some action, it's mostly a political/government tale with a pro-authority viewpoint. This is a rarity in fiction, which tends to favor scrappy underdogs and rebels. Gaines' brusque manner and dismissive attitude toward women, intended to be humorous in 1940, fall flat for a modern reader.

(5) "Microcosmic God" by Theodore Sturgeon (1941) - 5 stars - James Kidder, a brilliant, wealthy scientist, lives alone on an island. Frustrated with the pace at which he accumulates knowledge, Kidder creates the Neoterics, a species of brilliant creatures who live human-like lives compressed into a few days. Acting as a merciless god, Kidder directs them to invent devices for him. Kidder's reign is disturbed by the ruthless banker Conant, who attempts to use one of the Neoterics' inventions to gain control over the United States. This is a top-notch story, with interesting characters, a protagonist who is not morally good, a variety of fun scientific devices, and a very creative core idea: the use of sped-up, directed evolution as a mechanism for invention. The story also raises ethical questions. "Microcosmic God" makes no attempt at realism and perhaps is best regarded as a parable.

(6) "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov (1941) - 5 stars - On a planet with six suns, a group of astronomers who have predicted the collapse of civilization prepare for the first nightfall that the planet will have seen in over two thousand years. This is a top-notch SF story that focuses much more on actual science- particularly astronomy and psychology- than more fantastical science fiction. The story trades on its compelling, vividly rendered ideas. Some of the story's best moments concern the scientists' deductions and suppositions about the nature of the universe, given their limited information. If the story has a downside, it's that the characters are largely flat, and except for the psychologist Sheerin, not especially interesting.

(7) "The Weapon Shop" by A. E. van Vogt (1942) - 3.5 stars - Fara is a repairman in a small country town in the Empire of Isher, ruled by an empress who is beloved by her indoctrinated subjects. Fara is outraged at the appearance of a Weapon Shop in his town, as these infamous establishments are surrounded by dark rumors and said to defy the will of the empress herself. The story concern's Fara's struggles- first against the Weapon Shop, then against his rebellious son, and finally against vast bureaucracies whose functioning is well beyond Fara's understanding. The story starts off very strong, when Fara is richly painted as a determined, conservative, honest old man who is struggling to understand a bizarre intruding presence in his life. The story grows steadily worse as it turns to Fara's other problems. The story ultimately has a Jeffersonian anti-tyranny, pro-gun political viewpoint (possibly influenced by the fascism that threatened the world in the 1940s).

(8) "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett (1943) - 3.5 stars - Two children find a box of toys sent back in time by an eccentric inventor from a far-future era. The toys teach the children to think using logic that adults cannot understand. The story is solid but not a stand-out. The central concept- that children's minds are alien to and more malleable than adult minds- is a unique foundation for a science fiction story. Descriptions of the future-toys are compelling; I wanted to learn more about them. The main downsides are the manner in which adults unrealistically leap to conclusions and overreact to the children's actions. Also, the story features a stereotypical, male-dominated, and slightly dysfunctional picture of mid-20th century American domesticity; I cannot tell whether or not it is intended to be a caricature.

(9) "Huddling Place" by Clifford D. Simak (1944) - 3 stars - Jerome Webster, a doctor made famous by his early work studying the brains of Martians, lives on an estate that has been in the Webster family for generations. Video conferencing and telework have made cities obsolete; most people who can afford to do so live in isolated homes, attended by robotic servants. Webster's son's departure for Mars, and a friend in need, threaten Webster's comfortable lifestyle. While this might have been a hard SF story in 1944, it has become soft SF following the invention of the internet and real-world videoconferencing and telework. The biggest upside to this story is the writing, which is poetic and sometimes beautiful. On the downside, Simak's predictions seem silly to a modern reader, and his portrayal of human psychology is questionable at best. Interesting as an example of SF's tendency to sometimes make hilariously bad predictions while taking itself too seriously.

(10) "Arena" by Fredric Brown (1944) - 4.5 stars - Carson, pilot of a military scout ship, blacks out at the start of a space battle against an alien fleet. He awakens, naked, in a hot desert of blue sand, scrubby bushes, and lizards. He is informed by a powerful being that he will fight to the death with a single member of the alien species, and the loser's species will be destroyed. This is a classic adventure/survival story, where a combination of cleverness, resourcefulness, strength, and endurance are needed to survive. (Another example is "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell.) It is a page-turner, and it succeeds at making the challenge interesting and the solutions non-obvious, while avoiding deus ex machinae. The theme of limiting casualties from a total war between two peoples may have been inspired by World War II, which was then in progress.

(11) "First Contact" by Murray Leinster (1945) - 5 stars - Humans on a scientific expedition to the Crab Nebula unexpectedly encounter an alien ship there, far from either homeworld. The humans wish for peaceful contact but worry that attacking the alien ship might be necessary, to avoid running the risk that the aliens could trace their own ship's path back to Earth. A top-notch and memorable story about a very interesting (albeit improbable) first contact scenario, taking careful account of military and political considerations. Reminiscent of (but superior to) "The Mote in God's Eye" by Niven and Pournelle. Sadly, marred by one racist reference. Nonetheless, highly recommended.

(12) "That Only a Mother" by Judith Merril (1948) - 4 stars - A genuinely mind-bending, 10-page-long story told from the perspective of Maggie, a new mother whose husband is off at war. Setting elements are revealed erratically and incompletely, but feature concern about the effects of radiation from past use of nuclear weapons. The story manages to consistently ratchet up tension and make the reader worried, despite Maggie's assessments of the situation. Clever writing, but difficult to appreciate- best suited to speculative fiction experts who also like the suspense/horror genre. Notably, "That Only a Mother" is the only story written by a sole woman in the anthology. ("Mimsy were the Borogoves" was co-written by C. L. Moore and her husband, Henry Kuttner.)

(13) "Scanners Live in Vain" by Cordwainer Smith (1948) - 5 stars - In the far future, the Many Earths are linked by spacecraft piloted by habermen, condemned humans whose brains have been severed from all their senses, save sight, to make them immune to the Great Pain of Space. The Scanners are an honored brotherhood who have undergone the Haberman process voluntarily. They captain the starships and are bound by a complex set of rites. Scanner Martel is summoned away from a day with his wife, spent "cranching," (using a device to temporarily restore his lost senses), to attend a gathering of the Scanners, who must address a top emergency. "Scanners Live in Vain" is stunningly original, even to an experienced SF reader in the 2010s. What is it like to live as a Scanner is rendered with great care, feeling, and attention to detail. The plot is simple but sufficient. Highly recommended.

(14) "Mars is Heaven!" by Ray Bradbury (1948) - 4 stars - A heavily-armed expedition to Mars lands to discover themselves in what resembles a small, 1920s town on Earth. The crewmen are greeted by their dead friends and relatives, who cannot provide an explanation for their miraculous presence. This story, which was compiled as part of Bradbury's novel "The Martian Chronicles," is a solid, all-around story with emotional characters and a small-town nostalgia that are hallmarks of Bradbury's work. While the crew suffers from a lack of professionalism common to spaceship crews in early-to-mid 20th century SF (a pet peeve of mine), it is more forgiveable in this story than in most, since it is so central to the story's concept. The story is gripping, despite being a bit predictable.

(15) "The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth (1950) - 4 stars - In the far future, very unintelligent people have come to dominate Earth due to their higher breeding rate, but society is kept functional by a small group of super-intelligent people who produce incredible, technological marvels and share them with the rest of humanity. One such marvel, a doctor's kit, is accidentally sent back in time and found by ailing, alcoholic Dr. Full. With the help of the kit and the goading of a greedy young woman who knows his secret, he begins practicing medicine again. But things start to fall apart when Dr. Full begins to think of his legacy. "The Little Black Bag" is fun and inventive story that is superior to the collection's other story about high-tech artifacts sent back in time, "Mimsy Were the Borogoves." Kornbluth is particularly good at rendering the mindset and desperation of Dr. Full and the other denizens of the slums. The scenes from the future remind me of an Ayn Rand fantasy crossed with the cult film "Idiocracy." These were my least favorite parts, but they are a small portion of the story.

(16) "Born of Man and Woman" by Richard Matheson (1950) - 1.5 stars - The protagonist of this story is some sort of unidentified monster or giant insect who is kept in the basement of a house and physically abused by people he/she calls Mother and Father. It is written in broken English, from the protagonist's perspective. There is little to recommend in this extremely short, bizarre story that may have been influenced by Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" (1915).

(17) "Coming Attraction" by Fritz Leiber (1950) - 2.5 stars - In an America devastated by nuclear war, it has become culturally necessary for women to cover their faces with masks in public, even as the need for them to cover any other parts of their bodies has greatly lessened. British expat Wysten Turner rescues a woman from a car attempting to ram her. The woman is equal parts mysterious and afraid, and she convinces Wysten to meet her later and help her escape from danger. This story feels like a bizarre compilation of elements that don't relate to each other: nuclear aftermath, cultural norms regarding what body parts are private, con artists, and even televised wrestling. As a reader, you are eager to understand the mystery; the eventual answer is disappointing (and not entirely clear). Vaguely reminiscent of "A Clockwork Orange," but far worse than Burgess' novel.

(18) "The Quest for Saint Aquin" by Anthony Boucher (1951) - 3 stars - After a nuclear war, America is ruled by a Technarchy, and religious people are persecuted and attacked by the populace. By the order of the Pope, Father Thomas rides a clever, philosophical, scheming robass (robotic ass) up Mt. Diablo in search of the miraculously non-decomposing body of Saint Aquin. The story has a meandering plot with what feels like an incomplete story arc. The strengths of the story are the robass' amusing and intelligent remarks, as well as various characters' reflections on the role of religion and the concept of a creator, and what these things mean to men and to robots.

(19) "Surface Tension" by James Blish (1952) - 5 stars - Possibly the best story in the collection. In the far future, humans are colonizing the galaxy, not by terraforming worlds, but by using spaceship laboratories to seed worlds with humans genetically customized to thrive in a world's unique physical conditions. One such seedship crashes on Hydrot, an ocean world with a single, small continent consisting of freshwater swamp. Knowing that they cannot survive on Hydrot, the crew seeds the swamp with microscopic humans and leaves them instructions on corrosion-proof metal tablets. Most of the story takes place from the point of view of these microscopic humans, living in a world bounded by the mud of the floor and the surface tension of the sky. An excellent and highly original story that involves considerably more "science" than many "science fiction" stories and successfully captures the wonder and awe of discovering more about the universe.

(20) "The Nine Billion Names of God" by Arthur C. Clarke (1953) - 1.5 stars - A Tibetan monastery purchases a powerful computer and the services of two computer technicians in order to print all possible 9-letter combinations in their artificial language, because they are certain that this set of "words" will contain all of the real names of God, which number about nine billion. A short and pointless story that seems to paint a highly inaccurate view of Buddhism.

(21) "It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby (1953) - 4.5 stars - The lives of the townsfolk of Peaksville revolve around Anthony, a boy born with tremendous telekinetic and telepathic powers. The only true horror story in the collection, "It's a Good Life" is tremendously memorable and chilling. Bixby illustrates that great cruelty and tyranny may result, not from the plots of evil warlords or psychopaths, but from whims one might expect from an ordinary boy, if he were somehow able to grow up utterly without limits. Rated for its power and ideas, it would earn 5 stars, but I took off 0.5 stars because it's not a science fiction story and doesn't belong in this collection.

(22) "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin (1954) - 3.5 stars - Important worlds colonized by humans are serviced on a regular schedule by vast, faster-than-light cruisers. Frontier colony worlds are seldom visited by spaceships. When a frontier colony needs emergency supplies, the nearest cruiser deploys an EDS- an Emergency Dispatch Ship- to fly there as fast as possible. An EDS carries only enough fuel to safely take the ship, cargo, and pilot to the destination, so EDS pilot Barton is faced with a difficult situation when he discovers a stowaway on board his EDS. The story has almost no plot- it is predominantly concerned with the psychology and emotions of people in a terrible situation, governed by the cold and unfeeling equations of the laws of nature.

(23) "Fondly Fahrenheit" by Alfred Bester (1954) - 2 stars - James Vandaleur and his highly skilled and valuable, yet malfunctioning and murderous, android are always on the run, fleeing from planet to planet in order to escape justice. On his travels, Vandaleur learns about the mysterious psychological concept of "Projection," which hints that his troubles may not be confined to his malfunctioning android. Strange use of pronouns erratically juggles the first-person viewpoint between Vandaleur, the android, and no one (e.g. all characters in the third person). Hard to tell what the story is trying to say.

(24) "The Country of the Kind" by Damon Knight (1955) - 3.5 stars - An unnamed protagonist wanders the world, destroying property, unacknowledged by any other human beings. Though able to ruin their homes and possessions, the protagonist is knocked unconscious via a sort of epileptic seizure whenever he attempts violence against a human. It is revealed that the protagonist was born different from other people in some fundamental way, and his current status is a punishment for past misdeeds. An intriguing idea, but ultimately unrealistic; no society would adopt such an expensive, inefficient, and wasteful solution to the problem of criminal behavior, even if it were to become astoundingly rare. Possibly a clumsy attack on pacifism.

(25) "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes (1959) - 5 stars - This story is told in the form of the journal of Charlie Gordon, a kind-hearted man of extremely low intellect, who undergoes an operation to triple his intelligence. Algernon is a laboratory mouse who received a similar operation and competes with Charlie at solving a maze. The story is frequently poignant and deeply emotional, though it has some very funny moments. Satisfying and powerful. Reminiscent of Mike Resnick's 2006 short story "Barnaby in Exile."

(26) "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" by Roger Zelazny (1963) - 3.5 stars - The story follows Gallinger, a famous poet, a savant at acquiring new languages, and something of a jerk. He participates on a mission to Mars, which is populated by "Martians" (humans who are unknown by the people of Earth). Gallinger is there to learn the Martian High Tongue and to copy the Martians' greatest religious text for research and educational purposes. He is distracted from his job by the beautiful dancer, Braxa, and is caught up in a Martian prophesy concerning a great plague that happened hundreds of years ago. "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" is an okay story, entertaining enough, but without much in the way of meaning or groundbreaking ideas. Gallinger resembles some of Zelazny's other protagonists, in that he is exceptionally skilled, independent, somewhat chaotic, and ultimately more good than bad. ( )
  jrissman | Jan 2, 2013 |
Top-notch collection of early science-fiction (includes "Flowers for Algernon"). ( )
  adam456 | Apr 25, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Silverberg, RobertEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asimov, IsaacContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bester, AlfredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bixby, JeromeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blish, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boucher, AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, FredericContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, John W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clarke, Arthur C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
del Rey, LesterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Godwin, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heinlein, Robert A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keyes, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Knight, DamonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kornbluth, C.M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leiber, FritzContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leinster, MurrayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Matheson, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Merril, JudithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Padgett, LewisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Simak, Clifford D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, CordwainerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sturgeon, TheodoreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Van Vogt, A.E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weinbaum, Stanley G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zelazny, RogerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asimov, IsaacContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, fredericContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campbell, John W.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
del Rey, LesterContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heinlein, Robert A.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leinster, MurrayContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Padgett, LewisContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simak, Clifford D.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sturgeon, TheodoreContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Vogt, A. E.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weinbaum, Stanley G.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Contains 26 stories
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26 Stories:

A Martian Odyssey - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Twilight - John W. Campbell
Helen O'Loy - Lester del Rey
The Roads Must Roll - Robert A. Heinlein
Microcosmic God - Theodore Sturgeon
Nightfall - Isaac Asimov
The Weapon Shop - A. E. van Vogt
Mimsy Were the Borogoves - Lewis Padgett
Huddling Place - Clifford D. Simak
Arena - Fredric Brown
First Contact - Murray Leinster
That Only a Mother - Judith Merril
Scanners Live in Vain - Cordwainer Smith
Mars is Heaven - Ray Bradbury
The Little Black Bag - C. M. Kornbluth
Born of Man and Woman - Richard Matheson
Coming Attraction - Fritz Leiber
The Quest for Saint Aquin - Anthony Boucher
Surface Tension - James Blish
The Nine Billion Names of God - Arthur C. Clarke
It's a Good Life - Jerome Bixby
The Cold Equations - Tom Godwin
Fondly Fahrenheit - Alfred Bester
The Country of the Kind - Damon Knight
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
A Rose for Ecclesiastes - Roger Zelazny
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0765305372, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:16 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Originally published in 1970 to honor those writers and their stories that had come before the institution of the Nebula Awards, this was the book that introduced tens of thousands of young readers to the wonders of science fiction. It contains stories by such great masters of the form as: Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester, Jerome Bixby, James Blish, Anthony Boucher, Ray Bradbury, Fredric Brown, John W. Campbell, Arthur C. Clarke, Lester del Rey, Tom Godwin, Robert A. Heinlein, Daniel Keyes, Damon Knight, C.M. Kornbluth, Fritz Leiber, Murray Leinste, Richard Matheson, Judith Merril, Lewis Padgett, Clifford D. Simak, Cordwainer Smith, Theodore Sturgeon, A.E. van Vogt, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Roger Zelazny.… (more)

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