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Visions of Wonder by David G. Hartwell

Visions of Wonder

by David G. Hartwell (Editor), Milton T. Wolf (Editor)

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This is an anthology of classic sf stories - and classic pieces of sf criticism - assembled in the mid- 1990s on behalf of the Science Fiction Research Association. I found it somewhat frustrating and slightly incomprehensible. There is very little editorial apparatus to help the reader appreciate whatever point the editors are trying to make; some groupings of stories do have a clear linking theme, others less so. While the editors declare their intention to skip the classics of the 1940s-1960s, the collection does include five pieces from that era, which seems a bit inconsistent. The non-fiction pieces of sf criticism interspersed through the stories are of varying degrees of accessibility, and here I really felt the lack of an editorial voice explaining why another 30 pages of this vast tome had been dedicated to a particular commentator's meanderings. I found Algis Budrys' piece, 'Paradise Charted', incomprehensible. On the other hand I very much appreciated Sam Delany's 'Science Fiction and 'Literature' - or, the Conscience of the King'. On the fiction side, most of the stories that I liked were pieces I already knew - I bought the book in the first place because it had three joint Hugo/Nebula winners, 'Blood Music', 'Ender's Game' and 'Bears Discover Fire', none of which is a particular favourite of mine, and that should perhaps have warned me that few of the other stories would really blow me away. The one story that did grab the soppy romantic in me was Kate Wilhelm's 'Forever Yours, Anna'. But I was left rather wondering what the point of the anthology was. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 24, 2010 |
The best in this anthology (e.g. "Island of Dr. Death", "Mr. Boy", "Sur" and "Souls") can easily be found elsewhere. Most of the remainder should never have been born, let alone exhumed. The critical essays, with one exception, (Joanna Russ') define the abc's of meretriciousness -- absurd, boring, challenged ... ( )
  jburlinson | Oct 21, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hartwell, David G.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolf, Milton T.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Science Fiction Research Associationsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312852878, Paperback)

Should a textbook be this fun to read? If it's a science fiction anthology put together by the Science Fiction Research Association, the answer is yes! This hefty (798 pages) tome is meant to be both a primer to the SF of the '90s as well as an enjoyable book in its own right, and it succeeds fully on both counts. With more than 30 "classic" stories from the current decade supplemented by critical essays from some of the genre's finest writers, this book is both a scholarly resource and road map to some of the best short fiction in recent years.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:58 -0400)

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