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13 Great Stories of Science Fiction by Groff…
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13 Great Stories of Science Fiction (1960)

by Groff Conklin (Editor)

Other authors: Poul Anderson (Contributor), Algis Budrys (Contributor), Arthur C. Clarke (Contributor), G.C. Edmondson (Contributor), Richard Gehman (Contributor)8 more, Wyman Guin (Contributor), Damon Knight (Contributor), Lion Miller (Contributor), William Morrison (Contributor), Alan Nelson (Contributor), William T. Powers (Contributor), Theodore Sturgeon (Contributor), John Wyndham (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 4 of 4
"Inventions" is the theme of this anthology, from ones that do everything to ones that do nothing at all, both living and inanimate. It's a broad topic and the stories are varied. Several of them are funny, with quite a bit of satire. Here are some of my favorites:

"Compassion Circuit" by John Wyndham - Think Asimov's first rule of robotics is a wise one? Think again.

"Volpla" by Wyman Guin - A mischievous geneticist plans to unleash a hoax upon society.

"Allegory" by William T. Powers - An inventor has great difficulty getting the establishment to accept his latest creation, because its existence contradicts known "facts."

"Technological Retreat" by G.C. Edmondson - A pair of aliens offers a technological exchange with an Earthling...who is also a die-hard capitalist.

"The Analogues" by Damon Knight - A dangerous vision of a possible future where an implant can alter people's perceptions to prevent crime.

"Soap Opera" by Alan Nelson - A fed-up researcher decides to turn the tables on his employer.

"Silence, Please!" by Arthur C. Clarke - A tale of corporate espionage involving a device that can cancel sound. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
It’s a rare occasion when I enjoy every story in an anthology almost equally. This is one of those times. All 13 tales in this collection are, as the title boasts, great. I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise given the talent involved including Arthur C. Clarke, Ted Sturgeon, Poul Anderson, Damon Knight, and others. However, were I forced to choose favorites, those would be…

“The War is Over” by Algis Budrys - Years after an Earth ship carrying an urgent message crash lands on an alien world, the inhabitants construct a vessel to return the message to Earth, though they’re not entirely certain why or even how they learned to build such a craft…

In “Allegory,” William T. Powers offers an entertaining yet frightening glimpse into a humanity controlled by computers and where independent thinking is considered a mental aberration.

In John Wyndham’s “Compassion Circuit,” Janet Shand, a fragile and fretful housewife, is forced to come to terms with Hester, an android servant programmed with emotions. It isn’t long before Janet begins to rely on Hester for her daily care—until she becomes convinced that there is a better way to live through robotics.

Arthur C. Clarke delivers a brilliant send up of corporate guile in “Silence, Please!” To get even with unscrupulous businessman Sir Roderick Fenton, a professor invents a portable sound-cancelling device and sells the patent to Fenton. The professor’s associates are mystified by his decision, until they observe how the devices are used when sold to the public, putting Fenton in the government’s crosshairs.

In Wyman Guin’s “Volpla,” a scientist creates a new, highly intelligent biological species with the ability to fly, speak, adapt, and reproduce. He fabricates a backstory that they had originated on another world and only recently came to Earth. Surely, this gag will spark the intended panic in the zoological community once the creatures are released into the wild. Unfortunately, the biologist’s plan backfires when the Volpla’s take a drastic course of action to preserve their race…

Alan Nelson’s lighthearted “Soap Opera” delivers the hysterical tale of a hapless young member of a soap manufacturer’s advertising team who experiments with skywriting as a marketing tool. “The words vanish too quickly!” cries the company’s owner, sending Everett Mordecai on a quest to find a more permanent solution—one that covers the entire city of San Francisco…

What happens when the government implants a second personality into its citizens, one that forces them to be docile, to be behave contrary to their natural tendencies? In “Analogues,” Damon Knight deftly presents us with this disturbing possibility…

When a homeless man named Ollie swallows what he think is a nut, he suddenly finds his appetite insatiable, no matter how much he eats. After winning an egg-eating competition by consuming over 100 eggs, Ollie is taken to the hospital to be examined. Shortly after, strange foreign objects materialize in Ollie’s stomach, causing intense pain and swelling. At the same time, two aliens arrive after realizing that their matter transfer device is inside poor Ollie. The question is… now what? We find out in William Morrison’s “Shipping Clerk.”

G.C. Edmondon’s “Technological Retreat” brings us the story of extraterrestrial technology run amuck when humans trade simple Earth goods for a device that can instantly repair damage to any surface by making it malleable enough to reshape. It isn’t long before the aliens begin disseminating the device across the planet, with devastating effects on human evolution.

In Ted Sturgeon’s “The Skills of Xanadu,” a haughty scout sent by an advanced alien race lands on the bucolic world of Xanadu. While reluctantly spending time among the primitive “barbarians” of this world, Bril marks them as ripe for conquest. Yet, he finds their manufacturing abilities beyond comprehension. When Bril finally discovers the source of their power in the form of polished stones worn as part of their clothing, he takes one back to his homeworld—where the true conquest begins. ( )
  pgiunta | Sep 24, 2017 |
The LT description has the contents slightly out of order. It's a pretty solid group, from the excellent anthologist, Groff Conklin, and contains an introduction to each piece, including bits and pieces of trivia such the fact that Silence Please! was the beginnings of "Tales from the White Hart" (one of Clarke's better novels). Who knew?

Introduction (Groff Conklin)
The War Is Over (Algis Budrys)
The Light (Poul Anderson)
Compassion Circuit (John Wyndham)
Volpla (Wyman Guin)
Silence, Please! (aka Tales from the White Hart) (Arthur C. Clarke)
Allegory (William T. Powers)
Soap Opera (Alan Nelson)
Shipping Clerk (William Morrison)
Technological Retreat (G. C. Edmondson)
The Analogues (Damon Knight)
The Available Data on the Worp Reaction (Lion Miller)
The Skills of Xanadu (Theodore Sturgeon)
The Machine (Richard Gehman )

These are some excellent stories (from the fifties, and some of them are VERY dated, but still good). ( )
  Lyndatrue | Jan 17, 2015 |
Overall, I must rate this series sub-par, and less than three stars, due to most of the stories below average in the quality of the writing and the below average quality of the originality and "wow" factor of the stories. Conklin states that this anthology's theme is invention, but forty-five years later most of the inventions themselves seemed to me boring and trite. The following ratings are graded up without considering the writing quality and for an audience who has not read a lot of science fiction. Well-read science fiction readers will have read the best of these stories elsewhere, with the exception of the gem, "Volpa" by Wyman Guin. The three stories, it seemed to me to be of merit were the Guin story mentioned above, "The Skills of Xanadu" by Theodore Sturgeon, and "Shipping Clerk" by William Morrison.
Algis Budrys, "The War Is Over" (***)
Poul Anderson, "The Light" (** 1/2)
John Wyndham, "Compassion Circuit" (***)
Wyman Guin, "Volpa" (**** 1/2)
Arthur C. Clarke, "Silence, Please!" (*** 1/2)
William T. Powers, "Allegory" (***)
Alan Nelson, "Soap Opera" (***)
Damon Knight, "The Analogues" (****)
Richard Gehman, "The Machine" (**)
G. C. Edmondson, "Technological Retreat" (** 1/2)
William Morrison, "Shipping Clerk" (*** 1/2)
Theodore Sturgeon, "The Skills of Xanadu" (**** 1/2)
Lion Miller, "The Available Data on the Worp Reactor" (***) ( )
  psybre | Aug 11, 2008 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Conklin, GroffEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, PoulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Budrys, AlgisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clarke, Arthur C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edmondson, G.C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gehman, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guin, WymanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Knight, DamonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miller, LionContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morrison, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nelson, AlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Powers, William T.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sturgeon, TheodoreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wyndham, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Book description
Stories include:
Algis Budrys, "The War Is Over"
Poul Anderson, "The Light"
John Wyndham, "Compassion Circuit"
Wyman Guin, "Volpa"
Arthur C. Clarke, "Silence, Please!"
William T. Powers, "Allegory"
Alan Nelson, "Soap Opera"
Damon Knight, "The Analogues"
Richard Gehman, "The Machine"
G. C. Edmondson, "Technological Retreat"
William Morrison, "Shipping Clerk"
Theodore Sturgeon, "The Skills of Xanadu"
Lion Miller, "The Available Data on the Worp Reactor"
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