[PDF / Epub] ☉ The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time Chosen by the Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America By Ben Bova – Thomashillier.co.uk



10 thoughts on “The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time Chosen by the Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America

  1. says:

    3 1 2This contains eleven novellas, advertised as the Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time But leaving aside the issue of what is a novella, what a short story that can t be right Even though the selections were chosen by polling the SF Writers of America, the problem is that the book was published in 1973, and contains no selections individually published after 1961 All but one of the stories was published after 1946.So what we really have is great SF novellas from the period 1947 3 1 2This contains eleven novellas, advertised as the Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time But leaving aside the issue of what is a novella, what a short story that can t be right Even though the selections were chosen by polling the SF Writers of America, the problem is that the book was published in 1973, and contains no selections individually published after 1961 All but one of the stories was published after 1946.So what we really have is great SF novellas from the period 1947 1961, and this is why many of the stories, perhaps most, seem so dated Actually, the science aspect of the stories is not so dated as one might guess These are, after all, authors who were to some extent at least looking into the future, with quite far seeing eyes No, the stories are datedby their style and feeling.Several stories are characterized by their surprise, happy endings, what we might call a cheerful resolution A good example is the first selection, The Martian Way , by Asimov The surprise ending or twist at the finish of a science fiction story is of course a hallmark of the genre, and points out the close connection that the SF short story has with the mystery story But the happy ending, the twist that produces the See, everything turned out all right finale, is a bit off putting to me No doubt many non SF stories, by many authors, fit this mold But I prefer stories that, if not outright grim, even at their most cheerful say nothingthan Well, that s life not dreadful, but not particularly uplifting either I m thinking here of stories I ve read by such writers as Poe, Chekhov, Dinesen, Faulkner, Joyce, Henry James, Hemingway, Mann, Salinger and Maugham These writers do not often produce cheerful resolutions.I did enjoy several of the selections The Machine Stops , by E.M Forster the oldest selection, from 1928, by the author of A Passage to India is chilling The Midas Plague , by Frederik Pohl, is a delightful twist on consumerism In Hiding , by Wilmar H Shiras, is a clever story of role reversal involving an all knowing psychiatrist and a troubled boy and The Moon Moth , by Jack Vance, despite its cheerful resolution, is probably the most inventive story of the lot, taking place on a world with remarkable customs.But I have read better collections, even collections from earlier periods of SF, thus having fewer stories to pick from Adventures in Time and Space Famous Science Fiction Stories is a collection of thirty some stories first published in 1946 as a Modern Library Giant most of the stories first appeared in John W Campbell s Astounding Stories magazine in the period 1937 1945, the so called Golden Age of SF Destination Universe is a shorter collection of stories from the decade of the 40s by a single author, the Canadian writer A.E Van Vogt Both of these books, which I read in my teens, made a stronger impression on me than the book under review.Incidentally, to check whether the memories I have of these earlier collections could stand the test of time, I reread a couple stories from the larger book Nightfall by Asimov, and Black Destroyer by Van Vogt The former story absolutely destroys the Asimov selection in the Hall of Fame book, and the latter, although actually having a fairly cheerful resolution the good guys win, but fewer than half of them are alive when the curtain falls , is an early forerunner of the Alien type of story, with the humans facing an adversary having immense powers.For anyone looking for a solid collection of SF stories written before 1960, I would recommend either of these two collections over the Hall of Fame book.Finally, I must quote the opening lines of the very first story in the Famous SF collection Requiem , by Robert Heinlein.On a high hill in Samoa there is a grave Inscribed on the marker are these words Under the wide and starry skyDig my grave and let me lie.Glad did I live and gladly dieAnd I lay me down with a will This be the verse you grave for me Here he lies where he longed to be,Home is the sailor, home from the sea,And the hunter home from the hill I ve never fogotten this epigraph, which was written by Robert Louis Stevenson for his own tombstone According to Wiki, it was translated to a Samoan song of grief which is well known and still sung in Samoa Previous review Lives of the Artists VasariNext review Look Homeward AngelMore recent review Midsummer Night s DreamPrevious library review Italy in MindNext library review The Open Boat and Other Stories Stephen Crane


  2. says:

    I have not read all the stories in this collection, so this review will cover only those I have read so far and I will update periodically as I readover them THE MIDAS PLAGUE by Frederic Pohl 4.5 stars Great novella about the consummerism gone wild In a future where cheap energy and robot workers have made the production of consumer products easy and cheap the poor are forced to spend all their time in constant consumption in order to keep pace with the robots extravagant prod I have not read all the stories in this collection, so this review will cover only those I have read so far and I will update periodically as I readover them THE MIDAS PLAGUE by Frederic Pohl 4.5 stars Great novella about the consummerism gone wild In a future where cheap energy and robot workers have made the production of consumer products easy and cheap the poor are forced to spend all their time in constant consumption in order to keep pace with the robots extravagant production Funny and thought provoking Read on October 27, 2007 THE MACHINE STOPS by E.M Forster 4.5 to 5.0 stars A classic, haunting short storylike a novella written in 1909 The story concerns a world in which humanity long ago lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth through War, disease, etc Now each person lives in almost complete isolation below ground in a cell where all their needs are taken care of by the Machine The Machine is an advanced computer created by humans in the distant past to assist mankind and on which mankind continued to rely onanduntil they became totaly dependant upon it At the time of the story, people do not like to travel, all communicaiton is conducted via can you believe it instant messaging and video conferencing remember this was written in 1909 and people are no longer intellectually curious The plot involves a member of the society who begins to distrust the way society is living, longs to visit the surface of the world and be free from the assistance of the Machine I won t give anyaway, but this is a powerful story again written over 100 years ago about the possible dangers of becoming over dependent on technology Read on July 23, 2009


  3. says:

    The Martian Way 1952 by Isaac Asimov 5 5Earthman, Come Home 1953 by James Blish 5 5Rogue Moon 1960 by Algis Budrys 3 5The Specter General 1952 by Theodore Cogswell 5 5The Machine Stops 1909 by E.M Forster 5 5The Midas Plague 1954 by Frederik Pohl 4 5The Witches of Karres 1949 by James H Schmitz 5 5E for Effort 1947 by T.L Sherred 5 5In Hiding 1948 by Wilmar H Shiras 5 5The Big Front Yard 1958 by Clifford D Simak 5 5The Moon Moth 1961 by Jack Vance 4 5


  4. says:

    Some really excellent novellas in this volume, including one of my favorites Rogue Moon There were a couple that I completely glossed over and some others that were interesting in premise but I didn t like the execution Given that most of them were written before 1950, I think that s to be expected, however.


  5. says:

    As a collection, this is interesting not sure I d call them the greatest science fiction novellas of all time in the way that the same series collects the best science fiction short stories.Isaac Asimov s The Martian Way starts out as a standard, moderately clumsy early fifties science fiction adventure Quickly transforms into a beautiful description of working in space, and the real interactions of real people.The description of the journey to Saturn is alone worth the read.James Blish s Ea As a collection, this is interesting not sure I d call them the greatest science fiction novellas of all time in the way that the same series collects the best science fiction short stories.Isaac Asimov s The Martian Way starts out as a standard, moderately clumsy early fifties science fiction adventure Quickly transforms into a beautiful description of working in space, and the real interactions of real people.The description of the journey to Saturn is alone worth the read.James Blish s Earthman Come Home is a far future adventure story in which a city of immortals, after leaving Earth ages past, has decided for economic reasons that it is now time to settle down on a new planet But there s a lotto it than that It s a good, solid, adventure in which one side needs to outwit another side, when both of them are on the run from the law.Algis Budrys s Rogue Moon takes the other side of an adventure tale Teleportation works like in Star Trek a person is dissolved into their component parts, which are recorded and discarded and the recording reassembled at the other end But since it is all a matter of reassembling a recording, it can be done twice, creating duplicates of the person Duplicates also have a melded mind for a five to ten minutes or so, which means one can perceive what the other perceives.There is an artifact on the moon which acts like a DD dungeon people are duplicated, one on the moon, one on earth Their moon duplicate goes in, dies in a strange way, and then the earth duplicate is duplicated again knowing what the previous pair discovered.Normally this would be a videogame style story, covering the repeated attempts to beat the dungeon But in Algis Budrys s story, the focus is on the people running the transmitter, killing the same person over and over, slowly learningabout this alien unknown in the most cold hearted manner possible.Next up are two stories that show that socialism can even screw up plenty E.M Forster s classic The Machine Stops in which people forget what ideas are and, like Budrys s story, forget how things work but they also develop either laws or culture that forbid doing anything that might upset the presumably precarious distribution chain Because despite all this plenty, the central board makes everything the same.The bed was not to her liking It was too large, and she had a feeling for a small bed Complaint was useless, for beds had the same dimension all over the world, and to have had an alternative size would have involved vast alterations in the Machine.Turns out, not only is everything the same size but in typical socialist fashion the solution in this world is to mold the person to match the product, rather than the product to match the fashion.In Frederik Pohl s The Midas Plague, there s a similar solution Again, the problem is that the things created by committee under socialism are usually not the things desired by consumers, or are in the wrong quantities, but boy do that have a lot of it Pohl s society solves this by rationing, as most socialists are fond of, but by rationing non consumption instead of things Every person has a minimum consumption that they must meet in order to hide the massive failures of the production boards.James H Schmitz s The Witches of Karres, on the other hand, is pure old school wonder It could well have been the start of a series and apparently was A young man trying to impress his future father in law s family by turning their space trading vessel into a profit runs across three slave children with special powers and no understanding of how civilized culture works Hijinx ensue It s a lot of fun andthan a bit weird both in how it treats space travel and the culture it must have been written in.T.L Sherred s E for Effort is a fun, if naive, story about a machine that can see anywhere in time at least in the present and past across the surface of the earth Anything and anyone can be spied on by someone possessing the machine They use it, first, to make epic movies of ancient history, but they have bigger plans for it What remains unexplained throughout is why it was able to be built on practically no money but couldn t be repeated except that it must have been when they were wealthy the ramble in the beginning about being unable to capitalize on it because he had no money showed very little imagination for someone who could imagine the machine.Wilmar H Shiras s In Hiding tells about a child psychologist who happens upon a child who not only is a child prodigy, but who is so far above all other child prodigies that he has learned to hide his skills in order to avoid scaring the adults around him.Oh, and he s an orphan, living with his grandparents.Cliff Simak s The Big Front Yard is another of Simak s tales of meeting alien races for the first time An antiques dealer and fix it man finds his home taken over by tiny, unknown creatures who seem to want to do nothing but help Why are they there And why him It s a typical Simak story in that nobody s particularly evil and everyone is human.Jack Vance s The Moon Moth is probably the most unique space western I ve ever read His sheriff lands on a very strange world where everyone wears masks and speaks accompanied by musical instruments a truly tonal language where different instruments drastically change the meaning of spoken sung words.This is the only one of these stories that I remember reading before, probably not because it s the only one I ve read before but because it is so memorable


  6. says:

    This is a remarkable collection of science fiction novellas that completes the previous volume, IIA Personally, I feel that it is a stronger collection than its predecessor I thoroughly enjoyed several of the stories herein Of the ones that I didn t care for as much, it can be said that each had a memorable, crafty, or unique issue that they focused upon.I was particularly struck by the intriguing world view of The Machine Stops, as well as the visionary qualities of its author Although it This is a remarkable collection of science fiction novellas that completes the previous volume, IIA Personally, I feel that it is a stronger collection than its predecessor I thoroughly enjoyed several of the stories herein Of the ones that I didn t care for as much, it can be said that each had a memorable, crafty, or unique issue that they focused upon.I was particularly struck by the intriguing world view of The Machine Stops, as well as the visionary qualities of its author Although it was originally published in 1909, the novella does not stand out like a sore thumb amongst itsrecently conceived brethren In it, E M Forster depicts a future of comfort and vice in the form of a global network of devices, known as The Machine In no uncertain terms, Forster predicts things such as television, the internet, and face talk calling as mediums that aid in the isolation of each individual human being from every other What unbelievable foresight It is a great read.My favorites from this collection include Rogue Moon The Machine Stops The Midas Plague E for Effort The Big Front Yard


  7. says:

    These books changed my life Without picking up the best short stories and novellas volumes in the early 1980s, I doubt I would have become the ravenous SF fan I became The selection of stories and novellas is impeccable READ IT.


  8. says:

    This second volume of classic novellas may be even better than the first Great stuff from Pohl and Theodore Cogswell, favorites from Algis Budrys and Clifford Simak, the original Karres story by James H Schmitz, Blish and Asimov you can t go wrong with this collection.


  9. says:

    Gotta read this foundational series before matriculating to status of genuine sf geek Two volumes down, one to go


  10. says:

    3.5 Stars It is not surprising that some of these stories are great What is surprising is that not all of these stories are great As noted in the intro these are twenty two novellas published from 1895 to 1962 which were selected by vote of the Science Fiction Writers of America And yet a number of these stories were pretty bad Were the choices really that limited Do tastes vary that much I thought they were interesting from a historical perspective but didn t meet my expectations.


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The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time Chosen by the Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America This Volume Is The Definitive Collection Of The Best Science Fiction Novellas Between To And Contains Eleven Great Classics There Is No Better Anthology That Captures The Birth Of Science Fiction As A Literary FieldPublished In To Honor Stories That Had Come Before The Institution Of The Nebula Awards, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame Introduced Tens Of Thousands Of Young Readers To The Wonders Of Science Fiction And Was A Favorite Of Libraries Across The CountryEleven Classic Novellas By The Most Honored Authors Of Science Fiction Companion To Volume IIAIntroduction Ben Bova The Martian Way Isaac Asimov Na Galaxy Nov Earthman, Come Home Okie James Blish Nv Astounding Nov Rogue Moon Algis Budrys Na FSF Dec The Specter General Theodore R Cogswell Na Astounding Jun The Machine Stops E M Forster Nv Oxford And Cambridge Review Nov The Midas Plague Frederik Pohl Na Galaxy Apr The Witches Of Karres James H Schmitz Nv Astounding Dec E For Effort T L Sherred Nv Astounding May In Hiding Wilmar H Shiras Nv Astounding Nov The Big Front Yard Clifford D Simak Na Astounding Oct The Moon Moth Jack Vance Na Galaxy Aug