Title: American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels 1953-56
SubTitle: Library of America #227
Publisher: Library of America
Pub Date: September 27, 2012
ISBN: 9781598531589
Title: American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels 1953-56
SubTitle: Library of America #227
Publisher: Library of America
Pub Date: September 27, 2012
ISBN: 9781598531589

Marketing Copy:

Following its acclaimed three-volume edition of the novels of science fiction master Philip K. Dick, The Library of America now presents a two-volume anthology of nine groundbreaking works from the golden age of the modern science fiction novel, works by turns satiric, adventurous, incisive, and hauntingly lyrical.

Long unnoticed or dismissed by the literary establishment, these visionary “outsider” novels grappled in fresh ways with a world in rapid transformation and have gradually been recognized as American classics that opened new imaginative territory in American writing.

This first volume contains:

Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth / The Space Merchants

Theodore Sturgeon / More Than Human

Leigh Brackett / The Long Tomorrow

Richard Matheson / The Shrinking Man

This second volume contains:  

Robert Heinlein / Double Star

Alfred Bester / The Stars My Destination

James Blish / A Case of Conscience

Algis Budrys / Who?

Fritz Leiber / The Big Time


GARY K. WOLFE, editor, is Professor of Humanities in Roosevelt University’s Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies and the author, most recently, of Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature and Sightings: Reviews 2002-2006. He has received numerous awards for his critical writing including the British Science Fiction Association Award and the World Fantasy Award. He writes a monthly review column for Locus Magazine.

My Review:

I can describe this two volume series in one word – incredible.  These are the stories that brought science fiction to life for me as I grew up.  Admittedly I did not grow up with them, being born ten years later, but the list of names become quickly known to me and sought out.

Discovering Budrys’ Why? for the first time (I still have that copy) was one wild trip into the nether regions of one warped brain to be quickly followed by Bester and Blish.  Then there was the Shrinking Man, a novel I read after a movie adaption that was awful.  An example of the book being infinitely better than the film.  Then Sturgeon.

All of these are classics that need to be rediscovered.  To read them again was pure pleasure.  If you want a shortcut to the best science fiction of this decade, there are no better place to start than with these two volumes of important, critical and somewhat ignored masterpieces.

My Rating:

An easy 5 rocketships out of 5.

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