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All One Universe Mass Market Paperback – May 15, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

During a luminous career spanning nearly half a century, Anderson has cultivated a remarkably poetic style for a writer whose specialty is hard science fiction. In his latest collection of fiction and essays, he also reminds us how far his imagination reaches, as the themes of a colorful assortment of stories range from life on other planets to alternative history. In "The Voortrekkers," he poignantly recounts the fate of two galactic explorers whose identities are, with each planetary landing, recycled in new bodies. "In Memoriam" hauntingly describes the last moments of human history and the eventual engulfment of the earth by the sun. In outstanding nonfiction pieces, Anderson insightfully eulogizes legendary sf editor John W. Campbell; reappraises the legacy of Rudyard Kipling, who dabbled in fantasy; and provides extracts from his personal diary during the Voyager flyby of Neptune. Must reading for Anderson's legion of fans, this book is also a perfect introduction to his perennial genius. Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A fine introduction to one of SF's masters."--Starlog

"Fact and fiction, shaped by one of SF's keenest minds, are mingled in this collection....On the whole, All One Universe is a collection which does its creator proud while delighting his fans."--Rapport

"Poul Anderson's writings have been at a remarkably high, consistent level of quality for nearly fifty years, now. All One Universe is a book for anyone interested in either SF or in craftsmanship."--David Drake
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (May 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812539095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812539097
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,052,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Poul Anderson always brings thoughtful provocative pros
to the readers of his fine works. As a follower of most of
Anderson's offerings over the years I find that
All One Universe gives the reader a chance to look into
Anderson's own thinking in the selection of the short
stories and editorials on some of the great contributors in
Literature. In fact, it is the celebration of man's
accomplishments throughout history and in literature that
Anderson treats us here in this collection as he has done
so well in other books. I dare say that this book as much as
any I can remember in recent memory shouts at us to get out
and read: science, hard science fiction, and the wealth of
literature that is available - and that's inspirational!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The reason I purchased this book was for the essay called "Uncleftish Beholding", an essay attempting to describe subatomic physics without using any scientific words. A friend of mine described it as using Anglo-Saxon words, and, indeed, much of the text relies on the short and to-the-point language characterizing Anglo-Saxons. In saying so much with so little, Poul Anderson crafted a shrewd, beautiful and unorthodox look at the science of the smallest of the small.

My friend told me that if science were explained to her as in "Uncleftish Beholding," she would have stuck with the sciences.

Poul Anderson's other works are a collection of his paleoanthropological "what-ifs" and his view of the historical times of space science he witnessed.

The science-fiction stories are insightful and sometimes brutal. They portray characteristics of sentient beings that we can relate to, as we still pursue some of the same things his characters have pursued, and for many of the same reasons.

The historical stories bring you right up close to the Apollo launches and all the events that surrounded it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
_All One Universe_ is a fine collection of (very) short stories and non-fiction essays, the personal choices of Poul Anderson himself. Many of the short stories are excellent (although some of them offer such a tantalizing taste of Anderson's inner fantasy world that you want to cry out for longer pieces); some are based on his existing work, and some are completely new.
The non-fiction pieces provide an interesting break, although they are not as entertaining -- most of them involve Anderson trying to sell the reader on a particular author or concept; I guess you can't blame a man late in his life for that indulgence.
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Format: Hardcover
Well, he casts a wide net. The stories and essays reveal a deep background in reading and thinking. The only problem is that sometimes it almost seems the story is mainly a vehicle to display that knowledge. For instance, "Loser's Night" is about an inn that stands outside time, where at any moment the patrons in the bar may include a medieval French poet and Winston Churchill...and they all talk to each other (the language thing is taken care of without any fuss, they just understand each other). The "imaginary conversations" genre is a nice way to let ideas rub up against each other and see what emerges. And yes, I'm impressed that he has knows his Francois Villon, throws in a casual reference to that masterpiece the Ballade of the Hanged Men, and has Villon writing verse in the ballade form that he did use. A ballade's verses all end with the same line - the refrain - and Anderson has a quite authentically neck-tingling refrain, with the perfect ballade rhythm: "Even the dead have much to lose." So I liked the story...but yet...

In the same way, there's a pure verbal-and-mental-exercise piece, "Uncleftish Beholding." This is an account of physics written as it might have been if there had never been a Norman Conquest: in other words, he finds or invents an Anglo-Saxon word for everything: not a single word of Roman or Greek origin is allowed. For instance, here's the definition of elements: "The underlying kinds of stuff are the firststuffs, which link together in sundry ways to give rise to the rest. Formerly we knew of ninety-two firststuffs ..." Atoms are "unclefts", molecules are "bulkbits", and my favorite is the wonderful term for radioactive decay, "lightrotting"(!) The invented terms are italicized in the story, BTW.
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