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American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s Hardcover – September 27, 2012


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American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s + The Philip K. Dick Collection
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1750 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; Slp edition (September 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598531573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598531572
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 3.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Here's the heart of the heart of where those who take American science fiction seriously would want to begin -- the genre's equivalent of Hollywood's classical period, and the books subsequent creators like Thomas Pynchon and Stanley Kubrick used to bend their brains -- as well as a selection of novels as fresh and evocative as any hungry reader could hope to discover." 
(� Jonathan Lethem)

About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
If you are looking to read some old time SF, this would be a good collection to get.
Johnny Heering
The books and slipcase are very high quality as are all of the Library of America's editions.
Gilbert Huey
In my opinion the nine novels are all among the best science fiction novels of the 1950s.
Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

156 of 160 people found the following review helpful By William Davis on October 1, 2012
Is it too much too ask that Amazon list the nine novels in the collection? Here they are:
*Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants
*Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human
*Leigh Brackett, The Long Tomorrow
*Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man
*Robert A. Heinlein, Double Star
*Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination
*James Blish, A Case of Conscience
*Algis Budrys, Who?
*Fritz Leiber, The Big Time
I had to go to the LOA website to find out.
They're great books and I have other Library of America books that are beautifully made so 5 stars

UPDATE: Amazon responded to this comment by changing the listing to show the titles...Thanks Amazon!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Dynes on October 1, 2012
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For too long, science fiction has been banished to the margins of American literature. This splendid set goes a long way to repairing this injustice. The selections are varied and representative, the annotation is helpful, and the printing quality is exceptional. The dust jackets and box are works of art in themselves. Surely this set deserves an award as one of the best publications of 2012. Buy the set: when it arrives it will make your day. It certainly did mine.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Reader on September 27, 2012
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I received this collection today as promised, having ordered it when the first announcement was made some months ago. I have not read the novels again but wish to comment on the presentation. The books are produced to the same standard as other LoA books, with clean typography, high-quality paper and Brillianta cloth binding. The end notes explain the sources of the texts (for example the multiple versions of Alfred Bester's The Stars my Destination, originally published as Tiger, Tiger) and define many names and places that might be unfamiliar. There also is a web site with essays on the novels and other information (loa.org/sciencefiction).

In my opinion the nine novels are all among the best science fiction novels of the 1950s. There are some favorite authors missing, including Kurt Vonnegut, who has his own set of Library of America volumes, and Ray Bradbury, who may someday also have his own volume. But the selections are excellent and the presentation fine.

Plus, to buy the least expensive mass market paperbacks of the nine would cost significantly more than the price of these volumes.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 9, 2012
It needs to be noted that the illustration on the box that we see illustrated here is by Richard Powers and was originally the cover of the classic 1953 Ballantine Books # 33 CHILDHOOD'S END by Arthur C. Clarke. The painting is among my favorite works of art. It is a little odd to me, therefore, that the Powers 1953 cover was selected to illustrate this anthology of American SF because (1) Clarke was a British author and (2) CHILDHOOD'S END is not part of this set.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 28, 2012
Its great to see the Library of America publish more science fiction. As pointed out by the editor of this set, Gary Wolfe, the 1950s is the first period to see the publication of a signficant number of American Science Fiction novels, something made possible by an expanded market for Science Fiction. The genre attracted a number of talented writers and the 1950s are regarded often as a "Golden Age" for science fiction. Wolfe's selection is aimed clearly at anthologizing a wide spectrum of fine Science Fiction novels. All books selected are worthwhile reading and include a couple of the best Science Fiction novels ever published; Blish's A Case of Conscience and Bester's The Stars My Destination.

Like all such anthologies, some selections and omissions are contestable. Heinlein's Double Star, one of his best written novels, is included. But as a Science Fiction novel, Double Star is relatively weak and one or more of Heinlein's other 1950s novels like Rocket Ship Galileo or Starship Troopers, could have been selected. Leigh Brackett's The Long Tomorrow is selected as a post-holocaust novel but the best post-holocaust novel, Walter Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, is not. Similarly, some truly original and outstanding books such as Ward Moore's pioneering and very interesting parallel world novel, Bring The Jubilee, or Edgar Pangborn's A Mirror for Observers are not included.

Having published this book and a set of Philip Dick novels, I hope Library of America continues to publish more work in this important and distinctive branch of American literature.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Wandering boy VINE VOICE on October 10, 2012
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The Library of America has done it again! I wasn't old enough to be reading these in the 1950s when they were published, but I did come along in the 60s and discovered science fiction by finding a stash of old pulp magazines. It was instant love with a specific type of story.

As science fiction changed over the years, some of the directions taken were great and made wonderful reading, other directions were not quite as enjoyable to me, but I always missed the way it started. This compilation of novels is absolutely wonderful. It's like being taken back to the early years of science fiction writing.

For the younger readers of science fiction, that have not had the opportunity to experience this style of writing, I highly encourage your buying this set and enjoying it. You will fall in love with a totally different style, and one that set the bar for future writers.

Great reading.
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