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I picked this book up at a used book sale intending to hold it in reserve for when I ran out of "better" reading material. Was I ever mistaken! This book is excellent! It consists of almost two dozen highly imaginative and downright mind-jarring tales of science fiction from mainly the 1950s and 60s. The first five are especially excellent. There isn't a bad one in the bunch and yet many of the authors have apparently become obscure since its publication. They do not deserve such a fate
The first stepping stones is Mars, then the plumed beauty of the winged planet, the telepathic wizardry of a world yearning to bestow utopia upon earthlings, the hospital plant that dispenses immortality to space Gods, and finally, the foundation is laid atop the rubble of fallen star systems - an Empire, vast and glorious, stretching from galactic horizon to the oracle planet of the future... Terminus.
Shaped by a unique vision, GLACTIC EMPIRES is a brilliant mosaic of a quarter century of the best writing in science fiction. It is both a chronicle of man's outward move from Earth and a collection of fourteen original views of space conquest. Volume One tells of galactic war and the rise of an Empire, Volume Two follows the Empire's destiny and man's ultimate destiny in space...
* Been a Long Long Time - R. A. Lafferty * The Possessed - Arthur C. Clarke * Protected Species - H. B. Fyfe * All the Way Back - Michael Shaara * The Star Plunderer - Poul Anderson * Foundation [short story] - Isaac Asimov * We're Civilized - Mark Clifton and Alex Apostolides * The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal - Cordwainer Smith * The Rebel of Valkyr - Alfred Coppel * Brightness Falls from the Air - Margaret StClair * Immigrant - Clifford D. Simak * Resident Physician - James White * Age of Retirement - Mal Lynch * Planting Time - Pete Adams & Charles Nightingale
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Part of a series of books supposedly looking at lighter adventure type stories, and in particular Galactic Empires, of course, even if again, Aldiss doesn't manage to hold to that particularly rigorously.
He also claims to want to rescue magazine stories, as anthologists only look at other anthologies!?
Neither of which makes sense when you see what he has done. Of all people you would list as needing to be rescued from obscurity, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke would probably be last and second last on the list. Even more so in 1976.
Some other decent choices here though, and he divides the book up into a few sections, the last being on medicine in space.
Galactic Empires 1 : Been a Long Long Time - R. A. Lafferty Galactic Empires 1 : The Possessed - Arthur C. Clarke Galactic Empires 1 : Protected Species - H. B. Fyfe Galactic Empires 1 : All the Way Back - Michael Shaara Galactic Empires 1 : The Star Plunderer - Poul Anderson Galactic Empires 1 : Foundation [short story] - Isaac Asimov Galactic Empires 1 : We're Civilized - Mark Clifton and Alex Apostolides Galactic Empires 1 : The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal - Cordwainer Smith Galactic Empires 1 : The Rebel of Valkyr - Alfred Coppel Galactic Empires 1 : Brightness Falls from the Air - Margaret StClair Galactic Empires 1 : Immigrant - Clifford D. Simak Galactic Empires 1 : Resident Physician - James White Galactic Empires 1 : Age of Retirement - Mal Lynch Galactic Empires 1 : Planting Time - Pete Adams & Charles Nightingale
Or hopefully will be, before another monkeys and Shakespeare story.