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Going For Infinity: A Literary Journey (Poul Anderson Collection) Hardcover – June 29, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (June 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765303590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765303592
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,207,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Going for Infinity is a wonderful, wide-ranging collection that aptly showcases one of the greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy.

This collection presents some of Anderson's best-known work, interspersed with his own comments on writing and selected memories of his six-decade career. It's a successful combination: Anderson's likeable, thoughtful persona and his powerful, precise fiction balance and enrich each other, bringing fresh context to both. Highlights include "The Saturn Game" with its characteristic blend of science, psychology, and beautiful prose; "The Problem of Pain," which offers a provocative redefinition of the concept of God; and "Goat Song," a chilling reworking of Greek myth.

Anderson (who died in 2001) was a graceful and deeply humanistic writer who used impeccable science and convincing fantasy to explore the complexities of love, death, sacrifice, necessity, and the wonder of the world. This collection is a must-have for his fans and a splendid introduction for readers new to his work. --Roz Genessee

From Publishers Weekly

This posthumous retrospective anthology serves as a valentine to SFWA Grandmaster Anderson's legions of fans, and includes hard SF, first-contact stories, fantasy, detective fiction and sword and sorcery, sometimes melded together in surprising ways. Some tales (e.g., Sam Hall ) show their age but well reflect the writing popular at the time, while others, particularly those that play with fantasy elements (e.g., The Saturn Game ), underscore Anderson's tendency toward densely written, emotive prose, with a dollop of soul-satisfying melodrama. Among samples from his many series are The Master Key, a Nicholas van Rijn story from his Technic History series, and The Problem of Pain, one of his tales of the Poleosotechnic League. Both highlight the great divide between human and alien, but of chief interest is not the misunderstanding between the two but rather the human response to loss. The bittersweet Death and the Knight, part of the Time Patrol sequence, repeats a familiar Time Patrol plot (time traveler gone missing must be rescued), but with a twist. Classic must-read stories include Goat Song and The Queen of Air and Darkness, both of which foreground faerie. And Quest, in the sword-and-sorcery-meets-high-tech world of The High Crusade, posits an outer-space quest for the Holy Grail. Anderson provides brief headnotes for each story, full of anecdotes about fellow SF luminaries. This anthology represents the life's work of one of SF's most enduring and versatile writers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Smitherman on December 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Going for Infinity" contains eighteen stories by Poul Anderson, written over the course of a half-century. Fifty years is an immensely long time in the history of science fiction. It almost is the history of science fiction. In terms of literature, though, fifty years is nothing. Science fiction has hardly begun its life in human culture. No wonder, then, that it has changed so much since its birth, just like a baby does in its first few years. From mute and helpless infant, to crawler and communicator, to walker and talker.

Poul Anderson's writing covers in time most of the life of the genre of science fiction, but the stories in Going for Infinity range less widely in style and substance than the genre as a whole. Anderson says in the Introduction:

"What [Robert Gleason, my editor] had in mind [for this book] was not simply another collection, but a retrospective - besides stories, something about their origins, backgrounds, contexts, a historical overview of the science fiction and fantasy field throughout those decades."

Then Anderson immediately follows with:

"Of course, this isn't really possible. I have been only one writer among many, and how wonderfully diverse a lot they were and are! "

Anderson's own stories in this collection are largely the product of a fairly straightforward synergy of contemporary science (contemporary to the time of writing), and imagination. In introducing the first story, "The Saturn Game," published in 1981, he recounts his visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory a few years later "to witness Voyager One's flyby of this very planet." Anderson had also written another story set on the Saturnine moon Iapetus. Anderson wondered,

Would my speculation prove completely mistaken?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
GOING FOR INFINITY pays homage to one of the speculative fiction's greatest authors of the twentieth century by providing a taste of Poul Anderson's works as well as his retrospective thoughts over the six decades he wrote. The tales run the gamut of science fiction and fantasy with mystery thrown in showing how diverse a writer Mr. Anderson was. Some of the science fiction seems obsolete, but when looked from a historiographic perspective provides insight into the times the stories were written and into the mind of a creative individual. The fantasies and detective contributions hold up better as they clearly show Mr. Anderson's real talent of turning the obviously impossible into something that feels real and genuine; thus leaving the awed audience celebrating the classic works of a noteworthy renaissance writer.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
No single volume can encompass the "best of" an author like Poul Anderson, whose career spanned the history of, and set many of the benchmarks for the mixed genres of fantasy and hard science fiction. This volume is, rather, a collection of milestones that he, looking back, has identified along the way. Some are dated in their concepts and language (which he tells you up front, and they come by it honestly), but each presents you with a glittering gem of science fiction / fantasy history whose underlying ideas are as fresh today as when they first appeared. Above all, Poul Anderson understands and exalts the language. When you read a given verbal structure in an Anderson story, it is immediately clear to you, even if the verbiage is not commonplace, why it is worded the way it is and what it means. His prose often evokes the same exalted, multireferential effect that one receives from good poetry. As icing on this entirely edible cake, each story is placed in context with a brief preface provided by the author. This is a treasure.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Solem on September 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
very nice compilation of his stories.... mostly odd bits of ideas, but his writing is so charming they make for very nice reading
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