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Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the 20th Century Paperback – March 2, 2004
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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While some stories in Masterpieces lack fine prose and well-rounded characters, they are solid and engrossing entertainments. Other selections combine literary and science fiction virtues to produce a superior blend, and some of these stories--"Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson, "Snow" by John Crowley, "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison, "Face Value" by Karen Joy Fowler, "Tourists" by Lisa Goldstein, and "The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin--are art.
Masterpieces isn't an anthology for the well-read fan. However, it is a great book for the new or intermediate science fiction reader. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I, however, *can* forget several of these stories - and already have, a mere few days after reading them. Most of the forgettable stories are the more recent ones, which is probably not a coincidence. Early science fiction (pre-1960s, let's say) is almost inherently more worthwhile than most later science fiction, and the stories selected here are cases in point. Terry Bisson's "Bears Discover Fire" is a meandering inanity. "Dog Fight" by William Gibson and Michael Swanwick is a drugs and sex tale, "appealing" only in the way that Trainspotting was "appealing." "Rat" by James Patrick Kelly is similar.
There are, however, some truly, truly great stories here, which more than merit four stars. "The Tunnel Under the World" by Frederick Pohl, for example, ends with a revelation worth the price of admission. "Inconstant Moon" by Larry Niven is full of emotional impact as two individuals adjust to the thought of the sun going nova. George R. R. Martin's "Sandkings", despite being relatively recent, is a story that would might expect from Stephen King at the top of his game. Heinlein's "All You Zombies-" is a time-travel story to make the head spin. James Blish's "A Work of Art" puts Richard Strauss into the 22d century. Perhaps the most enjoyable of all is "Tunesmith" by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.Read more ›
I see some of the negative reviews here and wonder if the reviewers are conditioned to current levels of superficial reading material and media presentations that hit you hard with sensation but lack depth.
These stories grab your mind and if you hold on for the ride, the stories will take you to new experiences, perspectives and understanding of the human condition (and your own condition.)
Card gives us an introduction to each story like I have never seen in an anthology. He describes the author's work briefly. He describes the themes and style of the writing. He sums up metaphors, plots, character development and conflict developed without giving away the story. His introductions set the reader up to more fully appreciate the story. And, those introductions are even more valuable when you read them after you've read the story.
I highly recommend this book to reader and writers. The stories are sparkling jewels. Scott places them in an exquisite setting.
I'm including in this review my response to a reviewer who thought some of the stories, and particularly, "One," were too sorrowful and focused on despair. I disagree.
I just finished reading, "One," the Effinger story and the last story in Card's Masterpieces. I was left uplifted and moved and with a greater sense of my position in the universe. It was a gentle and startling story that brought me to a gentle and startling revelation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book for only one story inside but have since read almost all of the short stories and discovered a few new authors I may have never known of, so thank you.Published 5 months ago by Cody P.
At the beginning of each author's story is a well written background note about the impact each author had on the genre, the style of their writing, and where they fit into the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mark Hamman
This is a wonderful collection of scifi stories. It spans many years and is well worth giving it a try.Published 9 months ago by Peggy Elam
Another compilation.....different authors ....many stories.....some good , some bad, some in between....overall.....just what I expected!Published 9 months ago by Jesus Riesco
This is a nice Science Fiction anthology because all the writers are very different. I bought the book to read Heinlein's short - "All you Zombies-" and ended up reading... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Bryan S. Higby
Short book with the best and most varied collection of Sci/Fi stories I know. For an English college class. Very good choice as a textbook.Published 13 months ago by L.Tonesi