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The Best of C. M. Kornbluth Hardcover – November, 1977

3.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Hardcover, November, 1977
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Taplinger; 1st edition (November 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800807235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800807238
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,277,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
One day, perhaps, I shall work out why it is that bookstore shelves creak and groan under the weight of best-selling volumes whose greatest worth is as emergency toilet roll, while genuinely important, readable, inventive prose goes out of print before you can blink. Kornbluth is one of a number of almost forgotten writers, many of whom also died young, dismissed these days because they worked in science-fiction and the pulp markets. Little has been written since in the area of short stories to top the best of Kornbluth; and even those tales of his which have been overtaken by events (such as his story about the first manned rocket) are so original and well written that they remain far more than just period curiosities. Make the effort to find a copy of this collection and you are unlikely to regret it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"The Best" of C.M. Kornbluth contains two short stories, neither of which is his best known work "The Marching Morons." Even at $1.99, I hardly felt this was worth the purchase price. If you're looking for a good compilation of Kornbluth stories, I'd suggest "Eight Worlds of C.M. Kornbluth" instead.

UPDATE: I've heard the print version actually does have more stories. However, I've only purchased the Kindle version, and can say that the Kindle version only has two. So, the print version may be worth the money (I personally don't know), but the Kindle version is not.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is not a dud in this book...each story is a stone-cold SF masterpiece by a true genius who was cut down in his prime at age 35. If you haven't read Kornbluth, you are missing out on some of the finest SF stories anywhere. Includes the widely acknowledged SF masterwork, "The Marching Morons" that seems utterly prophetic for the 90s. Also has The Little Black Bag, many others. Kornbluth's work is almost too good for description. Funny, thought-provoking, fantastically prescient. And each story concludes with an absolute gem of a last line, some of the best finishes anywhere ("and the last thing he learned was that death is the end of pain" etc etc). If you like these, you will also love Kornbluth's brilliant satirical novel (co-authored with his best friend, Frederic Pohl), "The Space Merchants", a novel written in the 1950s that posits a world in which all of mankind has been taken over by gigantic advertising agencies...sounds a little too close to the truth for comfort? It is!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kindle edition of this is a ripoff. Apparently the dead tree edition contains lots of stories, as a "Best of" anthology should. That would be worth it. Kindle edition contains two -- counte 'em, two -- stories, badly formatted. Not worth anything.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought what I thought was a collection of stories including the marching morons. I feel like a moron because I wasted my money (even though it was only 1.99) on a book that only had two stories in it. It DOES NOT include the marching morons. The two stories included are the adventurer and the altar at midnight. This book comes up when you type in the marching morons and I bought it based on that and the first review that said it included the story in it. I will read more reviews in the future before I part with my money. RIP OFF!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many today may not know Kornbluth's name, but his bleak vision of popular culture can be seen, whether it is intentionally referenced in "RoboCop" or unintentionally paralled in "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"
Kornbluth is a fine example of why that period of time was called the Golden Age of science fiction. Even in stories where the plot may be dated, or in potboilers like "Valerie" (a novel written under a pseudonym), Kornbluth's writing is always a pleasure and worth reading simply for his use of language and treatment of characters.
It is a shame this brilliant man died so young (and thus selfishly depriving readers of more of hs writing) and remarkable that no one has written his biography.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
C.M. Kornbluth was science fiction's master of satire. He is best known for the novels "The Space Merchants" and "Gladiator at Law" (both collaborations with Frederik Pohl), which were simultaneously exciting future-based adventures and brilliantly funny skewerings of the excesses of 1950s American capitalism. Kornbluth's satirical bent is also seen in his famous short story "The Marching Morons."

This anthology includes none of Kornbluth's famous works, but every story here is well worth reading. (Unfortunately, there are only three stories in this collection, and all are short-- probably the only Kornbluth works that are in the public domain). "The Cosmic Expense Account" is a very funny satire of Eastern religious cults, self-improvement books, and similar fads. "The Adventurer," a satire on the politics of the Cold War, is equally funny--until the chilling last paragraph. The final story, "The Altar at Midnight," is not funny at all; a mordant tale of a broken-down spaceman on leave on earth, it also carries a surprise in its last paragraph, leaving the reader to question whether technological progress is worth the toll it takes on individuals.

UPDATE: This Kindle book included three stories when I bought it-- it now seems to include only two stories. Caveat emptor.
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