Ancient Rome had its famed Five Good Emperors--Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius, for those keeping track. And while science fiction might not have Edward Gibbons around to dole out similar, agreed-upon honors, everyone pretty much accepts the canonization of a few founding fathers: Asimov, Heinlein, Wells, and Bradbury all make the short list, as does--always--the venerable and venerated Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master and the winner of just about every SF award you care to mention.
So whether you're already familiar with his works or not (most notably Childhood's End and the Rama series), you certainly can't go wrong picking up this veritable brick of a collection--912 pages in all--as either primer or essential reference. Within you'll find virtually every short piece of fiction that Clarke has ever published, from 1937's endearingly twee (in retrospect) "Travel by Wire" to 1999's "Improving the Neighbourhood," the first sci-fi Nature ever published.
The Collected Stories is all short works (as short as 31 words in one case) and includes some of Clarke's best stories, including the lighthearted "Tales of the White Hart" and the momentous "The Star" and "The Nine Billion Names of God." --Paul Hughes
From Library Journal
Bringing together more than six decades of sf short stories that have helped to mold the genre, this collection of short fiction by Grandmaster Clarke serves as a definitive example of sf at its best. From such classic tales as "The Nine Billion Names of God" and "The Hammer of God" to lesser-known early tales and everything in between, this collection displays the author's fertile imagination and irrepressible enthusiasm for both good storytelling and impeccable science. With over 100 stories and nearly 1000 pages, this volume by the award-winning author of 2001: A Space Odyssey makes a fine addition to any library's short story or sf collection.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.