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The End of the World: Stories of the Apocalypse Paperback – July 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A sensitive introduction by Robert Silverberg sets the tone for 19 varied glimpses of humankind's ending, arranged thematically and ranging from the nuclear bang of Norman Spinrad's "The Big Flash" to the sad whimper of George R.R. Martin's poignant "Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels." Lester Del Rey's wrenching "Kindness" nods to the last living Homo sapiens while John Helfers's "Afterward" envisions a blue-whitebrown planet sterilized of human contamination. Orson Scott Card's "Salvage" and Nancy Kress's elegiac "Fools Like Me" eloquently humanize the inhuman and convincingly imagine the unimaginable. Even longtime SF fans who know many of these classic stories will be thrilled to have them all in one place, a moving and powerful reminder of humanity's capacity for self-destruction and powerful will to survive.
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Review

“Starred Review. Even longtime SF fans who know many of these classic stories will be thrilled to have them all in one place, a moving and powerful reminder of humanity's capacity for self-destruction and powerful will to survive.” (Publishers Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (July 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602399670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602399679
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,104,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Randy Stafford VINE VOICE on March 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
There aren't any bad stories here, but there is a certain looseness in adhering to the criteria of the title. We have stories where man has vanished all together, stories where man has evolved, stories where the modern world has been apocalyptically transformed, and stories showing that transformation in progress and one story that is none of those.

I suspect the collection started out as an updating of the classic anthology The Last Man on Earth co-edited by Greenberg. The volumes share many stories, and Silverberg's learned introduction about the history of the disaster sub-genre of science fiction mentions twenty stories for the collection instead of its actual 19 with Frederic Brown's "Knock", which appeared in the former collection, actually not being here.

Because fashions in the end of the world change, I decided, rather than following the thematic groupings and order of the stories, I'll list them in chronological order of original publication.

"Kindness", Lester del Rey (1944) -- The last man on earth is retarded - at least compared to the homo intelligens which have replaced us homo sapiens. Tired of their condescension, he makes plans to escape to space.

"Flight to Forever", Poul Anderson (1950) - Anderson's story of a time traveler doomed to press ever onward into the future and see how none of man's and alien's works ever last.

"'If I Forget Thee O Earth ... '", Arthur C. Clarke (1951) - The frequently anthologized tale of man in exile from the radioactive ruins of Earth.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun on October 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection is creatively laid out in main sections that provide the reader with a clear taxonomy: Bang or Whimper, The Last Man, Life After the End, Dark - Distant Futures, and Witnesses to the End of the World. It features quality writers that come at the 'Apocalypse' from varied viewpoints. Also interesting is the span in the dates of publication of the stories ranging from 1944 to 2007 - it was interesting to read an individual entry and try to place it in the approximate year it was written. I had read Salvador, Salvage, and Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels in other books but this did not detract from my overall enjoyment. Standouts included: The Underdwellar (classic with a twist), Lucifer (pathetically longing for the past), The Wheel (reminiscent of The Lottery), and Flight to Forever (entertaining homage to The Time Machine). A solid collection.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By forsoothsayer on February 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was disappointed with this collection. As other reviewers have pointed out, some of the stories really have nothing to do with the topic, and other stories simply aren't very engaging. It is an anthology with few shining stars. The thing is: there are excellent stories out there on the theme of the End of the World.

Here is a list of some of them:

Bang or whimper?

In Fading Suns and Dying Moons -- John Varley

Last Contact -- Stephen Baxter

The First Days of May -- Claude Veillot

Last Man on Earth

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream -- Harlan Ellison

Patient Zero -- Tannarive Due

Life After the End

A Colder War -- Charles Stross

The Certificate -- Avram Davidson

A Pail of Air -- Fritz Leiber

Find the Lady -- Nicholas Fisk

Days of Perky Pat -- Philip K. Dick

Dark Distant Futures

A Dry Quiet War -- Tony Daniel

Coelacanths -- Robert Reed

The Waters of Meribah -- Tony Ballantyne

Witnesses to the End

The Rest is Speculation -- Eric Brown

The Game of Blood and Dust -- Robert Silverberg

The Children of Time -- Stephen Baxter
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. P. Cotta Jr. on April 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Well, not all of them, perhaps. But enough of the nineteen entries in "The End of the World -- Stories of the Apocalypse," edited by Martin H. Greenberg, failed to spark my imagination that they seriously detract from the whole.

On the surface, the book seems to offer the cream of Science Fiction writers -- from master's from the classic years like Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, Roger Zelazny, and Lester Del Rey, to more recent rising stars, such as Orson Scott Card. And the stories span a period from 1944 (del Rey's "Kindness") through 2007 (selections by Rick Hautala and Nancy Kress). It seems to be a scrumptious smorgasbord of juicy sci-fi stories. Alas, they looked better than they tasted.

In science fiction, as in any genre, the idea supporting the story is the real story. In this collection, few if any of the offerings are based on ideas which fascinated me. By way of contrast, consider the diabolical minds which destroy the Earth in Greg Bears "The Forge of God." Or the can't-put-it-down realism woven by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in "Lucifer's Hammer." Or the dismal fatalism of Nevil Shute's "On the Beach." None of the entries in this anthology even come close.

Science fiction also explores our own nature, and speculates on how advances in technology or Humankind's venture into space will affect our personalities, our culture, our values and beliefs. Some of the nineteen offerings here do manage to unite the reader with a character who is familiar or sympathetic, allowing us to share the protagonist's pain, their loneliness, their sense of self, and more. Among these are Poul Anderson's "Flight to Forever;" George R. R. Martin's "Dark, Dark were the Tunnels;" and Lester Del Rey's "Kindness.
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