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Between Time and Terror Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1995
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I knew this was a book worth buying, and the heavyweights who I expected big things of did not fail to deliver (except for Asimov, only because his story is less than two pages long). Bradbury's horrific mix of fantasy and sci-fi is here, Heinlein's story has a really interesting concept, Arthur C. Clarke's story with an age-old theme is creepy, Simmons's story is haunting, Koontz's story is reminiscent of his earlier, edgier work, and Matheson's story is totally bizarre, similar feel to it as his story Dress of White Silk (which I have to say, is fine with me)
I also, just a little bit, HATE this book. I already have plenty of reading material to keep me going for a long time, and yet Soft by F. Paul Wilson (a fantastic premise and excellent story) and the Father Thing by Philip K. Dick (good old-fashioned scary type of story) impressed me so much that I've already bought a book by Wilson and am shopping around for Philip K. Dick. John Shirley and David Morrell (to which I said "who?") both have great stories in here, and I'll keep my eye out for those guys as well. Frank Belknap Long's story is decent. I liked it because it's just a bunch of wildly crazy chapters all mashed together.
The two biggest surprises to me were Robert Bloch and John W. Campell. The last story I read was Who Goes There? This story perhaps most of all represent this anthology perfectly. It's scientifically bizarre and wonderfully creepy. I have The Thing on my DVR, and I'll be watching it soon.
Bloch's story It Happened Tommorow is perhaps my favorite. Basically, the premise is simple: machines revolt against man. This fifty-five page novella is chaotic, action-packed, and alll around a very solid first impression of Bloch's writing for me.
The only downside was that I'd already read Barker's story before, and Clark Ashton Smith's story wasn't really for me. Smith's style is very similar to H.P. Lovecraft's, and try as I might, I just can't force myself to get into it (maybe someday, I hope).
"Dark Science Fiction" . . . if these three words are what your looking for, Between Time and Terror is a book you should buy immediately.
Another massive standout is "In The Vaults Of Yoh-Vombis" by Clark Ashton Smith, a writer from the "Weird Tales" era (20s-30s), who epitomizes the ability to blend Horror, Fantasy and early Science Fiction, and who deserves to be remembered with as much acclaim as Lovecraft and Robert Howard, but sadly isn't. This story takes place on an inhabited Mars, where a joint team of human astronauts and Martians (members of a civilization that was apparantly once much more flourishing than it is when the story takes place) exploring mysterious ancient ruins on the red planet.
Dan Simmons's "Metastasis" uncovers the shocking truth of what Really causes cancer; in one scene that's particularly effective for setting up to make the revelations believable, the man who's come up with the central theory argues against a psychiatrist's more rational explanations with an observation about what is supposed to cause cancer, saying something to the effect of 'have you seen the Medical Associaton's list of what causes cancer? It's Everything we eat, breathe, drink, touch or do to have fun. That's just the same as saying they don't know.' This and other arguements the story's protagonist presents make it eerily believable that there are more malign forces at work, at least in the context of the story.
Like stated above, not a bad story in here, one of the alltime best anthologies and an essential compilation for anyone into either Horror or Science Fiction (or both, of course). Other writers in the book are Frank Belknap Long, John Shirley, John W. Campbell (with "Who Goes There?", the basis for the movie "The Thing From Outer Space" and its remake "The Thing"), F. Paul Wilson, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Phillip K. Dick, Robert Bloch and Arthur C. Clarke, all of whom contribute works I think you'll be glad to have in your collection.
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1. "they" is by far the most interesting.