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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Science Fiction Century Hardcover – October 15, 1997

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Science Fiction Century is editor David G. Hartwell's ambitious attempt to create an anthology spanning 100 years of science fiction, beginning with stories from the 1890s. It is a veritable tome of science fiction that contains 45 tales in all, some from well-known genre authors such as Robert Silverberg and Jack Vance, and others from less science fictionally inclined writers such as Jack London and E. M. Forster. While Hartwell's selections will probably be seen as somewhat controversial (except for five stories, the anthology spans the period from 1950 onward, which is less than half a century at best), they all undeniably make for good--and more often great--reading.

From Library Journal

This anthology contains 45 short stories, mostly post-World War II and mostly American, representing the earliest writers in the genre (H.G. Wells, C.S. Lewis), Golden Age authors (Poul Anderson, A.E. Van Vogt), hard science and cyberpunk writers (William Gibson, Bruce Sterling), women authors (James Tiptree Jr., Connie Willis), and writers known outside science fiction (Michael Shaara, E.M. Forster). In his introduction, Hartwell places sf in the context of literary history and prefaces each story with a short biographical and bibliographical essay. While he purposely omits certain authors who have been heavily anthologized (Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin), Hartwell has chosen excellent examples representing 100 years of science fiction. Highly recommended for sf and literature collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (October 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312863381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312863388
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,913,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This wonderful collection offers a wide variety of the very best science fiction, not of the "square-jawed-heroes-and-beautiful-princesses" kind, but the kind of fiction that leads you to ponder about deep philosophical matters. I only do not rate it with the full rating of 5 stars because of a few rather uninspired choices, for example H.G.Wells's "A Story of the Days to Come." I like Wells but it is no mystery that some of his stories are not up to scratch, and this is one of them: preachy and curiously unvisionary (sometimes comically so, like, why on Earth did Wells believe that the quaint institution of the chaperone would survive so many years into the future? But then, probably all of Wells' good stuff has already been overanthologized). Others have apparently been included just for the sake of representing a particular author, rather than because of their quality. However, the selection has been mostly made based on excellence, and the few not-so-goods are largely compensated by the sterling quality of the rest of the stories, some of which are true masterpieces, like Poul Anderson's "Goat Song," a beautiful and haunting recreation of the myth of Orpheus, the deeply disturbing "Mother" by Philip José Farmer and "Consider Her Ways" by John Wyndham, the original and fairy-taleish "The King and the Dollmaker" by Wolfgang Jeschke, the poetic "Riding the Tide of Mourning" by Richard Lupoff, and many others, in fact too numerous to mention. Of special merit are the inclusions of modern classics like Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic" and Ellison's "Repent, Harlequin!" and others which are excellent but hard to find, like the exquisite but out of print "The Rose" by Charles Harness. A truly indespensable item for the sci-fi serious fan.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up at the library for two reasons: Beggars in Spain (Nancy Kress, 1991) had been recommended to me as one the best sci-fi stories ever and I adore Roger Zelazny. Sadly, Roger's addition to this tome was lacking. (Of course even bad Zelazny is usually better than good almost-anybody-else, as was the case here.)

This book isn't a collection of the greatest sci-fi from the last century, which is a real bummer because that's exactly what I was hoping for. Instead it's just a collection of random sci-fi stories from various authors spanning about a hundred years. The Acknowledgments page notes the absence of Asimov, Campbell, Clark, and Heinlein because they have been honored elsewhere and the editor didn't need them to clarify his point with this book. I'm not really sure what his point was though. To bring to light largely unknown sci-fi writers? That would be great if their work was worth remembering. I certainly didn't know C.S. Lewis wrote some sci-fi, of course that's probably just because it's not very good stuff and not worth remembering. This isn't to belittle the authors or their selected works. It's just that a title with the word "century" in it leads one to think the selections would mostly be the heavy-hitters instead of just the farm teams (with occasional standouts).

Only 13 of these stories are worth the time to read:
Beam Us Home (James Tiptree, Jr.)
A Work of Art (James Blish)
The Machine Stops (E.M.
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Format: Hardcover
This book purports to survey the evolution of science fiction over the course of the twentieth century, and in this regard is a fairly educational tome. It's nice, for example, to know that E.M. Forster and Rudyard Kipling (!) wrote short stories that could fairly be called science fiction, and that there was a controversy among serious writers at the beginning of the century regarding whether inexorable technical progress would bring utopia or dystopia, and I feel richer for knowing that. However, this vast (>800 pages!) anthology baldly ignores stories which explore two favorite subjects of mine (and, I assume, many other readers): the implications of interstellar travel, and speculation on the nature of alien intelligence. There are a few stories here which investigate these topics, but only a few, and I was left with the suspicion that either (a) Hartwell simply doesn't like/"get" aliens and space opera, and likes time travel and noodlings on dystopia a whole lot more, or (b) there were serious copyright or reproduction problems with enough of the major short stories and novellas which classically treat these subjects that the entire subgenre was ignored...there's one particular example in which the introductory abstract for a story glows *about another story by the same author*, and then treats us to one of his lesser works. There are definitely some gems here which I haven't seen elsewhere (e.g. Farmer's "Mother"), and the works chosen are unquestionably among the best-written of the genre, but after plowing through the dozens of stories I found myself missing a treatment of the aspects of science fiction that I personally enjoy the most. It might be a good gift for that special someone whom you've never been able to turn on to SF -- these are good transition stories; some so good that you don't even know you're reading science fiction.
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