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World's Best Science Fiction: 1968

av Donald A. Wollheim (Redaktör), Terry Carr (Redaktör)

Andra författare: Brian W. Aldiss (Bidragsgivare), Isaac Asimov (Bidragsgivare), D. G. Compton (Bidragsgivare), Samuel R. Delany (Bidragsgivare), Thomas M. Disch (Bidragsgivare)10 till, Harlan Ellison (Bidragsgivare), Ron Goulart (Bidragsgivare), Colin Kapp (Bidragsgivare), R. A. Lafferty (Bidragsgivare), Larry Niven (Bidragsgivare), Andrew J. Offutt (Bidragsgivare), Keith Roberts (Bidragsgivare), Robert Silverberg (Bidragsgivare), Richard Wilson (Bidragsgivare), Roger Zelazny (Bidragsgivare)

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

Serier: World's Best SF (1968)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
1393187,245 (3.08)Ingen/inga

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Visar 3 av 3
  laplantelibrary | Apr 5, 2022 |
Published first as The World's Best Science Fiction 1968
  chilperic | Aug 22, 2014 |
This book has had the good fortune to have several lives under different names, some of which were the same as other books' names, leading to much bibliographic confusion. Hence I'll specify that this review is of the World's Best SF 1 edited by Donald Wollheim and Terry Carr, containing stories first published in 1967. It begins with 'See Me Not' by Richard Wilson, and ends with 'It's Smart to Have an English Address' by D.G. Compton.

It's a disappointing collection of science fiction short stories, all of them published in genre magazines in 1967. Co-editor Donald Wollheim was among the earliest fans of the science fiction magazines in the 1920s and '30s, and one of the original fans-turned-pro, largely as an editor. This selection seems largely to reflect the old-fashioned tastes of an old-fashioned fan, and seems like poor fare to a 21st century reader. It is tempting to imagine that the handful of not-dull stories were chosen by the younger editor, Terry Carr.

The editors' introduction invokes the Old Wave vs New Wave controversy that troubled much of the science fiction world at the time. To this reader it seems strange to regard anything in the collection as 'new wave', unless 'new wave' is code for 'competently written'.

This collection contains the great 'I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream' by Harlan Ellison and 'The Man Who Loved the Fiaoli' by Roger Zelazny; and 'Hawksbill Station' by Robert Silverberg, later expanded to novel length, though the original is good enough that it's hard to see how more could be better. There's the pretty good 'Coranda' by Keith Roberts, and 'Driftglass' by Samuel Delany. Lafferty's 'Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne' has an oddball charm, and may even make sense. Well, maybe not. Aldiss's 'Full Sun' is so-so, but at least has the distinction of being one of the few really weird stories in the volume.

There are a lot of what I think of as 'Analog stories'. Analog is a science fiction magazine which is very much based in the notion that the term 'science fiction' means something, and that science fiction should have something to do with science. This seems as absurd to me as that romance novels should have romans in them. What is 'science' anyway? Surely everything is in its domain -- but those who want science fiction to have something to do with 'science' invariably have some very narrow sense of science as an academic discipline. What is the sense of wanting a genre of fiction that concerns in some way a narrow range of topics discussed in a particular department of the university? That would lead to stories like Asimov's 'Billiard Ball', perversely regarded by at least one of the editors as one of the best sf stories published in 1967: surely one of his dullest works, but it's about science so in it goes.

The other aspect of this narrow view of 'science fiction' is of course the 'social effects of advances in technology' story, because technology sort of has something to do with science. Compton's 'It's Smart to Have an English Address' is one of these. The main driver of the story is the suspense generated by the question 'What is the sf premise of this seemingly mundane story supposed to be and oh god when will it finally be revealed?', and the revelation late in the story does not justify anything the reader has endured till then. The story, and I suppose many others in this sf subgenre, can be summarised thus: protagonist mopes around for quite a lot of pages, like someone in a mundane story that even mundane readers wouldn't be interested in; finally the sf premise of the story is revealed: a technological innovation!; the protagonist dislikes this innovation a lot.

I haven't read anything else by Compton, but his novel 'The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe' sounds like something I'd like to read. (It's yet another reality-TV-story-published-before-reality-TV). I'm hoping this story was unrepresentative.

'The Sword Swallower' by Ron Goulart, another writer I haven't read before but who seemed interesting, is a barely-publishable superhero comic of a story, in which a super-powered hero uses his super power to get out of various sci-fi thriller situations. It feels like 'With one bound Jack was free', over and over. Offutt's 'Population Implosion' takes a silly premise very seriously and works out its implications like a serious science fiction story of the Analog variety might, but the premise isn't quite silly enough for it to be very amusing. It's the kind of story that might have been published in Unknown in the 1940s.

All told, this collection makes 1967 look like it was a pretty bleak year in the world of magazine science fiction. Admittedly, a quick scan of the contents pages of the principal magazines does not reveal many 'how could they have missed that!' titles, so this may not be entirely down to the selection in this book. This book was never going to include Ballard's 'The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race', though 'The Cloud Sculptors of Coral D' doesn't seem to be out of the question. Perhaps by 1967 the energies of the great sf writers had already been redirected from the short story to the novel. ( )
1 rösta PhileasHannay | Jul 6, 2010 |
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» Lägg till fler författare

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Wollheim, Donald A.Redaktörprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Carr, TerryRedaktörhuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Aldiss, Brian W.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Asimov, IsaacBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Compton, D. G.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Delany, Samuel R.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Disch, Thomas M.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Ellison, HarlanBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Goulart, RonBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Kapp, ColinBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Lafferty, R. A.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Niven, LarryBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Offutt, Andrew J.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Roberts, KeithBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Silverberg, RobertBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Wilson, RichardBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Zelazny, RogerBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
久志, 浅倉Översättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Gaughan, JackOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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This book has been published with at least three titles, several of which are likely to lead to 'combining' errors in LibraryThing.
It is:
'World's Best Science Fiction: 1968' (published by Ace in 1968);
'World's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Series' (published by Ace in 1970); and
'World's Best S.F. No. 1' (published by Sphere in 1971.)(NOTE: not to be confused with 1974 volume Titled: "The World's Best SF Short Stories No. 1")
To help in disambiguation: this book contains stories originally published in 1967, the first being 'See Me Not' by Richard Wilson.
My sources: The Internet SF Database for the Ace editions, and my own copy for the Sphere edition.
UK Sphere edition (1971) of World's Best Science Fiction: 1968, aka World's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Series
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