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13 Great Stories of Science Fiction

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From today's most celebrated writers of science fiction comes this baker's dozen. Contents: Introduction • essay by Groff Conklin The War is Over • by Algis Budrys The Light • (1957) • by Poul Anderson Compassion Circuit • by John Wyndham Volpla • (1956) • by Wyman Guin Silence, Please! (Tales from the White Hart) • by Arthur C. Clarke Allegory • by William T. Powers Soap Op From today's most celebrated writers of science fiction comes this baker's dozen. Contents: Introduction • essay by Groff Conklin The War is Over • by Algis Budrys The Light • (1957) • by Poul Anderson Compassion Circuit • by John Wyndham Volpla • (1956) • by Wyman Guin Silence, Please! (Tales from the White Hart) • by Arthur C. Clarke Allegory • by William T. Powers Soap Opera • by Alan Nelson Shipping Clerk • by William Morrison Technological Retreat • by G.C. Edmondson The Analogues • by Damon Knight The Available Data on the Worp Reaction • by Lion Miller The Skills of Xanadu • by Theodore Sturgeon The Machine • by Richard Gehman


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From today's most celebrated writers of science fiction comes this baker's dozen. Contents: Introduction • essay by Groff Conklin The War is Over • by Algis Budrys The Light • (1957) • by Poul Anderson Compassion Circuit • by John Wyndham Volpla • (1956) • by Wyman Guin Silence, Please! (Tales from the White Hart) • by Arthur C. Clarke Allegory • by William T. Powers Soap Op From today's most celebrated writers of science fiction comes this baker's dozen. Contents: Introduction • essay by Groff Conklin The War is Over • by Algis Budrys The Light • (1957) • by Poul Anderson Compassion Circuit • by John Wyndham Volpla • (1956) • by Wyman Guin Silence, Please! (Tales from the White Hart) • by Arthur C. Clarke Allegory • by William T. Powers Soap Opera • by Alan Nelson Shipping Clerk • by William Morrison Technological Retreat • by G.C. Edmondson The Analogues • by Damon Knight The Available Data on the Worp Reaction • by Lion Miller The Skills of Xanadu • by Theodore Sturgeon The Machine • by Richard Gehman

30 review for 13 Great Stories of Science Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I stumbled across this book while digging through my collection - it dates back to not only the early days of my adventures in reading science fiction but also to before I was bone in that the earlier editions (this was the third edition) go back to the 60s. Back then I voraciously collected books to read, trying new authors trying to find what I enjoyed and what I didn't, what styles interested me and those than challenged me. This book although showing its age (sadly books from that time where I stumbled across this book while digging through my collection - it dates back to not only the early days of my adventures in reading science fiction but also to before I was bone in that the earlier editions (this was the third edition) go back to the 60s. Back then I voraciously collected books to read, trying new authors trying to find what I enjoyed and what I didn't, what styles interested me and those than challenged me. This book although showing its age (sadly books from that time where printed on pages that now yellow and become brittle) the binding is immaculate however what really shows its age are the stories themselves. Its not a bad thing - more the fact that I cannot help but think of the world these stories were written in and the history that has happened that I now take for granted had yet to happen. For me it makes these stories so much more extraordinary as the minds that wrote them didn't have the references or influences that I take so much for granted. So these 13 stories may not be famous or ground breaking - some are written by authors you would instantly recognise however the majority even now I do not instantly know however they are all fascinating and great reads in their own way and I think that is why I have kept this anthology all these years - its something different and in a world that has seen so much science fiction become science fact it is still a wonder that the genre can still challenge us all the years after the stories were written. I think I may go digging through my books more often.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Alfonseca

    ENGLISH: This is the first time I've read this collection of science-fiction short stories, in a Spanish translation. The best story (for me) was "The machine," by Richard Gehman, but the stories by Poul Anderson, John Wyndham and Arthur Clarke were also quite good. ESPAÑOL: Leí este libro en dos traducciones diferentes al español (una publicada en México y la otra en España). También he leído algunos de los cuentos en el inglés original. Comparar las traducciones con los originales ha sido una ex ENGLISH: This is the first time I've read this collection of science-fiction short stories, in a Spanish translation. The best story (for me) was "The machine," by Richard Gehman, but the stories by Poul Anderson, John Wyndham and Arthur Clarke were also quite good. ESPAÑOL: Leí este libro en dos traducciones diferentes al español (una publicada en México y la otra en España). También he leído algunos de los cuentos en el inglés original. Comparar las traducciones con los originales ha sido una experiencia interesante. Para mí, el mejor de los 13 cuentos es "La máquina", de Richard Gehman, pero los de Poul Anderson, John Wyndham y Arthur Clarke son también bastante buenos.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Eckhaus

    Looks like a quick one, a stellar lineup of shorter pieces. The War Is Over by Algis Budrys: Nice start, too-tenacious soldier trope. The Light by Poul Anderson: First moon trip, surprise discovery Compassion Circuit by John Wyndham: Predictable to an extent, some ambiguity. Volpla by Wyman Guin: Flawed but compelling, with a modern feel, dangerous (granted, mildly) creation trope. Silence, Please! by Arthur C Clarke: Exploited scientist, low-key humor. Allegory by William T Powers (a new author to me Looks like a quick one, a stellar lineup of shorter pieces. The War Is Over by Algis Budrys: Nice start, too-tenacious soldier trope. The Light by Poul Anderson: First moon trip, surprise discovery Compassion Circuit by John Wyndham: Predictable to an extent, some ambiguity. Volpla by Wyman Guin: Flawed but compelling, with a modern feel, dangerous (granted, mildly) creation trope. Silence, Please! by Arthur C Clarke: Exploited scientist, low-key humor. Allegory by William T Powers (a new author to me): Bureaucracy stifles comprehension of the obvious. Soap Opera by Alan Nelson (another unknown to me): More wronged inventor humor, worn on its sleeve. . Shipping Clerk by William Morrison: More light tone, not sure how to take the ending. Technological Retreat by GC Edmundson: Deal with aliens treated with levity, yields surprising results. The Analogues by Damon Knight: Unusual social sf, a standout here. The Available Data on the Worp Reaction by Lion Miller: A fanciful piece to be sure... but, great? The Skills of Xanadu by Theodore Sturgeon: Skipped this, as I've read the author's Complete Stories, will recommend it on that basis, but am unable to provide further assessment. The Machine by Richard Gehman: An effective satire on automation's effect on meaningful employment, as well as media influence (and military susceptibility.) My low rating (just passable) is due to the expectations raised by the title -- too much comedy, not enough meat, excitement or originality.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Phil Giunta

    It’s a rare occasion when I enjoy every story in an anthology almost equally. This is one of those times. All 13 tales in this collection are, as the title informs us, great. I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise given the talent involved including Arthur C. Clarke, Ted Sturgeon, Poul Anderson, Damon Knight, and others. However, were I forced to choose favorites, those would be… “The War is Over” by Algis Budrys - Years after an Earth ship carrying an urgent message crash lands on an alien world It’s a rare occasion when I enjoy every story in an anthology almost equally. This is one of those times. All 13 tales in this collection are, as the title informs us, great. I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise given the talent involved including Arthur C. Clarke, Ted Sturgeon, Poul Anderson, Damon Knight, and others. However, were I forced to choose favorites, those would be… “The War is Over” by Algis Budrys - Years after an Earth ship carrying an urgent message crash lands on an alien world, the inhabitants construct a vessel to return the message to Earth, though they’re not entirely certain why or even how they learned to build such a craft… In “Allegory,” William T. Powers offers an entertaining yet frightening glimpse into a humanity controlled by computers and where independent thinking is considered a mental aberration. In John Wyndham’s “Compassion Circuit,” Janet Shand, a fragile and fretful housewife, is forced to come to terms with Hester, an android servant programmed with emotions. It isn’t long before Janet begins to rely on Hester for her daily care—until she becomes convinced that there is a better way to live through robotics. Arthur C. Clarke delivers a brilliant send up of corporate guile in “Silence, Please!” To get even with unscrupulous businessman Sir Roderick Fenton, a professor invents a portable sound-cancelling device and sells the patent to Fenton. The professor’s associates are mystified by his decision, until they observe how the devices are used when sold to the public, putting Fenton in the government’s crosshairs. In Wyman Guin’s “Volpla,” a scientist creates a new, highly intelligent biological species with the ability to fly, speak, adapt, and reproduce. He fabricates a backstory that they had originated on another world and only recently came to Earth. Surely, this gag will spark the intended panic in the zoological community once the creatures are released into the wild. Unfortunately, the biologist’s plan backfires when the Volpla’s take a drastic course of action to preserve their race… Alan Nelson’s lighthearted “Soap Opera” delivers the hysterical tale of a hapless young member of a soap manufacturer’s advertising team who experiments with skywriting as a marketing tool. “The words vanish too quickly!” cries the company’s owner, sending Everett Mordecai on a quest to find a more permanent solution—one that covers the entire city of San Francisco… What happens when the government implants a second personality into its citizens, one that forces them to be docile, to be behave contrary to their natural tendencies? In “Analogues,” Damon Knight deftly presents us with this disturbing possibility… When a homeless man named Ollie swallows what he think is a nut, he suddenly finds his appetite insatiable, no matter how much he eats. After winning an egg-eating competition by consuming over 100 eggs, Ollie is taken to the hospital to be examined. Shortly after, strange foreign objects materialize in Ollie’s stomach, causing intense pain and swelling. At the same time, two aliens arrive after realizing that their matter transfer device is inside poor Ollie. The question is… now what? We find out in William Morrison’s “Shipping Clerk.” G.C. Edmondon’s “Technological Retreat” brings us the story of extraterrestrial technology run amuck when humans trade simple Earth goods for a device that can instantly repair damage to any surface by making it malleable enough to reshape. It isn’t long before the aliens begin disseminating the device across the planet, with devastating effects on human evolution. In Ted Sturgeon’s “The Skills of Xanadu,” a haughty scout sent by an advanced alien race lands on the bucolic world of Xanadu. While reluctantly spending time among the primitive “barbarians” of this world, Bril marks them as ripe for conquest. Yet, he finds their manufacturing abilities beyond comprehension. When Bril finally discovers the source of their power in the form of polished stones worn as part of their clothing, he takes one back to his homeworld—where the true conquest begins.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "Inventions" is the theme of this anthology, from ones that do everything to ones that do nothing at all, both living and inanimate. It's a broad topic and the stories are varied. Several of them are funny, with quite a bit of satire. Here are some of my favorites: "Compassion Circuit" by John Wyndham - Think Asimov's first rule of robotics is a wise one? Think again. "Volpla" by Wyman Guin - A mischievous geneticist plans to unleash a hoax upon society. "Allegory" by William T. Powers - An invento "Inventions" is the theme of this anthology, from ones that do everything to ones that do nothing at all, both living and inanimate. It's a broad topic and the stories are varied. Several of them are funny, with quite a bit of satire. Here are some of my favorites: "Compassion Circuit" by John Wyndham - Think Asimov's first rule of robotics is a wise one? Think again. "Volpla" by Wyman Guin - A mischievous geneticist plans to unleash a hoax upon society. "Allegory" by William T. Powers - An inventor has great difficulty getting the establishment to accept his latest creation, because its existence contradicts known "facts." "Technological Retreat" by G.C. Edmondson - A pair of aliens offers a technological exchange with an Earthling...who is also a die-hard capitalist. "The Analogues" by Damon Knight - A dangerous vision of a possible future where an implant can alter people's perceptions to prevent crime. "Soap Opera" by Alan Nelson - A fed-up researcher decides to turn the tables on his employer. "Silence, Please!" by Arthur C. Clarke - A tale of corporate espionage involving a device that can cancel sound.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    [***] The War is Over • by Algis Budrys [****] The Light • (1957) • by Poul Anderson [**] Compassion Circuit • by John Wyndham [***] Volpla • (1956) • by Wyman Guin [*] Silence, Please! (Tales from the White Hart) • by Arthur C. Clarke [***] Allegory • by William T. Powers [**] Soap Opera • by Alan Nelson [**] Shipping Clerk • by William Morrison [***] Technological Retreat • by G.C. Edmondson [***] The Analogues • by Damon Knight [**] The Available Data on the Worp Reaction • by Lion Miller [** [***] The War is Over • by Algis Budrys [****] The Light • (1957) • by Poul Anderson [**] Compassion Circuit • by John Wyndham [***] Volpla • (1956) • by Wyman Guin [*] Silence, Please! (Tales from the White Hart) • by Arthur C. Clarke [***] Allegory • by William T. Powers [**] Soap Opera • by Alan Nelson [**] Shipping Clerk • by William Morrison [***] Technological Retreat • by G.C. Edmondson [***] The Analogues • by Damon Knight [**] The Available Data on the Worp Reaction • by Lion Miller [****] The Skills of Xanadu • by Theodore Sturgeon [****] The Machine • by Richard Gehman

  7. 5 out of 5

    Oana Mihoc

    Should a robot be able to overlook its master's orders if the robot's compassion circuit (which mimics human consciousness) deems it best? What happens when a person's free will and consent become merely terms analyzed by robots? The short story sets to answer these questions by analyzing the way in which the consequences of technological advancement are not always positive and ready to embrace. Should a robot be able to overlook its master's orders if the robot's compassion circuit (which mimics human consciousness) deems it best? What happens when a person's free will and consent become merely terms analyzed by robots? The short story sets to answer these questions by analyzing the way in which the consequences of technological advancement are not always positive and ready to embrace.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris Aldridge

    See Allegory by William T. Powers

  9. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Addendum, July, 2018 When I wrote this review, "Volpla" was listed on Goodreads as a stand-alone e-book. Some over-zealous Goodreads librarian has evidently decided that I must have meant this to be a review of part of a Groff Conklin anthology. I did not. It appears that other reviews of individual stories in this book were also changed into incomplete reviews of the anthology. I grew up reading and loving Conklin anthologies, including 13 Great Stories of Science Fiction, but as my review made Addendum, July, 2018 When I wrote this review, "Volpla" was listed on Goodreads as a stand-alone e-book. Some over-zealous Goodreads librarian has evidently decided that I must have meant this to be a review of part of a Groff Conklin anthology. I did not. It appears that other reviews of individual stories in this book were also changed into incomplete reviews of the anthology. I grew up reading and loving Conklin anthologies, including 13 Great Stories of Science Fiction, but as my review made plain, that is not what I was writing about. This is not really a review of an electronic version of this story but rather of the original printed story in the May, 1956 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. This review is excerpted from my review of that issue. Wyman Guin is my choice for one of the two most unjustly forgotten science fiction authors of the 1950's. (The other is T. L. Sherred.) I first read "Volpla" as an adolescent and liked it very much. Now I realize how loony the basic premise is but I still think that it's a fine story. A scientist, living with his wife, son, and daughter on an isolated ranch, creates a new species. He started with rats and has now produced a race of winged humanoids, very intelligent and capable of speech. (He uses his "metabolic accelerator" to bring on their extremely rapid development. Evidently the accelerator is just something he has around the house.) He names them volplas. The scientist is planning a joke on the world. He tells the volplas that they came to Earth from Venus before there were any humans in what is now North America. He has made up a language for the volplas to use. Volpla wisdom would become a cult - and of all forms of comedy, cults, I think, are the funniest. The story never explains the name "volpla," which the scientist plans on saying is their name for their species in their "native language." I believe it is just a back-formation from the word "volplane," an unpowered dive, from the French "vol plané," meaning "glided flight."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Franziska Self Fisken

    Compassion Circuit by John Wyndham is a very short story about a new generation of robots who have a "compassion circuit" built in i.e. they can make moral judgements. I was reminded of this short story when I visited the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics exhibition, MAK, Vienna. Some aspects of this story are very nineteen-fifties, but the handling of the central idea of what if robots... is well-presented and very thought-provoking. I've read this story several times and am a fan of many of J Compassion Circuit by John Wyndham is a very short story about a new generation of robots who have a "compassion circuit" built in i.e. they can make moral judgements. I was reminded of this short story when I visited the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics exhibition, MAK, Vienna. Some aspects of this story are very nineteen-fifties, but the handling of the central idea of what if robots... is well-presented and very thought-provoking. I've read this story several times and am a fan of many of John Wyndham's science fiction stories including "The Chrysalids", "The Day of the Triffids", "Trouble with Lichen". What I like is he explores the human impact of scientific innovations in a very credible manner. The focus of his books is not the actual scientific innovation itself, but how society could be affected. He was very popular in the 1950's to 1970's, but seems to be undeservedly out of fashion these days.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jay Goemmer

    This collection contains one of my favorite science fiction short stories, Algis Budrys' "The War Is Over" (1957), which has haunted me in the positive sense for a very long time. Other stories include Poul Anderson's "The Light," Wyman Guin's "Volpla," and the very cute "The Available Data on the Worp Reaction" by Lion Miller. A well-rounded baker's dozen of finely crafted stories published between 1946 and 1957. June 4, 2012. This collection contains one of my favorite science fiction short stories, Algis Budrys' "The War Is Over" (1957), which has haunted me in the positive sense for a very long time. Other stories include Poul Anderson's "The Light," Wyman Guin's "Volpla," and the very cute "The Available Data on the Worp Reaction" by Lion Miller. A well-rounded baker's dozen of finely crafted stories published between 1946 and 1957. June 4, 2012.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bookowl1000

    I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13478140 I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13478140

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tamara Housh

    fiction sf read

  14. 5 out of 5

    Janis Ian

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  16. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Pink

  17. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Smith

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bob Van Arsdale

  19. 5 out of 5

    Clint Peden

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nuke

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  24. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Ewing

  25. 4 out of 5

    David

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Grogan

  28. 4 out of 5

    C M

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jefferson Ballard

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eduardo Payne

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