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Robert Sheckley




(art by Donato Giancola)

Robert Sheckley seems to be underappreciated today, but he certainly deserves much larger readership - after all, his short fiction is just as hilarious as the best work of Douglas Adams (definitely on par with Henry Kuttner's stories). Arguably, not all of his prodigious output is of the same quality, but the AAA Ace series, for example, is truly "ace", as well as most of his short story output in the 1950s. I would largely stay away from his novels, as they tend to be somewhat rambling and chaotic. Here's the list of the stories I've read, all rated and some with reviews.

Pen-names: Finn O'Donnevan
----------------------------------------------

"The Academy"
© IF, Aug 1954
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story

"The Accountant"
© F&SF, Jul 1954
Citizen In Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------



"All The Things You Are"
© Galaxy, Jul 1956
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story

Very average tale of alien (but really similar to Earth) place, where the guys are discussing problems of Earth and aggression of humans. Boring.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1986)

----------------------------------------------

"Alone At Last"
© 1956, Infinity
Shards Of Space, 1962
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ emotion award


"The Altar"
© Fantastic, July 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ cool sf story

"The Alternative Detective" (nv)
(Hob Draconian series 1)
© Tor / Forge books, 1993

"Ask A Foolish Question"
© Science Fiction Stories # 1, 1953
Citizen In Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------



"Bad Medicine"
© Galaxy, Jul 1956
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story
--/ adventure award

A perturbed person ends up seeing a robot psychiatrist - plus big corporations rule the world, paying a separate police department to enforce brand loyalty.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1985)

----------------------------------------------

"The Battle"
© IF, Sep 1954
Citizen In Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Beside Still Waters"
© Amazing, Oct 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"The Body"
© Galaxy, Apr 1955
Pilgrimage To Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award


"Budget Planet"
© F&SF, Mar 1968
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ humour award


"Can You Fell Anything When I do This?"
© Playboy, Aug 1969
Can You Fell Anything When I do This, 1971

"Citizen In Space"
(also as "Spy Story")
© Playboy, Sep 1955
Citizen In Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story
--/ adventure award

"Citizen In Space" (coll)
© 1955, Ballantine Books
--/ third place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award
--/ idea award


"Cordle To Onion To Carrot"
© Playboy, Dec 1969

"Cost of Living"
© Galaxy, Dec 1952
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ cool sf story

"The Cruel Equations"
© BOAC Inflight, 1971
Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?, 1971
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ adventure award
--/ humour award

"Dawn Invader"
© F&SF, Aug 1957
Notions : Unlimited, 1960

"The Day The Aliens Came"
© New Legends, ed. G. Bear, 1995
--short story : 1996 Locus /11
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ humour award


"Deadhead"
© Galaxy, Jul 1955
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story

"The Deaths of Ben Baxter"
© Galaxy, Jul 1957
Store of Infinity, 1960
--/ cool sf story
--/ adventure award

"The Demons"
© Fantasy Magazine, Mar 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ cool sf story

"Dimension of Miracles" (nv)
© 1968, Dell Books
--/ fourth place sf novel
--/ wonder award

"Diplomatic Immunity"
© Galaxy, Aug 1953
The People Trap, 1968

"Disposal Service"
© Bluebook, Jan 1955
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story

"Dr. Zombie & His Furry Little Friends"
© Can You Fell Anything When I Do This, 1971
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ idea award


"Double Indemnity"
© Galaxy, Jan 1957
Notions : Unlimited, 1960
--/ cool sf story

"Down The Digestive Tract"
© Galaxy, Feb 1971
Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?, 1971

"Dreamworld"
(also as "The Petrified World")
© IF, Feb 1968
The People Trap, 1968
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------



"Early Model"
© Galaxy, Aug 1956
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ humour award


Superb example of total Sheckley hilarity. An astronaut goes to a distant planet equipped with the newest model force-field space-suit that comes on automatically at the most inconvenient times, leading the baffled aliens to believe that the astronaut is evil personified. Simply utmost entertainment, highly recommended.
review: 23-Jul-06 (read in 1983)

----------------------------------------------

"Earth, Air, Fire & Water"
© Astounding, Jul 1955
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story

"Fear In The Night"
© Today's Woman, 1952
Pilgrimage To Earth, 1957
--/ cool f story

"Feeding Time"
© Fantasy, Oct 1953
Notions : Unlimited, 1960

"Fishing Season"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Aug 1953
The People Trap, 1968
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Fool's Mate"
© Science Fiction, Mar 1953
Shards Of Space, 1962
--/ cool sf story

"Forever"
© Galaxy, Feb 1953
Shards Of Space, 1962

"The Fortunate Person"
(also as "The Luckiest Man In The World")
© Fantastic Universe, Jan 1954
Citizen In Space, 1955

"Game: First Schematic"
© Can You Fell Anything When I Do This?, 1971

"Ghost V"
(AAA Ace series)
© Galaxy, Oct 1954
The People Trap, 1968
--/ second place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ humour award
--/ adventure award


----------------------------------------------



"The Girls And Nugent Miller"
© F&SF, Mar 1960
Shards Of Space, 1962
--/ cool sf story
--/ humour award

Light-weight fare. Our hero is the survivor of a nuclear holocaust who goes off armed with a Geiger counter in search of other survivors only to find the formidable Miss Dennis and her 4 young ladies.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1983)

----------------------------------------------

"Godshome" (nv)
© Tor Books, 1999

"Gray Flannel Armor"
© Galaxy, Nov 1957
Notions: Unlimited, 1960
--/ cool sf story

"The Gun Without A Bang"
(as by Finn O'Donnevan)
© Galaxy, Jun 1958
Store of Infinity, 1960
--/ cool sf story
--/ adventure award

"Hands Off"
© Galaxy, Apr 1954
Citizen in Space, 1955
--/ second place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ humour award
--/ adventure award


"Holdout"
© F&SF, Dec 1957
Notions: Unlimited, 1960

----------------------------------------------



"The Hour of Battle"
© Space Science Fiction, Sep 1953
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Quite an amusing piece: humans send robots to fight against the devils of Hell at Armageddon in order to avoid any human deaths, only to find that the robots get raised from the dead and sent to heaven instead of the humans.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1999)

----------------------------------------------



"Human Man's Burden"
© Galaxy, Sep 1956
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Great quality from Sheckley! This is a very impressive story from his best period.An asteroid farmer orders a Frontier Model Bride with a low center of gravity, and instead is sent a Deluxe Luxury Model Bride who definitely has a high one. Also featuring "old android spirituals" that robots sing during their work (Sheckley does not give details on that, however. As you can see, this is not just an entertaining story. It is also a shrewd prediction of the convenience (and folly) of an internet shopping and bride-searching. I heard of some dubious websites shipping hamsters as a russian brides - well, not yet.
review: 19-Sep-06 (read in 1987)

----------------------------------------------

"The Humours"
(also as "Join Now")
© Galaxy, Apr 1958
Store Of Infinity, 1960
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"The Hungry"
© Fantastic, Aug 1969
--/ cool sf story

"Hunting Problem"
© Galaxy, Sep 1955
Citizen in Space, 1955
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"I See A Man Sitting On A Chair
And A Chair Is Biting His Leg"

(with Harlan Ellison)
© F&SF, Jan 1968
Partners in Wonder, Harlan Ellison, 1971
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, 1982
--/ cool sf story

"If The Red Slayer"
© Amazing, Sep 1959
Store Of Infinity, 1960
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------



"Immortality, Inc" (nv)
(also as "Time Killer")
©Galaxy, Oct 1958
novel : 1959, Bantam Books
(exp. from "Immortality Delivered")
© 1958, Bourgy Books
--novel : 1959 Hugo
--/ cool sf novel

I thought this is a mediocre novel, but others might find it amusing. Here is a synopsis I found on the web: Man killed in the past in a car accident finds himself revived in the future. In this future, they've proven the existence of a soul, but most people don't have the mental discipline for their soul to survive after death. There are mechanical methods of strengthening the soul, but they're *expensive*. One way to get immortality cheaply is to participate in deadly "reality" games (manhunts to the death, etc. It's legal, if the particpants are made immortal, first.) This is recurring theme of Sheckley's ("The Prize of Peril", et al)
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 1986)

----------------------------------------------

"The Impacted Man"
© Astounding, Dec 1952
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ cool sf story

"In A Land Of Clear Colors"
© New Constellations, ed. Disch & Naylor, 1976
--/ cool sf story

"Join Now"
(also as "The Humours")
© Galaxy, Apr 1958
Store Of Infinity, 1960
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Journey Beyond Tomorrow" (nv)
© 1962, Dell Books

"The Journey of Joenes" (nv)
© F&SF, Nov 1962

"Keep Your Shape"
(also as "Shape")
© Galaxy, Nov 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


----------------------------------------------



"The King's Wishes"
© F&SF, Jul 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ cool sf story

An entertaining, very light-weight story about college of magics, pre-Harry Potter stuff. Forgettable.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1986)

----------------------------------------------

"The Language Of Love"
© Galaxy, Feb 1957
Notions : Unlimited, 1960
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ romance award


"The Last Days Of (Parallel?) Earth"
© After The Fall, ed. R. Sheckley, 1980

"The Last Weapon"
© Star SF Stories # 1, ed. F.Pohl, 1953
The People Trap, 1968
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ humour award
--/ style award


"The Laxian Key"
(AAA Ace series)
© Galaxy, Nov 1954
The People Trap, 1968
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ style award

"The Leech"
© Galaxy, Jun 1952
Notions : Unlimited, 1960
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"Legend Of Conquistadors"
© F&SF, Apr 2003
--/ cool sf story

"The Lifeboat Mutiny"
(AAA Ace series)
© Galaxy, Apr 1955
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ second place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ humour award
--/ adventure award


----------------------------------------------

"Love, Incorporated"
(also as "Pilgrimage to Earth" - see)

----------------------------------------------

"The Luckiest Man In The World"
(also as "The Fortunate Person")
© Fantastic Universe, Jan 1954
Citizen In Space, 1955

"Meeting Of The Minds"
© Galaxy, Feb 1960
Shards Of Space, 1962
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"Milk Run"
(AAA Ace series)
© Galaxy, Sep 1954
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ humour award
--/ adventure award


"Mindswap" (nv)
© Galaxy, Jun 1965
Delacorte / Signet 1966
--/ cool sf novel

"The Minimum Man"
© Galaxy, Jun 1958
Store of Infinity, 1960
--/ third place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ humour award


"The Monsters"
© F&SF, Mar 1953
Untouched By Human Hands, 1954
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ humour award


"Morning After"
© Galaxy, Sep 1957
Notions : Unlimited, 1960
--/ cool sf story

"The Mountain Without A Name"
© Citizen in Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"Myryx"
(Isaac Asimov's Universe series)
© Isaac's Universe Vol.1: The Diplomacy Guild,
ed. M. Greenberg, 1990

--/ cool space sf story

"The Native Problem"
© Galaxy, Dec 1956
Notions: Unlimited, 1960
--/ cool sf story

"The Necessary Thing"
(AAA Ace series)
© Galaxy, Jun 1955
The People Trap, 1968
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ humour award
--/ idea award


"The Never-ending Western Movie"
© Science Fiction Discoveries, 1976
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, 1982
--short story : 1977 Locus /12
--/ cool sf novella
--/ wonder award

"The New Horla"
© F&SF, July 2000

"Notions : Unlimited" (coll)
© Bantam Books, 1960
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"The Odor of Thought"
© Star SF Stories #2, ed. F.Pohl, 1953
The People Trap, 1968
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"One Man's Poison"
(also as "Untouched By Human Hands")
© Galaxy, Mar 1953
Untouched By Human Hands, 1954
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award


"Options" (nv)
© 1975, Pyramid Books

"The Other Mars"
(Bradbury's Mars series)
© The Bradbury Chronicles, ed. by W. Nolan, 1991
--/ cool space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: illusory worlds
--/ rare find

"Paradise II"
© New Worlds, Jul 1955
© Time To Come, ed. A. Derleth, 1954
Notions: Unlimited, 1960
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"The People Trap"
© F&SF, Jun 1968
The People Trap, 1968
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"The People Trap" (coll)
© 1968, Dell Books
--/ third place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


----------------------------------------------



"The Perfect Woman"
© Amazing Stories, Dec 1953
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find

The basis for "Stepford Wives" movie? Here is the synopsis: a man is at a party, and several references are made to "new women". They gossip about a guy who is married to an "old woman" who makes him do the dishes. The guy goes home to his "stepford wife", who suffers some sort of routine, irreparable breakdown. The story ends with some line about "new woman" having all of the desirable characteristics of "old woman", except durability, as he takes her back to the shop.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1989)

----------------------------------------------

"The Petrified World"
(also as "Dreamworld")
© IF, Feb 1968
The People Trap, 1968
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------



"Pilgrimage to Earth"
(also as "Love, Incorporated")
© Playboy, Sep 1956
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


A classic story, highly recommended. Ironic, visual, told with wit and grace, it has all the best ingredients that characterize good Fifties SF: biting social commentary (without being boring), loads of sense-of-wonder, interesting plot and attention to detail. Here is the plot summary from David Horwich: "Alfred Simon, born and raised on a quiet agricultural planet, yearns to visit Earth, where "everything is possible", and find love. He works and saves for years to afford the trip, but once he finally arrives on Earth he learns that it's not what he expected (the poisoned paradise). He's soon disillusioned when he stumbles across a shooting gallery, with live ammunition and live female targets. A naive outworlder on a cynical, jaded planet, Simon does find love -- Love, Inc., which sells him the experience of a night of genuine love. Simon is brutally disappointed when he discovers that the experience was programmed, entirely a commodity, and in his rage he returns to the shooting gallery to vent his anger. The clash of cultures, the poisoned paradise, the ordinary man out of his environment all come together in this disturbing ending"
review: 18-Sep-06 (read in 2001)

----------------------------------------------

"Pilgrimage to Earth" (coll)
© Bantam Books, 1957
--/ second place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"Potential"
© Astounding, Nov 1953
Shards Of Space, 1962
--/ cool sf story

"The Prize of Peril"
(exp. into "The Tenth Victim")
© F&SF, May 1958
Store of Infinity, 1960
--/ third place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"Proof of the Pudding"
© Galaxy, Aug 1952
The People Trap, 1968
--/ cool sf story

"Prospector's Special"
© Galaxy, Dec 1959
Shards of Space, 1962
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"Protection"
© Galaxy, Apr 1956
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ cool sf story

"Redfern's Labyrinth"
© The People Trap, 1968

"Restricted Area"
© Amazing, Jun 1953
The People Trap, 1968
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Ritual"
(also as "Strange Ritual")
© Climax, 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ cool f story

"Robotgnomics"
© 1984, OMNI
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"The Robot Who Looked Like Me"
© Cosmopolitan, 1973
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, 1982
--/ cool sf story

"The Seventh Victim"
© F&SF, Apr 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ third place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"Shall We Have A Little Talk?"
© Galaxy, Oct 1965
The People Trap, 1968
--novelette : 1966 Nebula
--/ cool sf story

"Shape"
(also as "Keep Your Shape")
© Galaxy, Nov 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Shards Of Space" (coll)
© Bantam Books, 1962
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Shoes"
© F&SF, 2002
--/ cool sf story
--/ humour award

"Skulking Permit"
© Galaxy, Dec 1954
Citizen in Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story

"The Slow Season"
© F&SF, Oct 1954
Shards Of Space, 1962
--/ cool sf story

"Sneak Previews"
© Penthouse, Aug 1977
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, 1982
--/ cool sf story

"Something for Nothing"
© Galaxy, Jun 1954
Citizen in Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story

"The Special Exhibit"
© Esquire, Oct 1953
Shards Of Space, 1962
--/ humour award

"Specialist"
© Galaxy, May 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Spy Story"
(also as "Citizen In Space")
© Playboy, Sep 1955
Citizen In Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story
--/ adventure award

"The Store Of The Worlds"
(also as "World of Heart's Desire")
© Playboy, Oct 1959
Store Of Infinity, 1960
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Store Of Infinity" (coll)
© Bantam Books, 1960
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Strange Ritual"
(also as "Ritual")
© Climax, 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ cool f story

"Street of Dreams, Feet of Clay"
© Galaxy, Feb 1968
--/ cool humour sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: overbearing talking city
--/ rare find

"Subsistence Level"
© Galaxy, Aug 1954
Shards Of Space, 1962
--/ second place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ emotion award


"A Suppliant In Space"
© Galaxy, Nov 1973
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, 1982
--/ cool sf story

"The Sweeper Of Loray"
© Galaxy, Apr 1959
Shards of Space, 1962
--/ cool sf story

"The Tenth Victim" (nv)
(also as "Prize of Peril")
© 1965, Ballantine Books
--/ third place sf novel
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"A Thief In Time"
© Galaxy, Jul 1954
Citizen In Space, 1955
--/ cool sf story

"A Ticket To Tranai"
© Galaxy, Oct 1955
Citizen In Space, 1955

----------------------------------------------




"Time Killer" (nv)
(also as "Immortality, Inc")
©1958, Galaxy, Oct
1959, Bantam Books
(abridged version as "Immortality Delivered")
© 1958, Bourgy Books
Filmed as Freejack (1992)
--novel : 1959 Hugo
--/ cool sf novel

I thought this is a mediocre novel, but others might find it amusing. Here is a synopsis I found on the web: Man killed in the past in a car accident finds himself revived in the future. In this future, they've proven the existence of a soul, but most people don't have the mental discipline for their soul to survive after death. There are mechanical methods of strengthening the soul, but they're *expensive*. One way to get immortality cheaply is to participate in deadly "reality" games (manhunts to the death, etc. It's legal, if the particpants are made immortal, first.) This is recurring theme of Sheckley's ("The Prize of Peril", et al)
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 1986)

----------------------------------------------

"Trap"
(as Finn O'Donnevan)
© Galaxy, Feb 1956
Pilgrimage to Earth, 1957
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Triplication"
© Playboy, Sep 1959
Store Of Infinity, 1960

"The Universal Karmic Cleaning House"
© Playboy, Jan 1986

"Untouched By Human Hands"
(also as "One Man's Poison")
© Galaxy, Mar 1953
Untouched By Human Hands, 1954
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award


"Untouched By Human Hands" (coll)
© Bantam Books, 1954
--/ third place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award


"The Victim From Space"
© Galaxy, Apr 1957
The People Trap, 1968
--/ cool sf story

"Victim Prime" (nv)
(Hunter series 2)
© NAL / Signet, 1987
--/ cool sf novel

----------------------------------------------



"Warm"
© Galaxy, Jun 1953
Untouched by Human Hands, 1954
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award


Very strong, and unusual for Sheckley story - its all about perceptions. Loved every bit of it. ?Basically there is no form. Man produces gestalts, and cuts form out of the plethora of nothingness.? The protagonist goes on to accept that there is no such thing as man. ?There are only humanizing features that we-myopically- attach to it.?
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2001)

----------------------------------------------

"Watchbird"
© Galaxy, Feb 1953
Notions: Unlimited, 1960
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"We Are Alone"
© Future Science Fiction, Nov 1952
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award
--/ rare find


"Welcome to the Standard Nightmare"
© Nova 3, ed. H. Harrison, 1973
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, 1982

"What Is Life?"
© Playboy, Dec 1976
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, 1982
--short story : 1977 World Fantasy Award Poll

"Wild Talents Inc."
© Fantastic, Sep 1953
Is That What People Do?, 1984
--/ cool sf story

"A Wind Is Rising"
(as Finn O'Donnevan)
© Galaxy, Jul 1957
Notions: Unlimited, 1960
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"World of Heart's Desire"
(also as "The Store Of The Worlds")
© Playboy, Oct 1959
Store Of Infinity, 1960
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Zirn Left Unguarded"
© Nova # 2, ed. H. Harrison, 1972
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, 1982

--------------------------------------

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COMMENTS:

5 Comments:

Anonymous Stanislav said...

I am originally from Soviet Union (now it is being called Russia).
Robert Sheckley was (he will always be alive for me) the greatest SiFi writer of all times.
"stay away from his novels" commentary is just nonsence.Read his "Mind Swap". I had an honor and a pleasure to be his friend for last 4 or 5 years of his life. Once he told me that the MIT Laboratory of Artificial Intellect invited him to work for it. What Hugo or Nebula award could be compared to this offer???
It is very much unfortunate that he is completely forgotten.

Stanislav. saa0508@yahoo.com

8:58 AM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Stanislav - I absolutely adore Sheckley's short stories, but his novels can be uneven - compared to his stories - which is a high standard in itself. His sense of humour and sharp wit are evident in everything he's written. You were very lucky to be his friend, indeed... What a life!

8:21 PM  
Blogger Walter Chok said...

How can we get the stories you reviewed? I am a big fan since reading ASK A FOOLISH QUESTION.(But not my question above hopefully). But his works were hard to find.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Yes Walter - hard to find, but worth it! EBay may carry some pulp magazine issues, or one day they might appear online, I hope.

1:11 PM  
OpenID inyazserg said...

He used to be my favourite Sci-Fi writer when I was a child. Now that I am in 2015, my student from Saint-Petersburg in Russia recommended me to read his story. I wanted to read it. But, it doesn't seem to be here.

2:03 AM  

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Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Exceptional British Scifi Artwork from the 1950s

Space Pulp Art by Ron Turner and other British artists

Pulp Pleasures: Eando Binder

Great space adventure fiction from the 1930s
"Where Eternity Ends" and other rare gems

Epic Fantasy: the Start of the Journey

Part 2 of our "Best Classic Fantasy" series
incl. works by Henry Kuttner, Tolkien, etc.

Strange Shadows: Best Classic Fantasy

Fantasy "glitches in the matrix",
...lovely baroque magical lands, and more

Classic Cyberpunk SF Novels: Reviews

Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, et al
(awesome must-reads)

10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction

Going beyond the obvious "Dances with Smurfs"...
(many stories worth reading)

"Steampunk" Anthology: Full Review

some truly crazed stories in there...
(plus artwork by John Coulthart)

"Dune", Plus Often-Neglected
Other Novels by Frank Herbert


"Dune", plus some overlooked gems:
"The Santaroga Barrier" and "The Green Brain"

Universe at Play:
Two Must-Read Novels of the Fantastic


"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon...
and David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"

Two of the Most Entertaining SF Novels from the 1980s

"Vacuum Flowers" by Michael Swanwick...
and Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates", of course!

"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods

Fiction by Jack Finney, Vance, Simak and Bloch
mind impostors and emotion imitators

Exploring the Noir and the Grotesque

Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
and other newest examples of the bizarre

Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

Robert Silverberg's "The World Inside"
and other classic sf blasts

H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"

and other masterpieces of terror
including original illustrations

"Constellations", edited by Peter Crowther

original anthology, 2005
full review: mind-bending stories

The Ultimate Guide to New Writers of SF&F

more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
Ratings, awards, web links

The Surreal Office

"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
Weird fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Vernor Vinge

Mind-shattering Novels of Philip K. Dick

"UBIK", "Now Wait for Last Year", etc.

Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"

There’s a problem with this new gestalt being:
...it needs a conscience.

Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series

Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman

Astounding Stories, August 1934

Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises

Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3

Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure

William Gibson's Novels

"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...

Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"

"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package

Two Novels by Samuel R. Delany

"Nova" and "Babel-17"
New Wave Milestones, and then some.

Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"

(and more reviews of his fiction)
Classic SF at its best and most humane

Travel Distant Worlds!

Vintage Space Travel Posters, and more.
Part 3 of Pulp Sf art series...

Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels

"Chasm City" and "Revelation Space"
And it's only the beginning...

Rare Fantasy Gems by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
When two star writers become husband and wife

Grand Old Times... in the Future

Overview of Pulp Art
A Loudly Lurid Universe of Sci-Fi Illustration

Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress

From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
A Spectrum of Wonder

Jack Vance

"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

Alastair Reynolds

"Pushing Ice"
Cosmological "noir" chase across space

Charles Stross

"Missile Gap"
Mind-bending Cold War world-building

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 2

Rare stories from the "Age of Wonder"
incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.

Ultra-Rare Serials from "Fantasy Magazine"

"Cosmos" + "Challenge From Beyond"
incredible line-up of writers

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1

Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"

Astounding Stories, June 1935

Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell

Astounding Stories, May 1941

Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell

Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure

Exclusive:
Interview with John C. Wright


Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic

Frank Belknap Long

"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella

Exclusive:
Interview with Jeff VanderMeer


Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre

Alastair Reynolds, Part 2

More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...

Alastair Reynolds Review

"Galactic North"
staring down infinity...

Most Shocking Article

"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter

Alfred Bester Review

"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."

Larry Niven Review

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"or how to start a sub-genre..."

Thomas M. Disch Review

"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."

Henry Kuttner Review

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."

Robert A. Heinlein Review

"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
"...it caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."

James White Review

"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."

Grand Adventure Strikes Again

Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
Based on Arthur Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night"

William Gibson Review

"Burning Chrome"
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."

Ace Double: Murray Leinster

"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."

Astounding Stories, May 1935

Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations

Also read recent posts:
Author's Pen Names - Most Complete List Ever
The Wonder Timeline: SF&F Restrospective
Space Adventure Article


SEE OUR MAIN PAGE FOR MORE!


EXPLANATION OF THE RATING SYSTEM:

"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.


All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
--/ first place :
--/ second place :
--/ third place :

--/ fourth place :

--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)
ALL "BEST OF" LISTS ARE LOCATED HERE

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
- series :
- novella :
- story :
- collection :

Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
originality of idea / concept

--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action

--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
intense and beautiful love / relationships

--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

--/ shock value
altogether wild

--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder

--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.

Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.