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Isaac Asimov





Isaac Asimov is undoubtedly the giant of science fiction genre, so any criticism of his fiction would fall mostly on deaf ears. I personally count his work sometimes funny, often witty and almost always conceptual, but rarely hugely entertaining. He was the pusher of ideas, rather than polished stylist.

During the 1940s and 1950s he wrote "Robot" stories - his true masterpiece, and in my opinion it was downhill ever since. "Foundation" series tried to be epic, but lacked in human characterization and often reads like a dry political paper. His commentaries and editorials were more engaging, but a bulk of his science fiction writing may be considered easily forgettable single-idea vehicles (outside of few milestone novels, which are classics, of course)


(cover art for "The Bicentennial Man", by Don Dixon)

"All the Troubles of the World"
(Multivac series)
© Super Science Fiction, Apr 1958
Nine Tomorrows, 1959
--/ cool sf story

"...And Now You Don't" (nv)
(Foundation)
© Astounding, Nov 1949
Second Foundation, 1953
The Foundation Trilogy, 1964
--novella : 2001 Retro Hugo
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ adventure award

"Anniversary"
(Marooned Off Vesta # 2)
© Amazing, Mar 1959
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968

"Asimov's Mysteries" (coll)
© Doubleday,1968

"The Bad News And The Good"
© Beyond Tomorrow, ed. L. Harding, 1976

"Before The Golden Age: Commentary" (nf)
© Doubleday, 1974
--/ cool sf commentary

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


"The Bicentennial Man"
© Stellar # 2, 1976
The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories, 1976
--novelette : 1977 Hugo W
--novelette : 1977 Nebula W
--novelette : 1977 Locus W
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /5

--/ cool sf novella

A little trivia: "The Bicentennial Man " is the third most anthologised of all the Hugo/Nebula winning short fiction (beaten only by Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", and by the original shorter version of Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon"). Robert Silverberg expanded the story to a novel "The Positronic Man" and it was filmed in 1999 starring Robin Williams. The idea is that robot declares himself legally human and is allowed to die a "natural death" at the end of his cycle. I personally found the story emotionally uninvolving and dry (a better word is "boring") in a typical Asimov fashion. Of course, it is a dignified treatise in itself, as well. The movie adds to the story by supplying visual engaging details to this future world.
review: 09-Jul-06 (read in 1988)

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

"The Big and the Little"
(Foundation)
© Astounding, Aug 1944
Foundation, 1951
--/ cool sf novella

"The Billiard Ball"
© IF, Mar 1967
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Black Friar of the Flame"
© Planet Stories, Spr 1942
The Early Asimov, 1972

"Blank!"
© Infinity, Nov 1956
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Blind Alley"
© Astounding, Mar 1945

"Breeds There A Man"
© Asounding, Feb 1951

"Bridle and Saddle"
(Foundation)
© Astounding, Jun 1942
Foundation, 1951
--/ fourth place sf novella

"Button, Button"
© Startling Stories, Jan 1953
Buy Jupiter, 1975

"Buy Jupiter"
© Venture Science Fiction, May 1958
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Buy Jupiter" (coll)
© 1975, Doubleday Books

"The Callistan Menace"
© Astonishing Stories, Apr 1940
The Early Asimov, 1972
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"Catch That Rabbit"
(Robot series)
© Astounding, Feb 1944
I, Robot, 1950
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"The Caves of Steel" (nv)
(Robot series)
© Galaxy, Oct 1953
book : Doubleday Books, 1954
--all time novel : 1975 Locus /30 (tie)
--all time sf novel : 1987 Locus /33

--/ fourth place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"Christmas on Ganymede"
© Startling Stories, Jan 1942
The Early Asimov, 1972

"The Currents of Space" (nv)
(Trantorian Empire)
© Astounding, Oct 1952
book : Doubleday, 1952
--/ cool sf novel

"Darwinian Pool Room"
© Galaxy, Oct 1950
Buy Jupiter, 1975

"The Day Of The Hunters"
© Future Stories, 1950
Buy Jupiter, 1975

"Dead Hand"
(Foundation)
© Astounding, Apr 1945
Foundation and Empire, 1952
--novella : 1996 Retro Hugo
--/ fourth place sf novella

"The Dead Past"
© Astounding, Apr 1956
Earth Is Room Enough, 1956

"Death of a Honey-Blonde"
(also as "What's in a Name")
© The Saint, Jun 1956
Asimov's Mysteries, 1965

"The Deep"
© Galaxy, Dec 1952
The Martian Way and Others,1955
--/ cool sf story

"Does a Bee Care?"
© IF, Jun 1957
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Dreaming Is A Private Thing"
© F&SF, Dec 1955
Earth Is Room Enough, 1956

"The Dust Of Death"
© Venture, Jan 1957
Asimov Mysteries, 1968

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


"The Dying Night"
(Wendell Urth series)
© F&SF, Jul 1956
Nine Tomorrows, 1959
--/ cool sf story

A typical "scientific mystery" story by Asimov, which editors like to reprint, notwithstanding the fact that its main premise (non-rotation of Mercury) is obsolete, or the fact that (to my taste) it is quite boring and flat. But it will be probably fine to strict mystery lovers.
review: 10-Jul-06 (read in 1984)

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

"Each an Explorer"
© Future Stories, Jan 1956
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"The Early Asimov" (coll)
© Doubleday, 1975

"The Early Asimov: Commentary" (nf)
© Doubleday, 1975

"The End of Eternity" (nv)
© Doubleday, 1955
--/ fourth place time sf novel
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award


"Escape!"
(also as "Paradoxical Escape")
(Robot series)
© Astounding, Aug 1945
I, Robot, 1950
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"Escape To Reality?" (nf)
© Isaac Asimov SF anthology # 3, 1980

"Everest"
© Universe Science Fiction, Jan 1953
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

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



"Evidence"
(Robot series)
© Astounding, Sep 1946
I, Robot, 1950
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award (for the whole series)

Meanwhile, Asimov continues to build his impressive "Robots" series with this thought-provoking installment. Wikipedia says it best: "In his short story " Evidence", Asimov lets his recurring character Dr. Susan Calvin expound a moral basis behind the Three Law of Robotics. Calvin points out that human beings are typically expected to refrain from harming other human beings (except in times of extreme duress like war , or to save a greater number). This is equivalent to a robot's First Law. Likewise, according to Calvin, society expects individuals to obey instructions from recognized authorities: doctors, teachers and so forth. Finally, humans are typically expected to avoid harming themselves, which is the Third Law for a robot. The plot of "Evidence" revolves around the question of telling a human being apart from a robot specially constructed to appear human; Calvin reasons that if such an individual obeys the Laws, he may be a robot or simply "a very good man". Another character then asks Calvin if robots are then very different from human beings after all. She replies, "Worlds different. Robots are essentially decent."
review: 22-Sep-06 (read in 1989)

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

"The Evitable Conflict"
(Susan Calvin (Robot))
© Astounding, Jun 1950
 I, Robot, 1950
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"Exile To Hell"
© Analog, May 196
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Eyes Do More Than See"
© F&SF, Apr 1965
Nightfall, 1965

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




"Fantastic Voyage" (nv)
(with Jerome Bixby)
© 1965, Doubleday Books
--/ second place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award


Like many people I erroneously believed that the movie “Fantastic Voyage” had been optioned from Asimov’s novella of the same name, a fact that would later nag me when I felt the story’s style was, well, not right. Or rather, not exactly Asimov.

Originally conceived by Jerome Bixby and Otto Klement, Asimov’s “Fantastic Voyage” was in fact written after the movie went into production, but released before (talk about writing on a deadline!). And while novelization tie-ins have been written as early as the 1920s, it seems to me that “Fantastic Voyage” was amongst the first of its kind for sheer popularity.

Technicalities of who-came-up-with-what aside, Asimov’s “Fantastic Voyage” is genuinely charming and engrossing, a page-turner of the highest degree. In it, Asimov’s prose has a rare chance to outshine his story-telling, lending complex imagery to a tale more easily presented in a visual media. It takes a master to turn an over-abundance of adjectives into a truly engaging story, but luckily Asimov knew what he was doing.

I find that some novels, like “Fantastic Voyage,” are like hot chocolate on a cold day: familiar, comforting and entirely welcome.

Read another review of this novel here.
(review by Sunday Williams)



(image credit: cloudster.com)

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

"The Feeling Of Power"
© IF, Feb 1958
Nine Tomorrows, 1959

"Feminine Intuition"
(Robot series)
© F&SF, Oct 1969
The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories, 1976
--/ fourth place sf story

"First Law"
(Robot series)
© Fantastic Universe, Oct 1956
The Rest of the Robots, 1964
--/ fourth place sf story

"Flies"
© F&SF, Jun 1953
Nightfall And Other Stories, 1969
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Foundation" (nv)
(Foundation 1)
©  Astounding, May 1942
novel: Gnome Press, 1951
--all-time series : 1966 Hugo W
--all time novel : 1975 Locus All-Time Poll /6
--all time sf novel : 1987 Locus All-Time Poll /6
--sf novel (before 1990) : 1998 Locus All-Time Poll /4

--/ fourth place sf novel
 
"Foundation and Empire" (nv)
(Foundation 2)
© Gnome Press, 1952
--all-time series : 1966 Hugo W
--/ fourth place sf novel

"Founding Father"
© Galaxy, Oct 1965
Buy Jupiter, 1972
--short story : 1966 Nebula

"Franchise"
(Multivac series)
© IF, Aug 1955
--/ cool sf story

"The Fun They Had"
© F&SF, Feb 1954
Earth Is Room Enough, 1957

"Galley Slave"
(Robot series)
© Galaxy, Dec 1957
The Rest of the Robots, 1964
--/ fourth place sf story

"The Gentle Vultures"
© Super Science Fiction, Dec 1957
Nine Tomorrows, 1959

"The Gods Themselves" (nv)
© Galaxy, Mar 1972
novel: Doubleday, 1973
--novel : 1973 Hugo W
--novel : 1973 Nebula W
--novel : 1973 Locus W

--sf novel (before 1990) : 1998 Locus /52 (tie)
--/ cool sf novel

"The Greatest Asset"
© Analog, Jan 1972
Buy Jupiter, 1975
russ. as "Dvizhuschaya Sila"

"Half-Breed"
(also as "Half-Breeds")
© Astonishing Stories, Feb 1940
The Early Asimov, 1972

"The Hazing"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Oct 1942
The Early Asimov, 1972

"Homo Sol"
(Tan Porum series)
© Astounding, Sep 1940
The Early Asimov, 1972
--Groff Conklin's story selection
--/ cool sf story

"How It Happened"
© 1979, Asimov's SF Adventure Magazine

"The Hugo Winners: Commentary" (nf)
© Doubleday, 1970-1979

"I, Robot" (coll)
(Robot Series)
© Gnome Press, 1950
--book : 1952 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /23
--book : 1956 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /21
--book : 1966 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /12
--all-time collection : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /4 (tie)

--/ third place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Ideas Die Hard"
© Galaxy, Oct 1957
The Winds Of Change, 1983

"I Just Make Them Up, See!"
© F&SF, Feb 1958
Nine Tomorrows, 1959
--poem

"I'm in Marsport Without Hilda"
© Venture, Nov 1957
Nine Tomorrows, 1959
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ adventure award
--/ humour award


"The Immortal Bard"
© Universe SF, May 1954
Earth Is Room Enough, 1957

"In A Good Cause"
© New Tales Of Space And Time,
ed. R. Healy, 1951

Nightfall and Other Stories, 1969

"Insert Knob A in Hole B"
© F&SF, Dec 1957
Nightfall and Other Stories, 1969

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


"The Key"
(Wendell Urth)
© F&SF, Oct 1966
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968

"The Key" is one of the best of the Wendell Urth stories, and Asimov really knows how to write competent mysteries. Dr. Urth is the extraterrologist who (just like Isaac Asimov himself) refuses to set his foot on any space transportation device. The stately paced and not very exciting mystery is about finding a hidden alien artifact that gives people psi powers. Not as good as "The Billiard Ball" story.
review: 24-Sep-06 (read in 2002)

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

"Key Item"
(Multivac Series)
© F&SF, July 1968
Buy Jupiter & Others, 1974

"The Last Answer"
© Analog, Jun 1980
The Winds Of Change, 1983

"The Last Question"
(Multivac Series)
© Science Fiction Quarterly, Nov 1956
Nine Tomorrows, 1959
--short fiction : 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /15 (tie)
--short story : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /15 (tie)

--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ awesome scale


"Lastborn"
(also as "The Ugly Little Boy")
© Galaxy, Sep 1958
Nine Tomorrows, 1959
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /40 (tie)

"Latter-Day Martian Chronicles"
(with other writiers)
© OMNI, 1990
--/ cool sf story

"Legal Rites"
(with Frederik Pohl)
(Pohl as James MacCreigh)
© Weird Tales, Sep 1950
The Early Asimov, 1972
--/ cool f story

"Lenny"
(Robot series)
© Infinity Science Fiction, Jan 1958
The Rest of the Robots, 1964
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"Let's Get Together"
(Robot series)
© Infinity Science Fiction, Feb 1957
The Rest of the Robots, 1964
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

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


Isaac Asimov
"Liar!"
(Robot series)
© Astounding, May 1941
I, Robot, 1950
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

Two timeless classics in one issue! Very good for a pulp magazine... a testimony to the Science Fiction Golden Age that was in full swing at that time, led by John W. Campbell talented editorship. One of the best stories from the "Robot Cycle", this one concerns a seeming necessity to lie in order to avoid a psychological harm, bad feelings (a conflict we often find ourselves in) and how this dilemma leads to the melting of the brains of a robot, bound by the Three Laws of Robotics.Highly entertaining tale, Asimov at his coolest.
review: 25-Dec-07 (read in 1986)

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

"Life's Bottleneck" (nf)
© F&SF, Apr 1959

"Light Verse"
© Saturday Evening Post, Sep 1973
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Little Lost Robot"
(Robot series)
© Astounding, Mar 1947
I, Robot, 1950
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"Living Space"
© Science Fiction Stories, May 1956
Earth Is Room Enough, 1957

"A Loint of Paw"
© F&SF, Aug 1957
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968

"Lucky Starr And The Big Sun Of Mercury" (nv)
(Lucky Starr series)
© 1956, Doubleday

"The Machine That Won The War"
(Multivac series)
© F&SF, Oct 1961
Nightfall, 1970

"The Magnificent Possession"
© Future, Jul 1940
The Early Asimov, 1974

"Male Strikebreaker"
(also as "Strikebreaker")
© Science Fiction Stories, Jan 1957
Nightfall and Other Stories, 1969

"Marooned Off Vesta"
(Brandon, Shea & Moore)
© Amazing, Mar 1939
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968
--Pre-1940 short fiction : 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /9
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award


"The Martian Way"
© Galaxy, Nov 1952
The Martian Way and Other Stories, 1955
--/ cool space sf novella
--/ wonder award

"Mirror Image"
(Robot series)
© Analog, May 1972
The Best Of I. Asimov, 1973
--/ cool sf story

"The Monkey's Fingers"
© Startling Stories, Feb 1952
Buy Jupiter, 1975

"The Mule"
(Foundation)
© Astounding, Nov 1945
Foundation and Empire, 1952
--novel : 1996 Retro Hugo W
--/ fourht place sf novella

"The Naked Sun" (nv)
(Robot series)
© Astounding, Oct 1956
novel: Doubleday, 1957
--/ cool sf novel

"Nightfall"
© Astounding, 1941
Nightfall and Other Stories, 1969
--short fiction : 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll W
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /2

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Nightfall and Other Stories" (coll)
© Doubleday Books, 1969

"Nine Tomorrows" (coll)
© Doubleday Books, 1959

"Nobody Here, But..."
© Star Science Fiction # 1, 1953
Nightfall and Other Stories, 1969

"Norby Finds A Villain"
(with Janet Asimov)
(Norby Series)
© IASFM, 1987
book: Walker, 1988

"Not Final!"
© Astounding, Oct 1941
The Early Asimov, 1972
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"Now You See It..."
(Foundation)
© Astounding, Jan 1948
Second Foundation, 1953
--/ fourth place sf novella

"Obituary"
© F&SF, Aug 1959
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968

"Old Fashioned"
© Bell Telephone Magazine, Feb 1976
The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories, 1976
(russ. transl. "Stary-Prestary Sposob")

"Paradoxical Escape"
(also as "Escape!")
(Robot series)
© Astounding, Aug 1945
I, Robot, 1950
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

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


"Pâté de Foie Gras"
© Astounding, Sep 1956
Asimov Mysteries, 1968

A puzzle story which is boring and silly, so here is the link to wikipediia about it: Click here
review: 19-Sep-06 (read in 1989)

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

"The Pause"
© Time To Come, ed. A. Derleth, 1954
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Pebble in the Sky" (nv)
(Trantorian Empire)
© 1949, Two Complete Science Adventure Novels
book: Doubleday, 1950
--novel : 2001 Retro Hugo
--/ cool sf novel

"Profession"
© Astounding, Jul 1957
Nine Tomorrows, 1959

"Question"
(Multivac series)
© 1955, Computer And Automation
(russ. as "Vybory")

"Rain, Rain, Go Away!"
© Fantastic Universe, Sep 1959
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Reason"
(Robot series)
© Astounding, Apr 1941
I, Robot, 1950
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"The Rebellious Stars" (nv)
(also as "Tyrann")
(also as "The Stars Like Dust")
(Trantorian Empire)
© Galaxy, Jan 1951
novel: Doubleday, 1951
--/ cool sf novel

"The Rest of the Robots" (coll)
(Robot series)
© Doubleday Books, 1964
--/ cool sf collection

"Ring Around the Sun"
© Future, Mar 1940
The Early Asimov, 1972
--/ cool sf story

"Risk"
(Robot series)
© Astounding, May 1955
The Rest of the Robots, 1964
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Robbie"
(also as "Strange Playfellow")
(Robot series)
© Super Science Stories, Sep 1940
I, Robot, 1950
--short story : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /37 (tie)
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Robot AL-76 Goes Astray"
(Robot series)
© Amazing, Feb 1942
The Rest of the Robots, 1964
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award


"Runaround"
(Robot series)
© Astounding, Mar 1942
I, Robot, 1950
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ humour award


"S as in Zebatinsky"
(also as "Spell My Name with an S")
© Star Science Fiction, Jan 1958
Nine Tomorows, 1959

"Satisfaction Guaranteed"
(Robot series)
© Amazing, Apr 1951
Earth Is Room Enough, 1957
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Second Foundation" (nv)
(Foundation 3)
© Gnome Press, 1953
--book : 1952 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /15
--book : 1956 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /12
--book : 1966 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll W

--/ fourth place sf novel

"The Secret Sense"
© Cosmic Stories, Mar 1941
The Early Asimov, 1972

"Segregationist"
(Robot series)
© F&SF, Oct 1968
Nightfall, 1969
--/ cool sf story

"Shah Guido G."
© Marvel Science Fiction, Nov 1951
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Silly Asses"
© Future, Feb 1958
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"The Singing Bell"
(Wendell Urth)
© F&SF, Jan 1955
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968

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


"Someday"
© Infinity Science Fiction, Aug 1956
Earth Is Room Enough, 1957

Very straight-forward story about people in the future unable to write any stories and using "the Bards" - story-telling computers. I find it far-fetched, but fun to extrapolate, which Asimov does with some wry humour.
review: 24-Jul-06 (read in 2001)

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

"Spell My Name with an S"
(also as "S as in Zebatinsky")
© Star Science Fiction, Jan 1958
Nine Tomorows, 1959

"Star Light"
© Scientific American, Oct 1962
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968

"The Stars Like Dust" (nv)
(also as "Tyrann")
(also as "The Rebellious Stars")
(Trantorian Empire)
© Galaxy, Jan 1951
novel: Doubleday, 1951
--/ cool sf novel

"A Statue For Father"
© Satellite Science Fiction, 1959
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"Strange Playfellow"
(also as "Robbie")
(Robot series)
© Super Science Stories, Sep 1940
I, Robot, Gnome 1950
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Strikebreaker"
(also as "Male Strikebreaker")
© Science Fiction Stories, Jan 1957
Nightfall and Other Stories, 1969

"Sucker Bait"
(Troas)
(sequel to Poul Anderson's
"Planet Of No Return")
© Astounding, Feb 1954
The Martian Way and Other Stories, 1955
Prisoners of the Stars, 1979
--/ cool sf story

"Take a Match"
© New Dimensions # 2, 1972
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award


"The Talking Stone"
(Wendell Urth)
© F&SF, Oct 1955
Asimov's Mysteries, 1968
--/ cool sf story

"Think!"
(Robot series)
© IASFM, Spr 1977
The Complete Robot, 1983

"Thiotimoline To The Stars"
© Astounding, ed. H. Harrison, 1973
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, 1975

"The Thunder-Thieves" (nf)
(also as "It's All How You Look at It")
© Future, Oct 1958

"The Time Travellers" (nf)
© Pulsar # 1, 1975

"Trends"
© Astounding, Jul 1939
The Early Asimov, 1972

"True Love"
(Robot Series)
(MultiVac series)
© The American Way, Feb 1977
Three Science Fiction Tales, 1981
The Complete Robot, 1982
--/ fourth place robot sf story
--/ idea award
--/ humour award
--/ style award

"Tyrann"
(also as "The Stars Like Dust")
(Trantorian Empire)
© Galaxy, Jan 1951
novel: Doubleday, 1951
--/ cool sf novella

"The Ugly Little Boy"
(also as "Lastborn")
© Galaxy, Sep 1958
Nine Tomorrows, 1959
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /40 (tie)

"The Universe" (nf)
© 1966, Prentice Hall

"Unto The Forth Generation"
© F&SF, Apr 1959
Nightfall, 1969

"Victory Unintentional"
(Robot series)
© Super Science Stories, Aug 1942
The Rest of the Robots, 1964
--/ cool sf story

"The Watery Place"
© Satellite Science Fiction, Oct 1956
Earth Is Room Enough, 1957

"The Weapon Too Dreadful to Use"
© Amazing, May 1939
The Early Asimov, 1972

"What If?"
© Fantastic, Sum 1952
Nightfall And Other Stories, 1969
--/ cool sf story

"What's in a Name"
(also as "Death of a Honey-Blonde")
© The Saint, Jun 1956
Asimov's Mysteries, 1965

"Youth"
© Space Science Fiction, May 1952
The Martian Way and Other Stories, 1955

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

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"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.