Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SciFiction's Selected classics: Annotated with short descriptions

During 2000-2005, now defunct Sci Fiction reprinted a total of 103 short fiction classics; I suppose we can read the list as "Ellen Datlow's Selected SF Classics" - which sort of gives it a certain credibility. And they are all online. It's convenient to look at this bunch as a huge anthology; so I decided to have a look.
Update 25 July 2009: Sometime during July 2009, scifi.com started redirecting traffic to renamed syfy.com which no longer has Sci Fiction archives. Most, but not all, their stories are still available at Wayback Machine of Internet Archive. I've changed the story links below to reflect this.

Because of the large number of stories, this post is going to take a long time filling up. I've read only a few stories from the list, & in fact had not even heard the names of a lot of authors on this list.

In spite of the name Sci Fiction, they used to publish fantasy & non-genre stories too; & that is reflected in included stories.

For read stories, my rating is in brackets. Link on story title takes you to my notes on the story. Full text of the story is accessible via download link. I also note the first published data, where I'm aware of it.

Note: List below is produced by looking up their archive page, & counts 103 entries. I had taken their site dump when they stopped publishing, & corresponding folder on my hard disk has 111 entries! Will reconcile the difference later.

Story list (103 stories, best first, unread last (earliest reprinted first)).

Date at the beginning of an entry is the date it was reprinted in Sci Fiction.
  1. 15 September 2004: [ss] Eric Frank Russell's "Allamagoosa" (A); Astounding, May 1955; science fiction, humor: Data fudging can have unforeseen consequences!
  2. 2 February 2005: [novelette] A Bertram Chandler's "Familiar Pattern" (as by George Whitley) (A); download; Astounding, August 1959 (as by George Whitley); science fiction: An illustration of European colonization pattern of some centuries ago - "the chance contact, the trader, the missionary, the incident, and the gunboat", ...
  3. 9 October 2002: [novelette] Raccoona Sheldon's "The Screwfly Solution" (A); download; Analog, June 1977; science fiction: Insects are to humans what humans are to these aliens!
  4. 16 February 2005: [ss] Rog Phillips' "The Yellow Pill" (A); download; Astounding, October 1958: A "murderer" patient is telling the psychiatrist to get a reality check, via the "yellow pill" treatment...
  5. 3 November 2004: [novelette] John Varley's "Bagatelle" (A); download: Defusing a human bomb.
  6. 11 July 2001: William Tenn's "Bernie the Faust" (A); Playboy, November 1963: Bernie got a deal that was too good, but when implications of cost began to sink in...

    May be available for download, but was giving temporary error when I last checked at Wayback Machine.
  7. 16 July 2003: Mark Clifton's "What Now, Little Man?" (A); download; F&SF, December 1959; science fiction: An examination of racial superiority prejudices.
  8. 17 June 2002: Mark Clifton's "Clerical Error" (A); download: In a society that doesn't value innovation, a man inflicted with demons formed by an understanding of the nature of his society & his upbringing is cured by a kind psychiatrist.
  9. 19 September 2001: [ss] Bob Shaw's "Light of Other Days" aka "Slow Glass" (A); download; Analog, August 1966; hard sf: A glass that slows down light so much it takes years to pass through!
  10. 17 September 2003: Robert Silverberg's "Caught in the Organ Draft" (A); download; Roger Elwood (Ed)'s "And Walk Now Gently Through the Fire" (1972): A dystopic society that forces young men & women to donate their body organs to older people to prolong seniors' lives!
  11. 8 January 2003: [novelette] William Tenn's "Party of the Two Parts" (A); download; Galaxy, August 1954: Cross-species "pornography" peddling.
  12. 15 October 2003: [novelette] Ward Moore's "The Fellow who Married the Maxill Girl" (A); download; F&SF, February 1960: A homind alien stranded on earth is tranforming the local community with his magic.
  13. 15 June 2005: [ss] Fredric Brown's "Mouse" (A); download; Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1949: An alien spaceship arrives with a dead mouse as sole passenger, & chaos begins.
  14. 12 December 2001: Pamela Zoline's "The Heat Death of The Universe" (A); download; New Worlds, July 1967; non-genre, humor: Description of a typical day in the life of a typical woman.
  15. 6 September 2000: Joan D Vinge's "To Bell The Cat" (A); download; Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Summer 1977; science fiction: A discredited human plays savior during first contact with aliens.
  16. 21 January 2004: John Wyndham's "The Stare" (B); download; non-genre: A woman being rudely stared at on a suburban train discovers the man wasn't staring at her but...
  17. 23 August 2000: [ss] Robert Sheckley's "A Wind Is Rising" (B); download; Galaxy, July 1957; science fiction: Life on a world with wind speeds that make the worst hurricanes on earth look like mild breeze.
  18. 13 December 2000: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's "The Meaning of the Word" (B); download: An archeologist has found ruins of a dead civilization on an alien world, & their ancient text. And will pay a terrible price for their decoding.
  19. 25 September 2002: Reginald Bretnor's "Mrs Pigafetta Swims Well" (B); download; fantasy: A mermaid is in love with an unwilling man.
  20. 3 September 2003: Chan Davis' "It Walks in Beauty" (B); download; non-genre: A young man is on the way to discover the nature of love & lust.
  21. 5 February 2003: [ss] Philip José Farmer's "The Sliced-Crosswise Only-On-Tuesday World" (B); download; Robert Silverberg (Ed)'s "New Dimensions 1", Doubleday, 1971; science fiction: Romance in a weirdly managed overpopulated world.
  22. 6 July 2005: Zenna Henderson's "Come On, Wagon" (B); download; fantasy: There is magic in kids that is lost in growing up process.
  23. 15 December 2004: Barry N Malzberg's "Transfer" (B); download; Fantastic, August 1975; horror: To my mind that cannot put recent Bombay terror attacks behind, this story sounds like a parable of terrorist's mindset.
  24. 20 August 2003: Marta Randall's "The View from Endless Scarp" (B); download: A human woman now alone on an extra-terrestrial world treks there with an intelligent native.
  25. 9 November 2005: Robert Bloch's "The Beautiful People" (B); download; non-genre: A woman of low self-esteem brutally tortures & kills her husband on discovering he was meeting another woman.
  26. 29 November 2000: Terry Carr's "The Dance of the Changer and the Three" (B); download; science fiction: Human adventurers among ancient energy beings completely beyond human comprehension.
  27. 17 April 2002: [ss] Fredric Brown's "The Geezenstacks" (B); download; Weird Tales, September 1943: A little girl's wishful play with her dolls keeps becoming reality.
  28. 21 August 2002: [novelette] James Tiptree, Jr's "The Women Men Don't See" (B); download; F&SF, December 1973; science fiction: A woman is very unhappy in a male dominated society.
  29. 17 March 2004: [ss] Fredric Brown's "The Little Lamb" (B); download; Manhunt, August 1953; horror: Creepy story of a worried man because his wife is not home & its night.
  30. 16 May 2001: [ss] Fredric Brown's "The Hat Trick" (as by Felix Graham) (B); download; Unknown Worlds, February 1943: A teenager pulls a magical trick in front of his friends that has them scared.
  31. 7 December 2005: [ss] Alfred Bester's "Star Light, Star Bright" (C); download; F&SF, July 1953; fantasy: An little boy's innocent wishes come true - in ways adults would find horrible!
  32. 1 October 2003: R A Lafferty's "The Transcendent Tigers" (C); download: Aliens of unthinkable power keep bestowing some of their power on worthy of primitive races. One of them have now granted that power to a 7 year old girl, who's having fun destroying one earth city after another!
  33. 18 October 2000: Samuel R Delany's "Corona" (C); download; F&SF, October 1967; science fiction: Two unhappy persons - a violently abused man & a little girl with an unusual gift - find happiness in their friendship.
  34. 23 October 2002: [ss] Gardner Dozois' "Flash Point" (C); Damon Knight (Ed)'s "Orbit 13", 1974; download; non-genre: Enumeration of violent incidents in a town.
  35. 20 July 2005: William Tenn's "The Tenants" (C); download; fantasy: Ordeal of an onsite agent selling real estate to two magical tenants.
  36. 22 August 2001: Barry N Malzberg's "The Market in Aliens" (C); download: Star faring aliens keep coming to earth in hoards so small time human traders can sell them for vivisection to laboratories or as zoo animals!
  37. 20 September 2000: Thomas M Disch's "Descending" (C); download; fantasy: A man has somehow entered a deserted down-going escalator in a never ending staircase. He will spend weeks going down, & die there because the way up is inaccessible.
  38. 31 May 2000: Howard Waldrop's "The Ugly Chickens"; download: Not read.
  39. 4 October 2000: Roger Zelazny's "The Man Who Loved the Faioli"; download: Not read.
  40. 1 November 2000: Leigh Kennedy's "Belling Martha"; download: Not read.
  41. 15 November 2000: Joanna Russ' "When It Changed"; download: Not read.
  42. 20 June 2001: James Blish's "Tomb Tapper"; download: Not read.
  43. 8 August 2001: John Wyndham's "Consider Her Ways"; download: Not read.
  44. 3 October 2001: James Blish's "How Beautiful With Banners"; download: Not read.
  45. 17 October 2001: Gerald Kersh's "Men without Bones"; download: Not read.
  46. 7 November 2001: Robert Sheckley's "Bad Medicine"; download: Not read.
  47. 2 January 2002: Ian Watson's "The Thousand Cuts"; download: Not read.
  48. 16 January 2002: Roger Zelazny's "Auto-da-Fé"; download: Not read.
  49. 6 February 2002: Brian W Aldiss' "Outside"; download: Not read.
  50. 19 March 2002: Kate Wilhelm's "The Funeral": Not read.
  51. 3 April 2002: Norman Spinrad's "Carcinoma Angels"; download: Not read.
  52. 5 June 2002: Terry Carr's "Hop-Friend"; download: Not read.
  53. 24 July 2002: Robert Sheckley's "Cordle To Onion To Carrot"; download: Not read.
  54. 11 September 2002: Ward Moore's "It Becomes Necessary"; download: Not read.
  55. 6 November 2002: Gerald Kersh's "The Queen of Pig Island"; download: Not read.
  56. 20 November 2002: Tom Reamy's "Waiting for Billy Star": Not read.
  57. 11 December 2002: Robert Sheckley's "Protection"; download: No read.
  58. 25 December 2002: John Wyndham's "More Spinned Against ..."; download: Not read.
  59. 22 January 2003: Brian W Aldiss' "Let's Be Frank"; download: Not read.
  60. 19 February 2003: Thomas M Disch's "Casablanca"; download: Not read.
  61. 5 March 2003: Frank Belknap Long's "Humpty Dumpty had a Great Fall"; download: Not read.
  62. 2 April 2003: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's "Frog Pond"; download: Not read.
  63. 16 April 2003: Charles L Grant's "Temperature Days on Hawthorne Street"; download: Not read.
  64. 7 May 2003: Samuel R Delany's "High Weir"; download: Not read.
  65. 21 May 2003: Sonya Dorman's "When I Was Miss Dow"; download: Not read.
  66. 4 June 2003: Terry Carr's "Touchstone"; download: Not read.
  67. 18 June 2003: Bob Shaw's "A Full Member of the Club": Not read.
  68. 2 July 2003: Rosel George Brown's "David's Daddy"; download: Not read.
  69. 6 August 2003: Robert F Young's "Thirty Days Had September"; download: Not read.
  70. 5 November 2003: Avram Davidson's "The Golem"; download: Not read.
  71. 3 December 2003: Lester Del Rey's "The Keepers of the House"; download: Not read.
  72. 17 December 2003: Thomas M Disch's "Minnesota Gothic"; download: Not read.
  73. 7 January 2004: Robert Sheckley's "The Prize of Peril"; download: Not read.
  74. 4 February 2004: Tom Reamy's "Twilla": Not read.
  75. 18 February 2004: Kris Neville's "Ballenger's People": Not read.
  76. 3 March 2004: Roger Zelazny's "King Solomon's Ring"; download: Not read.
  77. 7 April 2004: Manly Wade Wellman's "Sin's Doorway"; download: Not read.
  78. 21 April 2004: Robert F Young's "The Dandelion Girl"; download: Not read.
  79. 5 May 2004: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's "Un Bel Di"; download: Not read.
  80. 19 May 2004: Gene Wolfe's "Paul's Treehouse"; download: No read.
  81. 2 June 2004: Theodore Sturgeon's "The Girl Had Guts"; download: Not read.
  82. 7 July 2004: Samuel R Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah"; download: Not read.
  83. 21 July 2004: Edward Bryant's "Among the Dead"; download: Not read.
  84. 4 August 2004: Charles L Grant's "A Crowd of Shadows"; download: Not read.
  85. 18 August 2004: Howard Waldrop's "God's Hooks!"; download: Not read.
  86. 1 September 2004: Manly Wade Wellman's "Can These Bones Live?"; download: Not read.
  87. 6 October 2004: Joan D Vinge's "View from a Height"; download: Not read.
  88. 20 October 2004: Gardner Dozois' "A Kingdom by the Sea"; download: Not read.
  89. 1 December 2004: Frank M Robinson's "Two Weeks in August"; download: Not read.
  90. 5 January 2005: Pamela Sargent's "Gather Blue Roses"; download: Not read.
  91. 19 January 2005: James Tiptree, Jr's "Beam Us Home"; download: Not read.
  92. 2 March 2005: Alfred Bester's "They Don't Make Life Like They Used To"; download: Not read.
  93. 6 April 2005: Gahan Wilson's "The Sea Was Wet as Wet Can Be"; download: Not read.
  94. 20 April 2005: Terry Carr's "Brown Robert"; download: Not read.
  95. 18 May 2005: Elizabeth A Lynn's "The White King's Dream"; download: Not read.
  96. 1 June 2005: Chad Oliver's "Transformer"; download: Not read.
  97. 3 August 2005: Frank M Robinson's "A Life in the Day of ..."; download: Not read.
  98. 17 August 2005: Robert Silverberg's "To Be Continued ..."; download: Not read.
  99. 14 September 2005: Tom Reamy's "Under the Hollywood Sign": Not read.
  100. 28 September 2005: George Zebrowski's "The Water Sculptor"; download: Not read.
  101. 12 October 2005: James Tiptree, Jr's "Painwise"; download: Not read.
  102. 23 November 2005: Robert Silverberg's "The Man Who Never Forgot"; download: Not read.
  103. 21 December 2005: John Sladek's "The Great Wall of Mexico"; download: Not read.

See also.

  1. "The ED SF Project" is also doing a reading of SciFiction stories - both originals & classics.


dilaverson said...

Found mirrored copy of original scificlassic site at IRC, and uploaded it on free x10 hosting service: