Saturday, June 7, 2008

Overview of short story collections & anthologies

Some lists are best maintained manually rather than via tags. Most items listed here are accessible via "collection" (single author) or "anthology" (multi-author) tags. This post is about a very gross overview of collections & anthologies I've posted about.

I do not rate an anthology or collection unless I've read at least half the stories. Ratings are given without considering individual story ratings - they reflect my gross perception of the book - was it worth the money & time (A), or was it a waste (C). B is where I'm sort of ambivalent; I would rather not have brought it, but now that I have it, I might as well read some of the stories.

  1. Henry Kuttner/C L Moore.
    1. [col] Henry Kuttner's "The Best of Henry Kuttner" aka "The Last Mimzy Stories" (A): 17 stories, including several of the very best by anyone. Many were jointly written with his wife C L Moore.
    2. [col] C L Moore's "The Best of C L Moore": 10 stories. 9 from before her marriage with Kuttner, 1 jointly written with Kuttner. Includes her first two published stories -"Shambleau" (A) & "Black Thirst" (C). " Vintage Season" would probably rank among the best by anyone.
    3. [col] Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "Clash by Night and Other Stories" (ed Peter Pinto) (B): 5 stories - 2 novella, 2 novelettes, & 1 short story. "Vintage Season" is outstanding; "The Ego Machine" is cool. Rest are average.
    4. [col] Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "Mutant" (as by Lewis Padgett) (A): 5 stories, perhaps novelette or novella length each. A sort of angry response to Hitler's racism. A war has started a mutant human race - of telapathic "Baldies" (because they're hairless). Stories are about conflict of a racist group within Baldies that consider mere humans almost animals, another group fighting racist - all in the backdrop where insecure feeling normals will go on a purge to destroy all baldies.
  2. [col] Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" aka "The Silver Locusts": A collection of 26 linked stories on a single theme: Ostensibly a science fantasy about colonization of Mars by humans, where Mars is inhabited by sentient natives at the beginning of the book. But it's allusive; the story is really alternate history - a retelling of colonization of Americas by Europeans. Many of the stories were originally published independently; some were added for this book to ensure a smooth linked narrative. Stories are generally short story length with a few flash fiction length, & 1 novelette length.
  3. Murray Leinster:
    1. [col] "The Best of Murray Leinster" (ed J J Pierce) (A): A collection of 13 stories - including 9 very good ones, & some genre defining ones.
    2. [col] "A Logic Named Joe" (ed Eric Flint) (A): A collection of 6 stories, including 3 novels. Mostly better than average stories.
  4. Mike Resnick's Lucifer Jones series (humorous non-genre stories).
    1. [col] Mike Resnick's "Hazards": Yet to be published. Several stories are available online. Stories are all set in South America during 1934-1938. "Merry Bunta!" & "The Lost Continent of Moo" are memorable ones; they were the ones that hooked me to the series.
    2. [col] Mike Resnick's "Encounters": 11 stories set in Europe during 1931-1934. I haven't read any.
    3. [col] Mike Resnick's "Exploits": 10 stories set in Asia during 1926-1931.
    4. [col] Mike Resnick's "Adventures": 12 stories set in Africa during 1922-1926.
  5. [col] Eric Frank Russell's "Men, Martians and Machines": 4 space adventure stories featuring a character called Jay Score, some Martians, & a few other common characters. Last 3 stories are about failed human first-contact adventures on alien worlds where aliens are very hostile, & humans are lucky to get back alive - a world of sentient robots, another of hypnotists, yet another of animal/vegetation symbiotes. First story is generally independent of other three - about a shipwreck in space.
  6. [col] Larry Niven's "Tales of Known Space": 13 generally independent stories (1 online) - a few are set on earth, many on other planets of Sol, a few at interstellar distances. Some of them share characters or themes. Nothing I would put near top of my all time best, but two are memorable:" The Jigsaw Man" & "The Warriors".
  7. Arthur Clarke.
    1. [col] Arthur Clarke's "The Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke" (A): Among the very best collections by anyone. 104 stories, including some of the very best by anyone. Also includes original shorter versions of a half dozen novels.
    2. [col] Arthur Clarke's "More Than One Universe": 66 stories, many read. Some of them among the very best.
    3. [col] Arthur Clarke's "Tales from the White Hart" (A): 15 stories with a humorous bend. Among his better collections.
    4. [col] Arthur Clarke's "The Sentinel": 10 stories, including the title story.
    5. [col] Arthur Clarke's "Across the Sea of Stars": Includes 18 short stories & 2 novels. Novels are "Childhood's End" & "Earthlight".
    6. [col] Arthur Clarke's "The Wind from the Sun": 18 stories.
    7. [col] Arthur Clarke's "Of Time and Stars": 18 stories.
    8. [col] Arthur Clarke's "Tales of Ten Worlds": 15 stories.
    9. [col] Arthur Clarke's "Expedition to Earth": 11 stories, including title story.
    10. [col] Arthur Clarke's "Reach for Tommorrow": 12 stories.
  8. [ant] David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer (Ed)'s "Year's Best SF" series of anthologies: Link takes to ToCs of all volumes up to 13 (May 2008). Many stories in each volume are online. My readings of the series are intermittent, impressions are generally of average quality stuff. Early editions are by Hartwell alone; later jointly with his wife Kathryn.
  9. [ant] Gardner Dozois' "Best of the Year" series of anthologies: Link takes to ToC of late volumes rather than all (at the time I'm writing this line, it's Vol 19 (2002) to Vol 25 (2008)). Plus two books called "Best of the Best" - selections from his normal annual anthologies.Many stories in each volume are online. My readings of the series are intermittent.
  10. [ant] SciFiction's Selected classics: This entry is a cheat - it's not a published book, but stories reprinted in Classics section of now defunct SciFiction during 2000-2005 - sort of Ellen Datlow's selections. 100+ stories. From the few I've read, it includes fantastic to lousy. Each story is online.
  11. Science Fiction Hall of Fame series: Original concept was - select the stories using Nebula Award process, where candidates are from before Nebula Awards were instituted. That's Vol 1, 2A, & 2B of series - the only part I've seen. Since then, there have been attempts to extend the franchise - so there have been more volumes that select from normal Nebula winner stories (I think).
    1. [ant] Robert Silverberg (Ed)'s "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964" (1970) (A): 26 stories, all read. Include some of the very best.
    2. [ant] Ben Bova (Ed)'s "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume Two A" (1973) (A): 11 stories, all read. Include some of the very best.
    3. [ant] Ben Bova (Ed)'s "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume Two B" (1973) (A): 11 stories. I've read a few but not all; based on that, I've an impression it's a bit inferior collection compared to other two.
  12. [ant] Gene van Troyer & Grania Davis (Ed)'s "Speculative Japan: Outstanding Tales of Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy": Collection of 15 old Japanese stories, probably translated by this book for the first time. Heavily tilted towards fantasy. A few stories are online.
  13. [ant] David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer (Ed)'s "The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF" (A): 67 stories, including some of the very best. Hard sf in title needs to be taken with a lot of skepticism - not only is most selection not hard sf, it actually includes fantasy too. A few of the stories are online.
  14. [ant] Lou Anders (Ed)'s "Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge": 21 stories, 1 online. I've only read the online one.
  15. [ant] William G Contento's Top Ten Most Reprinted Stories: This is a cheat; not a published book, but a very impressive selection of stories by an interesting process. Contento looked at "3,900 SF anthologies and single-author collections published before 1984". He sorted "over 38,000 stories by 3,880 authors" from this list by frequency - how many times a story was collected. Top 10 entries from this sort mean 23 stories (some were reprinted equally often).
  16. [ant] David Drake, Jim Baen, & Eric Flint (Eds)' "The World Turned Upside Down": Appears to be one of the best selection of old science fiction stories. I've read only a third of the stories at the time of writing this comment.
  17. [ant] My selection of online science fiction stories for genre newbies: This is a cheat, not a published book. A selection of 20 stories intended to excite non-genre readers about science fiction.