Monday, March 8, 2010

Jonathan Strahan (Ed)'s "The Best of Larry Niven" (collection): Annotated table of contents & review

ToC of this yet to be published book is available at Subterranean.

At least 3 of the stories are online: "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" (download), "Cloak of Anarchy" (download), & "Smut Talk" (download), none particularly good,. First one can be very inaccessible to those not into Hollywood movies.
An aside: Heinlein's "Coventry" is a far more interesting treatment of "an experiment in anarchy on a small scale" than "Cloak of Anarchy".

Among those I've read, "The Jigsaw Man" is probably the best. "The Hole Man" is very famous, but appreciating it can take a while after reading it! "The Borderland of Sol", I think, is highly overrated though well known because of Hugo award it got; I've a feeling I've seen it online, but cannot find the URL right now.

I can name at least one story that does belong to any "best of Niven" list but isn't here: "Plaything".

Table of contents (27 stories, best first, unread last).

My rating is in brackets. Where I've a separate post on a story, link on title goes there. Where I'm aware of an online copy, download link is provided too.
  1. "The Jigsaw Man" (A); 1967: Chilling implications of human organ transplant technology. Nominated for Hugo Award 1968 in short story category.
  2. "The Hole Man" (B); Analog, January 1974: Poking your nose at certain places can be harmful!
  3. "Becalmed in Hell" (B); F&SF, July 1965: An accident on Venus.
  4. "Cloak of Anarchy" (B); download Analog, Mar 1972: An experiment in an anarchy-based society where there is no government.
  5. "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" (B); download; Knight, December 1969: Superman's sex problems!
  6. "Smut Talk" (C); Playboy (US), January 2000: Sentient parasitic bacteria of alien origin.
  7. "The Borderland of Sol" (C); Analog, Jan 1975: Space pirates are robbing commercial traffic on busy interstellar routes with a novel weapon. Our heroes are out to hunt them down.
  8. "Bordered in Black"
  9. "Neutron Star"
  10. "The Soft Weapon"
  11. "The Deadlier Weapon"
  12. "All the Myriad Ways"
  13. "Not Long Before the End"
  14. "Inconstant Moon"
  15. "Rammer"
  16. "The Fourth Profession"
  17. "Flash Crowd"
  18. "The Defenceless Dead"
  19. "The Flight of the Horse"
  20. "Night On Mispec Moor"
  21. "Flatlander"
  22. "The Magic Goes Away"
  23. "Cautionary Tales"
  24. "Limits"
  25. "A Teardrop Falls"
  26. "The Return of William Proxmire"
  27. "The Missing Mass"
Related: Stories of Larry Niven; works of Jonathan Strahan; "best of" lists.

Note: I normally update list posts like this when I read a story, find online link, etc. This post was last updated on 8 March 2010.