Saturday, January 31, 2009

Isaac Asimov & Martin H Greenberg (Eds)' "Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 2 (1940)" (anthology): Annotated table of contents & review

Cover image of the book titled Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 2 1940, edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H GreenbergThis is the second of a series of 25 anthologies by these editors. This book collects stories first published during the year 1940.

I haven't read many stories yet; will update as I move through the book. Where I'm aware of online copies of stories, I provide download links. My rating is in brackets. Where I've a separate post on a the story, link on story title goes there. Link on a noun yields more of related stories.

Table of contents (16 stories, best first, unread last).

  1. [ss] Ross Rocklynne's "Quietus" (A); download; Astounding, September 1940; first contact: "who we are creates a bias in how we view the world".
  2. [novelette] Harry Bates' "Farewell to the Master" (A); download; Astounding, October 1940; first contact: What we see depends on what we are...
  3. [novelette] L Sprague de Camp's "The Exalted" (A); Astounding, November 1940; humor: An "uplifted to superhuman intelligence" professor loves playing pranks.
  4. [novelette] A E van Vogt's "Vault of the Beast" (B); Astounding, August 1940: Colonists from a parallel universe are defeated by the hero.
  5. [novelette] Theodore Sturgeon's "It!" (B); download comic book adaptation; Unknown, August 1940: I've only read the comic book version yet.

    A zombie is mysteriously born out of a dead man's skeleton that has been lying in the jungle for years - by mixing skeleton with locally available matter like mud & dead vegetation. Unthinking acts of zombie will cause a death & a lot of consternation, till its own death by falling in water that washes away the junk - leaving back the again inert skeleton.

    I cannot really figure out what made the editors include it in this book. It doesn't belong in any list of great sf stories.
  6. [ss] Willard Hawkins' "The Dwindling Sphere"; Astounding, March 1940: Not read.
  7. [ss] Fritz Leiber's "The Automatic Pistol"; Weird Tales, May 1940: Not read.
  8. [ss] Jack Williamson' "Hindsight"; Astounding, May 1940: Not read.
  9. [ss] Robert Arthur's "Postpaid to Paradise"; Argosy, 15 July 1940: Not read.
  10. [novelette] Ross Rocklynne's "Into the Darkness"; Astonishing Stories, June 1940: Not read.
  11. [ss] Lester del Rey's "Dark Mission"; Astounding, July 1940: Not read.
  12. [ss] Oscar J Friend's "The Impossible Highway"; Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1940: Not read.
  13. [ss] Isaac Asimov's "Strange Playfellow" aka "Robbie"; Super Science Stories, September 1940: I'd read it a long time back. Don't recall many details, but it's probably of a little girl with a play robot. Parents think her affection with robot is unhealthy & its returned back to factory. Girl is unconsolable. On a return to factory for something, the girl is saved by the same robot. Parents finally accept robot.
  14. [ss] L Sprague de Camp's "The Warrior Race"; Astounding, October 1940: Not read.
  15. [novelette] Theodore Sturgeon's "Butyl and the Breather"; Astounding, October 1940: Not read.
  16. [novelette] P Schuyler Miller's "Old Man Mulligan"; Astounding, December 1940: Not read.

Fact sheet.

First published: August 1979 (DAW).
Relevant entries have been added to the list of stories from John Campbell's Astounding.
Some of the bibliographical information here comes from ISFDB.