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The big book of science fiction : the ultimate collection / edited and with an introduction by Anne and Jeff VanderMeer.

Contributor(s): VanderMeer, Anne, editor | VanderMeer, Jeff [editor.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, Vintage Books, 2016Copyright date: ©2016Edition: A Vintage crime/Black Lizard original.Description: xxxi, 1178 pages ; 23 cm.ISBN: 9781101910092 (paperback).Subject(s): Science fiction -- 20th century | Science fiction -- 21st centuryGenre/Form: Science fiction.DDC classification: 808.83/8762
Contents:
The star / H. G. Wells -- Sultana's dream / Rokheya Shekhawat Hossain -- The triumph of mechanics / Karl Hans Strobl -- The new overworld / Paul Scheerbart -- Elements of Pataphysics / Alfred Jarry -- Mechanopolis / Miguel de Unamuno -- The doom of Principal City / Yefim Zozulya -- The comet / W. E. B. Du Bois -- The fate of the Poseidonia / Clare Winger Harris -- The star stealers / Edmond Hamilton -- The conquest of Gola / Leslie F. Stone -- A Martian odyssey / Stanley G. Weinbaum -- The last poet and the robots / A t -- The microscopic giants / Paul Ernst -- Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius / Jorge Luis Borges -- Desertion / Clifford D. Simak -- September 2005: the Martian / Ray Bradbury -- Baby HP / Juan José Arreola -- Surface tension / James Blish -- Beyond lies the Wub / Philip K. Dick -- The snowball effect / Katherine Maclean -- Prott / Margaret St. Clair -- The liberation of Earth / William Tenn -- Let me live in a house / Chad Oliver -- The star / Arthur C. Clarke -- Grandpa / James H. Schmitz -- The game of rat and dragon / Cordwainer Smith -- The last question / Isaac Asimov -- Stranger station / Damon Knight -- Sector general / James White -- The visitors / Arkady and Boris Strugatsky -- Pelt / Carol Emshwiller -- The monster / Gérard Klein -- The man who lost the sea / Theodore Sturgeon -- The waves / Silvina Ocampo -- Plenitude / Will Worthington -- The voices of time / J. G. Ballard -- The astronaut / Valentina Zhuravlyova -- The squid chooses its own ink / Adolfo Bioy Casares -- 2BRO2B / Kurt Vonnegut Jr. -- A modest genius / Vadim Shefner -- Day of Wrath / Sever Gansovsky -- The hands / John Baxter.
Darkness / André Carneiro -- "Repent, Harlequin!" said the Ticktockman / Harlan Ellison -- Nine hundred grandmothers / R. A. Lafferty -- Day million / Frederik Pohl -- Student body / F. L. Wallace -- Aye, and Gomorrah / Samuel R. Delany -- The hall of machines / Langdon Jones -- Soft clocks / Yoshio Aramaki -- Three from Moderan / David R. Bunch -- Let us save the universe / Stanislaw Lem -- Vaster than empires and more slow / Ursula K. Le Guin -- Good news from the Vatican / Robert Silverberg -- When it changed / Joanna Russ -- And I awoke and found me here on the cold hill's side / James Tiptree Jr. -- Where two paths cross / Dmitri Bilenkin -- Standing woman / Yasutaka Tsutsui -- The IWM 1000 / Alicia Yánez Cossio -- The house of compassionate sharers / Michael Bishop -- Sporting with the Chid / Barrington J. Bayley -- Sandkings / George R. R. Martin -- Wives / Lisa Tuttle -- The snake who had read Chomsky / Josephine Saxton -- Reiko's universe box / Kajio Shinji -- Swarm / Bruce Sterling -- Mondocane / Jacques Barbéri -- Blood music / Greg Bear -- Bloodchild / Octavia E. Butler -- Variation on a man / Pat Cadigan -- Passing as a flower in the City of the Dead / S. N. Dyer -- New Rose Hotel / William Gibson -- Pots / C. J. Cherryh -- Snow / John Crowley -- The lake was full of artificial things / Karen Joy Fowler -- The unmistakable smell of wood violets / Angélica Gorodischer -- The owl of Bear Island / Jon Bing -- Readers of the lost art / Élizabeth Vonarburg -- A gift from the culture / Iain M. Banks -- Paranamanco / Jean-Claude Dunyach.
Crying in the rain / Tanith Lee -- The frozen cardinal / Michael Moorcock -- Rachel in love / Pat Murphy -- Sharing air / Manjula Padmanabhan -- Schwarzschild radius / Connie Willis -- All the hues of hell / Gene Wolfe -- Vacuum states / Geoffrey A. Landis -- Two small birds / Han song -- Burning sky / Rachel Pollack -- Before I wake / Kim Stanley Robinson -- Death is static death is movement / Misha Nogha -- The brains of rats / Michael Blumlein -- Gorgonoids / Leena Krohn -- Vacancy for the post of Jesus Christ / Kojo Laing -- The universe of things -- Gwyneth Jones -- The Remoras / Robert Reed -- The ghost standard / William Tenn -- Remnants of the Virago crypto-system / Geoffrey Maloney -- How Alex became a machine / Stepan Chapman -- The poetry cloud / Cixin Liu -- Story of your life / Ted Chiang -- Craphound / Cory Doctorow -- The Slynx / Tatyana Tolstaya -- Baby doll / Johanna Sinisalo.
Summary: What if life was neverending? What if you could change your body to adapt to an alien ecology? What if the pope were a robot? Spanning galaxies and millennia, this must-have anthology showcases classic contributions from H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia E. Butler, and Kurt Vonnegut, alongside a century of the eccentrics, rebels, and visionaries who have inspired generations of readers. Within its pages, you?ll find beloved worlds of space opera, hard SF, cyberpunk, the New Wave, and more. Learn about the secret history of science fiction, from titans of literature who also wrote SF to less well-known authors from more than twenty-five countries, some never before translated into English. In The Big Book of Science Fiction, literary power couple Ann and Jeff VanderMeer transport readers from Mars to Mechanopolis, planet Earth to parts unknown. Immerse yourself in the genre that predicted electric cars, space tourism, and smartphones. Sit back, buckle up, and dial in the coordinates, as this stellar anthology has got worlds within worlds.
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The star / H. G. Wells -- Sultana's dream / Rokheya Shekhawat Hossain -- The triumph of mechanics / Karl Hans Strobl -- The new overworld / Paul Scheerbart -- Elements of Pataphysics / Alfred Jarry -- Mechanopolis / Miguel de Unamuno -- The doom of Principal City / Yefim Zozulya -- The comet / W. E. B. Du Bois -- The fate of the Poseidonia / Clare Winger Harris -- The star stealers / Edmond Hamilton -- The conquest of Gola / Leslie F. Stone -- A Martian odyssey / Stanley G. Weinbaum -- The last poet and the robots / A t -- The microscopic giants / Paul Ernst -- Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius / Jorge Luis Borges -- Desertion / Clifford D. Simak -- September 2005: the Martian / Ray Bradbury -- Baby HP / Juan José Arreola -- Surface tension / James Blish -- Beyond lies the Wub / Philip K. Dick -- The snowball effect / Katherine Maclean -- Prott / Margaret St. Clair -- The liberation of Earth / William Tenn -- Let me live in a house / Chad Oliver -- The star / Arthur C. Clarke -- Grandpa / James H. Schmitz -- The game of rat and dragon / Cordwainer Smith -- The last question / Isaac Asimov -- Stranger station / Damon Knight -- Sector general / James White -- The visitors / Arkady and Boris Strugatsky -- Pelt / Carol Emshwiller -- The monster / Gérard Klein -- The man who lost the sea / Theodore Sturgeon -- The waves / Silvina Ocampo -- Plenitude / Will Worthington -- The voices of time / J. G. Ballard -- The astronaut / Valentina Zhuravlyova -- The squid chooses its own ink / Adolfo Bioy Casares -- 2BRO2B / Kurt Vonnegut Jr. -- A modest genius / Vadim Shefner -- Day of Wrath / Sever Gansovsky -- The hands / John Baxter.

Darkness / André Carneiro -- "Repent, Harlequin!" said the Ticktockman / Harlan Ellison -- Nine hundred grandmothers / R. A. Lafferty -- Day million / Frederik Pohl -- Student body / F. L. Wallace -- Aye, and Gomorrah / Samuel R. Delany -- The hall of machines / Langdon Jones -- Soft clocks / Yoshio Aramaki -- Three from Moderan / David R. Bunch -- Let us save the universe / Stanislaw Lem -- Vaster than empires and more slow / Ursula K. Le Guin -- Good news from the Vatican / Robert Silverberg -- When it changed / Joanna Russ -- And I awoke and found me here on the cold hill's side / James Tiptree Jr. -- Where two paths cross / Dmitri Bilenkin -- Standing woman / Yasutaka Tsutsui -- The IWM 1000 / Alicia Yánez Cossio -- The house of compassionate sharers / Michael Bishop -- Sporting with the Chid / Barrington J. Bayley -- Sandkings / George R. R. Martin -- Wives / Lisa Tuttle -- The snake who had read Chomsky / Josephine Saxton -- Reiko's universe box / Kajio Shinji -- Swarm / Bruce Sterling -- Mondocane / Jacques Barbéri -- Blood music / Greg Bear -- Bloodchild / Octavia E. Butler -- Variation on a man / Pat Cadigan -- Passing as a flower in the City of the Dead / S. N. Dyer -- New Rose Hotel / William Gibson -- Pots / C. J. Cherryh -- Snow / John Crowley -- The lake was full of artificial things / Karen Joy Fowler -- The unmistakable smell of wood violets / Angélica Gorodischer -- The owl of Bear Island / Jon Bing -- Readers of the lost art / Élizabeth Vonarburg -- A gift from the culture / Iain M. Banks -- Paranamanco / Jean-Claude Dunyach.

Crying in the rain / Tanith Lee -- The frozen cardinal / Michael Moorcock -- Rachel in love / Pat Murphy -- Sharing air / Manjula Padmanabhan -- Schwarzschild radius / Connie Willis -- All the hues of hell / Gene Wolfe -- Vacuum states / Geoffrey A. Landis -- Two small birds / Han song -- Burning sky / Rachel Pollack -- Before I wake / Kim Stanley Robinson -- Death is static death is movement / Misha Nogha -- The brains of rats / Michael Blumlein -- Gorgonoids / Leena Krohn -- Vacancy for the post of Jesus Christ / Kojo Laing -- The universe of things -- Gwyneth Jones -- The Remoras / Robert Reed -- The ghost standard / William Tenn -- Remnants of the Virago crypto-system / Geoffrey Maloney -- How Alex became a machine / Stepan Chapman -- The poetry cloud / Cixin Liu -- Story of your life / Ted Chiang -- Craphound / Cory Doctorow -- The Slynx / Tatyana Tolstaya -- Baby doll / Johanna Sinisalo.

What if life was neverending? What if you could change your body to adapt to an alien ecology? What if the pope were a robot? Spanning galaxies and millennia, this must-have anthology showcases classic contributions from H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia E. Butler, and Kurt Vonnegut, alongside a century of the eccentrics, rebels, and visionaries who have inspired generations of readers. Within its pages, you?ll find beloved worlds of space opera, hard SF, cyberpunk, the New Wave, and more. Learn about the secret history of science fiction, from titans of literature who also wrote SF to less well-known authors from more than twenty-five countries, some never before translated into English. In The Big Book of Science Fiction, literary power couple Ann and Jeff VanderMeer transport readers from Mars to Mechanopolis, planet Earth to parts unknown. Immerse yourself in the genre that predicted electric cars, space tourism, and smartphones. Sit back, buckle up, and dial in the coordinates, as this stellar anthology has got worlds within worlds.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

From the Introduction   Since the days of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and H. G. Wells, science fiction has not just helped define and shape the course of literature but reached well beyond fictional realms to influence our perspectives on culture, science, and technology. Ideas like electric cars, space travel, and forms of advanced communication compa­rable to today's cell phone all first found their way into the public's awareness through science fiction. In stories like Alicia Yánez Cossío's "The IWM 100" from the 1970s you can even find a clear prediction of Information Age giants like Google--and when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, the event was a very real culmina­tion of a yearning already expressed through science fiction for many decades. Science fiction has allowed us to dream of a better world by creating visions of future soci­eties without prejudice or war. Dystopias, too, like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , have had their place in science fiction, allowing writers to comment on injustice and dangers to democracy. Where would Eastern Bloc writers have been without the creative outlet of science fic­tion, which by seeming not to speak about the present day often made it past the censors? For many under Soviet domination during those decades, science fiction was a form of subver­sion and a symbol of freedom. Today, science fiction continues to ask "What if?" about such important topics as global warming, energy dependence, the toxic effects of capitalism, and the uses of our modern technology, while also bringing back to readers strange and wonder­ful visions. No other form of literature has been so rel­evant to our present yet been so filled with visionary and transcendent moments. No other form has been as entertaining, either. But until now there has been no definitive and complete collection that truly captured the global influ­ence and significance of this dynamic genre--bringing together authors from all over the world and from both the "genre" and "literary" ends of the fiction spectrum. The Big Book of Science Fiction covers the entire twentieth cen­tury, presenting, in chronological order, sto­ries from more than thirty countries, from the pulp space opera of Edmond Hamilton to the literary speculations of Jorge Luis Borges, from the pre-Afrofuturism of W. E. B. Du Bois to the second-wave feminism of James Tiptree Jr.--and beyond! What you find within these pages may sur­prise you. It definitely surprised us.     WHAT IS THE "GOLDEN AGE" OF SCIENCE FICTION? Even people who do not read science fiction have likely heard the term "the Golden Age of Science Fiction." The actual Golden Age of Sci­ence Fiction lasted from about the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s, and is often conflated for general readers with the preceding Age of the Pulps (1920s to mid-1930s). The Age of the Pulps had been dominated by the editor of Amazing Stories , Hugo Gernsback. Sometimes called the Father of Science Fiction, Gernsback was most famously photographed in an all-encompassing "Isolator" author helmet, attached to an oxygen tank and breathing apparatus. The Golden Age dispensed with the Isola­tor, coinciding as it did with the proliferation of American science fiction magazines, the rise of the ultimately divisive editor John W. Camp­bell at Astounding Science Fiction (such strict definitions and such a dupe for Dianetics !), and a proto-market for science fiction novels (which would only reach fruition in the 1950s). This period also saw the rise to dominance of authors like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, C. L. Moore, Robert Heinlein, and Alfred Bester. It fixed science fiction in the public imagination as having a "sense of wonder" and a "can-do" attitude about science and the universe, sometimes based more on the earnest, naïve covers than the actual content, which could be dark and complex. But "the Golden Age" has come to mean something else as well. In his classic, oft-quoted book on science fiction, Age of Wonders: Explor­ing the World of Science Fiction (1984), the iconic anthologist and editor David Hartwell asserted that "the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12." Hartwell, an influential gatekeeper in the field, was making a point about the arguments that "rage until the small of the morning" at science fiction conventions among "grown men and women" about that time when "every story in every magazine was a master work of daring, original thought." The reason readers argue about whether the Golden Age occurred in the 1930s, 1950s, or 1970s, according to Hartwell, is because the true age of science fiction is the age at which the reader has no ability to tell good fiction from bad fiction, the excellent from the terrible, but instead absorbs and appreciates just the wonderful visions and exciting plots of the stories. This is a strange assertion to make, one that seems to want to make excuses. It's often repeated without much analysis of how such a brilliant anthology editor also credited with bringing literary heavyweights like Gene Wolfe and Philip K. Dick to readers would want to (inadvertently?) apologize for science fiction while at the same time engaging in a senti­mentality that seems at odds with the whole enterprise of truly speculative fiction. (Not to mention dissing twelve-year-olds!) Perhaps one reason for Hartwell's stance can be found in how science fiction in the United States, and to some extent in the United King­dom, rose out of pulp magazine delivery sys­tems seen as "low art." A pronounced "cultural cringe" within science fiction often combines with the brutal truth that misfortunes of ori­gin often plague literature, which can assign value based on how swanky a house looks from the outside rather than what's inside. The new Kafka who next arises from cosmopolitan Prague is likely to be hailed a savior, but not so much the one who arises from, say, Crawford­ville, Florida. There is also something of a need to apolo­gize for the ma-and-pop tradition exemplified by the pulps, with their amateurish and eccen­tric editors, who sometimes had little formal training and possessed as many eccentricities as freckles, and who came to dominate the American science fiction world early on. Sometimes an Isolator was the least of it. Yet even with regard to the pulps, evidence suggests that these magazines at times enter­tained more sophisticated content than gener­ally given credit for, so that in a sense an idea like "the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12" undermines the truth about such publications. It also renders invisible all of the complex sci­ence fiction being written outside of the pulp tradition. Therefore, we humbly offer the assertion that contrary to popular belief and based on all of the evidence available to us . . . the actual Golden Age of Science Fiction is twenty-one, not twelve. The proof can be found in the con­tents of this anthology, where we have, as much as possible, looked at the totality of what we think of "science fiction," without privileging the dominant mode, but also without discard­ing it. That which may seem overbearing or all of a type at first glance reveals its individuality and uniqueness when placed in a wider con­text. At third or fourth glance, you may even find that stories from completely different tra­ditions have commonalities and speak to each other in interesting ways.   BUILDING A BETTER DEFINITION OF "SCIENCE FICTION" We evoked the names of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and H. G. Wells at the beginning of this introduction for a very specific reason. All three are useful entry points or origin points for science fiction because they do not exist so far back in time as to make direct influence seem ethereal or attenuated, they are still known in the modern era, and because the issues they dealt with permeate what we call the "genre" of science fiction even today. We hesitate to invoke the slippery and pre­ternatural word influence , because influence appears and disappears and reappears, sidles in and has many mysterious ways. It can be as simple yet profound as reading a text as a child and forgetting it, only to have it well up from the subconscious years later, or it can be a clear and all-consuming passion. At best we can only say that someone cannot be influenced by something not yet written or, in some cases, not yet translated. Or that influence may occur not when a work is published but when the writer enters the popular imagination--for example, as Wells did through Orson Welles's infamous radio broadcast of War of the Worlds (1938) or, to be silly for a second, Mary Shelley through the movie Young Frankenstein (1974). For this reason even wider claims of influ­ence on science fiction, like writer and editor Lester del Rey's assertion that the Mesopo­tamian Epic of Gilgamesh is the earliest writ­ten science fiction story, seem appropriative, beside the point, and an overreach for legiti­macy more useful as a "tell" about the posi­tion of science fiction in the 1940s and 1950s in North America. But we brought up our triumvirate because they represent different strands of science fiction. The earliest of these authors, Mary Shel­ley, and her Frankenstein (1818), ushered in a modern sensibility of ambivalence about the uses of technology and science while wedding the speculative to the horrific in a way reflected very early on in science fiction. The "mad sci­entist" trope runs rife through the pages of the science fiction pulps and even today in their modern equivalents. She also is an important figure for feminist SF. Jules Verne, meanwhile, opened up lines of inquiry along more optimistic and hopeful lines. For all that Verne liked to create schemat­ics and specific detail about his inventions--like the submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)--he was a very happy puppy who used his talents in the service of sci­entific romanticism, not "hard science fiction." H. G. Wells's fiction was also dubbed "sci­entific romanticism" during his lifetime, but his work existed somewhere between these two foci. His most useful trait as the godfather of modern science fiction is the granularity of his writing. Because his view of the world existed at an intersection of sociology, politics, and technology, Wells was able to create complex geopolitical and social contexts for his fiction--indeed, after he abandoned science fiction, Wells's later novels were those of a social real­ist, dealing with societal injustice, among other topics. He was able to quantify and fully real­ize extrapolations about the future and explore the iniquities of modern industrialization in his fiction. The impulse to directly react to how indus­trialization has affected our lives occurs very early on in science fiction--for example, in Karl Hans Strobl's cautionary factory tale "The Triumph of Mechanics" (1907) and even in the playful utopian visions of Paul Scheerbart, which often pushed back against bad elements of "modernization." (For his optimism, Scheer­bart perished in World War I, while Strobl's "reward" was to fall for fascism and join the Nazi Party--in part, a kind of repudiation of the views expressed in "The Triumph . . .") Social and political issues also peer out from science fiction from the start, and not just in Wells's work. Rokheya Shekhawat Hossein's "Sultana's Dream" (1905) is a potent feminist utopian vision. W. E. B. Du Bois's "The Comet" (1920) isn't just a story about an impending science-fictional catastrophe but also the start of a conversation about race relations and a proto-Afrofuturist tale. The previously untranslated Yefim Zozulya's "The Doom of Principal City" (1918) presages the atrocities perpetrated by the communism of the Soviet Union and highlights the underlying absurdities of certain ideologi­cal positions. (It's perhaps telling that these early examples do not come from the American pulp SF tradition.) This kind of eclectic stance also suggests a simple yet effective definition for science fic­tion: it depicts the future, whether in a stylized or realistic manner . There is no other definitional barrier to identifying science fiction unless you are intent on defending some particular terri­tory. Science fiction lives in the future , whether that future exists ten seconds from the Now or whether in a story someone builds a time machine a century from now in order to travel back into the past. It is science fiction whether the future is phantasmagorical and surreal or nailed down using the rivets and technical jar­gon of "hard science fiction." A story is also sci­ence fiction whether the story in question is, in fact, extrapolation about the future or using the future to comment on the past or present. Thinking about science fiction in this way delinks the actual content or "experience" delivered by science fiction from the com­modification of that genre by the marketplace. It does not privilege the dominant mode that originated with the pulps over other forms. But neither does it privilege those other manifes­tations over the dominant mode. Further, this definition eliminates or bypasses the idea of a "turf war" between genre and the mainstream, between commercial and literary, and invali­dates the (weird ignorant snobbery of) tribalism that occurs on one side of the divide and the faux snobbery (ironically based on ignorance) that sometimes manifests on the other. Wrote the brilliant editor Judith Merril in the seventh annual edition of The Year's Best S-F (1963), out of frustration: "But that's not science fiction . . . !" Even my best friends (to invert a para­phrase) keep telling me: That's not sci­ence fiction! Sometimes they mean it couldn't be s-f, because it's good. Some­times it couldn't be because it's not about spaceships or time machines. (Religion or politics or psychology isn't science fiction--is it?) Sometimes (because some of my best friends are s-f fans) they mean it's not really science fiction--just fantasy or satire or something like that. On the whole, I think I am very patient. I generally manage to explain again, just a little wearily, what the "S-F" in the title of this book means, and what sci­ence fiction is, and why the one contains the other, without being constrained by it. But it does strain my patience when the exclamation is compounded to mean, "Surely you don't mean to use that? That's not science fiction!"--about a first-rate piece of the honest thing. Standing on either side of this debate is corrosive--detrimental to the study and cele­bration of science fiction; all it does is sidetrack discussion or analysis, which devolves into SF/not SF or intrinsically valuable/not valuable. And, for the general reader weary of antholo­gies prefaced by a series of "inside baseball" remarks, our definition hopefully lessens your future burden of reading these words. Excerpted from The Big Book of Science Fiction All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

With 97 stories and more than 1,200 pages, this latest collection attempts to survey the sf genre. Editors Jeff and Ann VanderMeer focus on the 20th century, though they dip into the 19th for the earliest story from H.G. Wells ("The Star") and edge over into the 21st century for the final piece, Johanna Sinisalo's "Baby Doll." In between there are award-winning tales from canon authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Ralph Ellison. The editors made efforts to cast the widest net possible, however, making this a true voyage of discovery of underappreciated female writers such as Clare Winger Harris, Katherine MacLean, and Josephine Saxton. There are also stories from dozens of countries, many of which are translated into English for the first time or for which the editors commissioned new translations. Each story gets a lengthy introduction, placing the authors and their work in historical context, which allow new sf readers a fun and solid genre education. Some pieces showcase the playful language and surreal subjects covered in depth in the editors' compilation The Weird. -VERDICT Libraries will want this on their shelves for years to come-although their patrons might also appreciate the lighter digital version.-MM © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

At 105 stories-taken from around the world and since the genre's very beginnings to its recent heights-and more than 1,000 pages, this extraordinary anthology handily earns its billing as the "ultimate collection" of science fiction. Featuring authors from A (Isaac Asimov's "The Last Question") to Z (Valentina Zhuravlyova's "The Astronaut"), the anthology manages to touch all bases of the genre, from its origins (H.G. Wells's "The Star"), through the pulp era (Edmond Hamilton's "The Star-Stealers"), the so-called golden age of the 1940s and '50s (Ray Bradbury's "September 2005: The Martian"), New Wave (Samuel R. Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah..."), cyberpunk (William Gibson's "New Rose Hotel"), and beyond (the most recent story is Johanna Sinisalo's "Baby Doll," published in 2002). There is hard science fiction (James White's "Sector General") and horror (George R.R. Martin's "Sandkings") as well as stories that are humanist (Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life") and feminist (Joanna Russ's "When It Changed"). World-famous authors are included (Kurt Vonnegut's "2BRO2B") as well as those now unfortunately obscure (Katherine MacLean's "The Snowball Effect"). Women are well represented, including SFWA Grand Masters Ursula K. Le Guin ("Vaster than Empires and More Slow"), Connie Willis ("Schwarzschild Radius"), and C.J. Cherryh ("Pots"), as is work by international authors past (Miguel de Unamuno's "Mechanopolis") and present (Cixin Liu's "The Poetry Cloud"); 29 stories are translated, many appearing in English for the first time. The VanderMeers, longtime SF/F editors (The Time Traveler's Almanac and many others), provide a critical survey of the field as well as incisive biographies of the contributors. The book is dedicated to the late Judith Merril, one of SF's most highly regarded anthologists, and it is a worthy homage to her enshrinement of genre excellence. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The VanderMeers (famous for their previous anthologies) bring together a mammoth collection of international science-fiction stories that attempts to create a cohesive and inclusive picture of the genre at its best. Their vision of the genre is one rooted in the same tradition of philosophical and narrative experimentation that gave birth to modernism, and so although they do include stories ranging from the pulps and Asimov to the new wave and cyberpunk, the overall focus is on stories that best embody a sense of vision and experimentation, whether in content or form. Some of the most interesting stories in the anthology are rare or new translations, such as Yoshio Aramaki's surreal Soft Clocks; Angélica Gorodischer's strange, far-future The Unmistakable Smell of Violets; Yasutaka Tsutsui's beautiful, if dystopian, Standing Woman; and, most prominently, a strange and exciting space-opera novella by recent Hugo winner Cixin Liu, The Poetry Cloud. Of the nontranslated stories, all of them are of excellent quality, ranging from frequently reprinted classics, such as Joanna Russ' When It Changed or Ted Chiang's Story of Your Life, to more rarely reprinted stories, such as Josephine Saxton's The Snake Who Read Chomsky or David R. Bunch's Three from Moderan. This anthology is a breathtaking survey of the most exciting and engaging fiction in the genre worldwide, and it may become an essential recommendation for anyone interested in the genre.--Keep, Alan Copyright 2016 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

A comprehensive, chronological journey through a century of seminal science fiction, compiled by the editorial team of the VanderMeers (Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, 2015, etc.). This ambitious collection is united around no less humble a theme than the very nature of science fictiona question endlessly debated by genre aficionados. In their introduction, the VanderMeers define SF as that which "lives in the future"; they trace the history of the form from its early roots in contes philosophiques to the pulps; followed by the golden age, new wave, humanist, feminist, cyberpunk, and postmodernist traditions...and non-Western SF too. Feeling dizzy yet? But if the task of trying to chart such a broad sea seems prohibitive, the anthology does its best through the inclusion of a massive 105 short stories. Legendary authors are present, of courseAsimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Dickbut the strength of the collection lies in the light it shines into lesser-known corners of science fiction's past and present: stories translated into English (Sever Gansovsky's "Day of Wrath" is worth special mention, as is Jean-Claude Dunyach's surreal "Paranamanco"), many for the first time, as well as stories by women (Carol Emshwiller's excellent "Pelt," C.J. Cherryh's moving "Pots") and authors of color (Samuel R. Delany and Octavia E. Butler are predictable names, but did you know W.E.B. Du Bois wrote science fiction? Misha Nogha, Ted Chiang, and Manjula Padmanabhan also feature, to name just a few). Teachers wishing for a survey text of SF could hardly do better than this exhaustive volume. The stories defy neat classification beyond being science fiction, resulting in a reading experience as diverse as its author list. A necessity for those wishing to broaden their understanding of science fiction as a genre...or just those looking for some darn good stories. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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