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"Science fiction is the characteristic literary genre of the century. It is the genre that stands in opposition to literary modernism." So says David G. Hartwell in his introduction to The Science Fiction Century, an anthology spanning a hundred years of science fiction, from its birth in the 1890s to the future it predicted. David G. Hartwell is a World Fantasy Award-winni "Science fiction is the characteristic literary genre of the century. It is the genre that stands in opposition to literary modernism." So says David G. Hartwell in his introduction to The Science Fiction Century, an anthology spanning a hundred years of science fiction, from its birth in the 1890s to the future it predicted. David G. Hartwell is a World Fantasy Award-winning editor and anthologist who has twice before redefined a genre--first the horror field with The Dark Descent, then the subgenre of hard science fiction with The Ascent of Wonder, coedited with Kathryn Cramer. Now, Hartwell has compiled the mother of all definitive anthologies, guaranteed to change not only the way the science fiction field views itself but also the way the rest of literature views the field. Contents 17 • Introduction (The Science Fiction Century) • (1997) • essay by David G. Hartwell 21 • Beam Us Home • (1969) • shortstory by James Tiptree, Jr. 31 • Ministering Angels • (1955) • shortstory by C. S. Lewis 39 • The Music Master of Babylon • (1954) • novelette by Edgar Pangborn 57 • A Story of the Days to Come • (1899) • novella by H. G. Wells 112 • Hot Planet • (1963) • shortstory by Hal Clement 127 • A Work of Art • (1956) • novelette by James Blish 139 • The Machine Stops • (1909) • novelette by E. M. Forster 161 • Brightness Falls from the Air • (1951) • shortstory by Margaret St. Clair 166 • 2066: Election Day • (1956) • shortstory by Michael Shaara 177 • The Rose • (1953) • novella by Charles L. Harness [as by Charles Harness ] 232 • The Hounds of Tindalos • (1929) • shortstory by Frank Belknap Long 242 • The Angel of Violence • (1978) • shortstory by Adam Wisniewski-Snerg 252 • Nobody Bothers Gus • [Gus] • (1955) • shortstory by Algis Budrys 261 • The Time Machine • (1954) • shortstory by Dino Buzzati 265 • Mother • (1953) • novelette by Philip José Farmer 285 • As Easy as A.B.C. • (1912) • novelette by Rudyard Kipling 304 • Ginungagap • (1980) • novelette by Michael Swanwick 327 • Minister Without Portfolio • (1952) • shortstory by Mildred Clingerman 333 • Time in Advance • (1956) • novelette by William Tenn 352 • Good Night, Sophie • (1973) • novelette by Lino Aldani (aka Buonanotte Sofia 1963 ) 369 • Veritas • (1987) • novelette by James Morrow 382 • Enchanted Village • (1950) • shortstory by A. E. van Vogt 393 • The King and the Dollmaker • (1970) • novella by Wolfgang Jeschke (aka Der König und der Puppenmacher 1961 ) 435 • Fire Watch • [Time Travel] • (1982) • novelette by Connie Willis 462 • Goat Song • (1972) • novelette by Poul Anderson 486 • The Scarlet Plague • (1912) • novella by Jack London 518 • Drunkboat • [The Instrumentality of Mankind] • (1963) • novelette by Cordwainer Smith 539 • Another World • (1962) • novelette by J. H. Rosny aîné (aka Un Autre Monde 1895 ) 558 • If the Stars Are Gods • [Bradley Reynolds] • (1974) • novelette by Gordon Eklund and Gregory Benford 585 • I Still Call Australia Home • (1990) • shortstory by George Turner 598 • Liquid Sunshine • (1982) • novelette by Alexander Kuprin (aka Zhidkoe solntse 1913 ) 632 • Great Work of Time • (1989) • novella by John Crowley 683 • Sundance • (1969) • shortstory by Robert Silverberg 694 • Greenslaves • (1965) • novelette by Frank Herbert 716 • Rumfuddle • (1973) • novella by Jack Vance 754 • The Dimple in Draco • (1967) • shortstory by R. S. Richardson [as by Philip Latham ] 765 • Consider Her Ways • (1956) • novella by John Wyndham 805 • Something Ending • (1973) • shortstory by Eddy C. Bertin 812 • He Who Shapes • (1965) • novella by Roger Zelazny 869 • Swarm • [Shaper/Mechanist] • (1982) • novelette by Bruce Sterling 886 • Beggars in Spain • [Sleepless] • (1991) • novella by Nancy Kress 939 • Johnny Mnemonic • (1981) • shortstory by William Gibson 952 • "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman • (1965) • shortstory by Harlan Ellison 961 • Blood's a Rover • (1952) • novella by Chad Oliver 993 • Sail the Tide of Mourning • [Bentfin Boomers] • (1975) • shortstory by Richard A. Lupoff The story The Angel of Violence by Adam_Wiśniewski-Snerg was translated from Polish to English by Thomasz Mirkowicz for this anthology. The story Good Night, Sophie by Lino Aldani was translated from Italian to English by L. K. Conrad. The story Liquid Sunshine by Alexander Kuprin was translated from Russian to English by Leland Fetzer.


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"Science fiction is the characteristic literary genre of the century. It is the genre that stands in opposition to literary modernism." So says David G. Hartwell in his introduction to The Science Fiction Century, an anthology spanning a hundred years of science fiction, from its birth in the 1890s to the future it predicted. David G. Hartwell is a World Fantasy Award-winni "Science fiction is the characteristic literary genre of the century. It is the genre that stands in opposition to literary modernism." So says David G. Hartwell in his introduction to The Science Fiction Century, an anthology spanning a hundred years of science fiction, from its birth in the 1890s to the future it predicted. David G. Hartwell is a World Fantasy Award-winning editor and anthologist who has twice before redefined a genre--first the horror field with The Dark Descent, then the subgenre of hard science fiction with The Ascent of Wonder, coedited with Kathryn Cramer. Now, Hartwell has compiled the mother of all definitive anthologies, guaranteed to change not only the way the science fiction field views itself but also the way the rest of literature views the field. Contents 17 • Introduction (The Science Fiction Century) • (1997) • essay by David G. Hartwell 21 • Beam Us Home • (1969) • shortstory by James Tiptree, Jr. 31 • Ministering Angels • (1955) • shortstory by C. S. Lewis 39 • The Music Master of Babylon • (1954) • novelette by Edgar Pangborn 57 • A Story of the Days to Come • (1899) • novella by H. G. Wells 112 • Hot Planet • (1963) • shortstory by Hal Clement 127 • A Work of Art • (1956) • novelette by James Blish 139 • The Machine Stops • (1909) • novelette by E. M. Forster 161 • Brightness Falls from the Air • (1951) • shortstory by Margaret St. Clair 166 • 2066: Election Day • (1956) • shortstory by Michael Shaara 177 • The Rose • (1953) • novella by Charles L. Harness [as by Charles Harness ] 232 • The Hounds of Tindalos • (1929) • shortstory by Frank Belknap Long 242 • The Angel of Violence • (1978) • shortstory by Adam Wisniewski-Snerg 252 • Nobody Bothers Gus • [Gus] • (1955) • shortstory by Algis Budrys 261 • The Time Machine • (1954) • shortstory by Dino Buzzati 265 • Mother • (1953) • novelette by Philip José Farmer 285 • As Easy as A.B.C. • (1912) • novelette by Rudyard Kipling 304 • Ginungagap • (1980) • novelette by Michael Swanwick 327 • Minister Without Portfolio • (1952) • shortstory by Mildred Clingerman 333 • Time in Advance • (1956) • novelette by William Tenn 352 • Good Night, Sophie • (1973) • novelette by Lino Aldani (aka Buonanotte Sofia 1963 ) 369 • Veritas • (1987) • novelette by James Morrow 382 • Enchanted Village • (1950) • shortstory by A. E. van Vogt 393 • The King and the Dollmaker • (1970) • novella by Wolfgang Jeschke (aka Der König und der Puppenmacher 1961 ) 435 • Fire Watch • [Time Travel] • (1982) • novelette by Connie Willis 462 • Goat Song • (1972) • novelette by Poul Anderson 486 • The Scarlet Plague • (1912) • novella by Jack London 518 • Drunkboat • [The Instrumentality of Mankind] • (1963) • novelette by Cordwainer Smith 539 • Another World • (1962) • novelette by J. H. Rosny aîné (aka Un Autre Monde 1895 ) 558 • If the Stars Are Gods • [Bradley Reynolds] • (1974) • novelette by Gordon Eklund and Gregory Benford 585 • I Still Call Australia Home • (1990) • shortstory by George Turner 598 • Liquid Sunshine • (1982) • novelette by Alexander Kuprin (aka Zhidkoe solntse 1913 ) 632 • Great Work of Time • (1989) • novella by John Crowley 683 • Sundance • (1969) • shortstory by Robert Silverberg 694 • Greenslaves • (1965) • novelette by Frank Herbert 716 • Rumfuddle • (1973) • novella by Jack Vance 754 • The Dimple in Draco • (1967) • shortstory by R. S. Richardson [as by Philip Latham ] 765 • Consider Her Ways • (1956) • novella by John Wyndham 805 • Something Ending • (1973) • shortstory by Eddy C. Bertin 812 • He Who Shapes • (1965) • novella by Roger Zelazny 869 • Swarm • [Shaper/Mechanist] • (1982) • novelette by Bruce Sterling 886 • Beggars in Spain • [Sleepless] • (1991) • novella by Nancy Kress 939 • Johnny Mnemonic • (1981) • shortstory by William Gibson 952 • "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman • (1965) • shortstory by Harlan Ellison 961 • Blood's a Rover • (1952) • novella by Chad Oliver 993 • Sail the Tide of Mourning • [Bentfin Boomers] • (1975) • shortstory by Richard A. Lupoff The story The Angel of Violence by Adam_Wiśniewski-Snerg was translated from Polish to English by Thomasz Mirkowicz for this anthology. The story Good Night, Sophie by Lino Aldani was translated from Italian to English by L. K. Conrad. The story Liquid Sunshine by Alexander Kuprin was translated from Russian to English by Leland Fetzer.

30 review for The Science Fiction Century

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Little did I know the treasure I was finding when I picked up The Science Fiction Century, a massive anthology of 45 science fiction short stories edited by David Hartwell. Almost all of the selections included were outstanding, but I especially enjoyed the stories noted with an asterisk below. Each selection opens with a brief biography of the writer and their work, which I really appreciated. Highly Recommended; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/ Table of Contents Introduction * Beam Us Home - J Little did I know the treasure I was finding when I picked up The Science Fiction Century, a massive anthology of 45 science fiction short stories edited by David Hartwell. Almost all of the selections included were outstanding, but I especially enjoyed the stories noted with an asterisk below. Each selection opens with a brief biography of the writer and their work, which I really appreciated. Highly Recommended; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/ Table of Contents Introduction * Beam Us Home - James Tiptree Jr. Ministering Angels - C. S. Lewis * The Music Master of Babylon - Edgar Pangborn A Story of the Days to Come - H. G. Wells Hot Planet - Hal Clement * A Work of Art - James Blish * The Machine Stops - E. M. Forster Brightness Falls from the Air - Margaret St. Clair 2066 Election Day - Michael Shaara The Rose - Charles Harness * The Hounds of Tindalos - Frank Belknap Long * The Angel of Violence - Adam Wisniewski-Snerg Nobody Bothers Gus - Algis Budrys The Time Machine - Dino Buzzati Mother - Philip Jose Farmer As Easy as A.B.C. - Rudyard Kipling * Ginungagap - Michael Swanwick * Minister Without Portfolio - Mildred Clingerman Time in Advance - William Tenn Good Night Sophie - Lino Aldani * Veritas - James Morrow Enchanted Village - A. E. van Vogt The King and the Dollmaker - Wolfgang Jeschke Fire Watch - Connie Willis Goat Song - Poul Anderson * The Scarlet Plague - Jack London Drunkboat - Cordwainer Smith Another World - J. H. Rosny-Aîné If the Stars Are Gods - Gregory Benford and Gordon Eklund * I Still Call Australia Home - George Turner Liquid Sunshine - Alexander Kuprin; trans. by Leland Fetzer Great Work of Time - John Crowley * Sundance - Robert Silverberg Greenslaves - Frank Herbert * Rumfuddle - Jack Vance The Dimple in Draco - Philip Latham * Consider Her Ways - John Wyndham Something Ending - Eddy C. Bertin He Who Shapes - Roger Zelazny Swarm - Bruce Sterling * Beggars in Spain - Nancy Kress Johnny Mnemonic - William Gibson Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman - Harlan Ellison Blood's a Rover - Chad Oliver Sail the Tide of Mourning - Richard A. Lupoff

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cricket

    My rating is completely based off of how many stories found worth reading divided by the total number of stories. The percentage came to about 42%, so I rounded down to two stars. If you want the Reader's Digest version of this very long anthology, here are the stories I'd recommend: "Ministering Angels" by C.S. Lewis "A Work of Art" by James Blish "2066: Election Day" by Michael Shaara "The Rose" by Charles Harness "Nobody Bothers Gus" by Algis Budrys "Ginungagap" by Michael Swanwick "Time in Advance" My rating is completely based off of how many stories found worth reading divided by the total number of stories. The percentage came to about 42%, so I rounded down to two stars. If you want the Reader's Digest version of this very long anthology, here are the stories I'd recommend: "Ministering Angels" by C.S. Lewis "A Work of Art" by James Blish "2066: Election Day" by Michael Shaara "The Rose" by Charles Harness "Nobody Bothers Gus" by Algis Budrys "Ginungagap" by Michael Swanwick "Time in Advance" by William Tenn "Veritas" by James Morrow "The King and the Dollmaker" by Wolfgang Jeschke "Fire Watch" by Connie Willis "I Still Call Australia Home" by George Turner "Great Work of Time" by John Crowley "Sundance" by Robert Silverberg "Greenslaves" by Frank Herbert "Rumfuddle" by Jack Vance "Something Ending" by Eddy C. Bertin "Beggars in Spain" by Nancy Kress "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison "Blood's a Rover" by Chad Oliver

  3. 5 out of 5

    Geneva

    I have been reading this book for a very long time, mainly because it is a very large book so, rather than carry it around with me, I've kept it by my bed and read a bit before sleeping some nights, when I wasn't reading something else, or when I wasn't too tired. Most collections of stories have one or two fantastic stories, four or five horrible ones, and a bunch of mediocre stories. I felt like the ratio was by far in favor of fantastic stories in this one, which makes sense because Mr. Hartw I have been reading this book for a very long time, mainly because it is a very large book so, rather than carry it around with me, I've kept it by my bed and read a bit before sleeping some nights, when I wasn't reading something else, or when I wasn't too tired. Most collections of stories have one or two fantastic stories, four or five horrible ones, and a bunch of mediocre stories. I felt like the ratio was by far in favor of fantastic stories in this one, which makes sense because Mr. Hartwell had a century to draw from. This is an incredible collection of all kinds of science fiction from all sorts of writers. I highly recommend it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    The author bios are truly a gift in the case of the lesser known writers. As with any collection you'll find some you don't care for, but as for the rest, well . . .

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This is a very strong collection of 20th century science fiction stories. It includes a good selection of familiar classics, less familiar stories that deserve more exposure and even a couple of non-English-language stories that have been translated especially for this anthology. While like any anthology some stories are going to be better than others (and some more to your taste than other) the overall quality is high. Science fiction is very much a genre of its time. Even when the story is set This is a very strong collection of 20th century science fiction stories. It includes a good selection of familiar classics, less familiar stories that deserve more exposure and even a couple of non-English-language stories that have been translated especially for this anthology. While like any anthology some stories are going to be better than others (and some more to your taste than other) the overall quality is high. Science fiction is very much a genre of its time. Even when the story is set long ago, far away or in the (author's) distant future it often tells you at least as much about the author's own time and place as it does about the distant world the author thinks they are creating. The future has a bad habit of catching up with us all. For example, Roger Zelazny set his story "He Who Shapes" in the late-nineties. (Ironically Zelazny died in 1995.) He wrote the story in 1967, placing it 30 years in his future. He lets us know the date by having a character reviewed a medical history with hospital admission dates running from 1996-1998. This put the story twenty years in my past. The temptation is to break down the setting based on what we know - to get distracted by Zelazny's misses, such as the ubiquitous smoking in public places that we know you would not have been allowed to smoke in the late nineties. Even in stories set in the far future mid-twentieth century attitudes have a habit of sneaking in. Or in the case of C.S. Lewis's "Ministering Angels", the chauvinism isn't even all that sneaky and may not have even been all that acceptable in its own time. I say all this not to discourage any reader but to warn them that these stories have to be read on their own terms. This book was actually originally published in two volumes. As a single, hardback volume of 1000+ pages it is unwieldy, physically and literarily. I don't know if it is available as an e-book, but if it isn't it may be more practically to read it in its original two-volume format.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    For an omnibus collection of science fiction spanning the globe and 1895 to 1996, this set of forty-five short stories and novellas is representative of the genre. If these are the best, the rest must have been pretty poor. There is some great writing here amid much that is merely fine. Ideas overpower character development, with cardboard-character males predominant. Still, this might work for an introductory survey course in the field.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Bobbitt

    There's little rhyme or reason to this collection. The stories are not organized in any recognizable structure, don't seem to cover all the important authors of the 20th century and vary in style enough where it's a jarring transition between stories.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ellen (Elf TajMuttHall) Finch

    This is a very, very long book because it has a tremendous number of stories, many of them longer lengths that are hard to find in other anthologies. I'm a particular fan of the short form of science fiction, and this looked right up my alley. It's a survey of significant works over the hundred years from mid-1890s to mid-1990s, but "significant" doesn't necessarily mean that they're award winners or even in the best of their genre when they were published. They might be significant because it's This is a very, very long book because it has a tremendous number of stories, many of them longer lengths that are hard to find in other anthologies. I'm a particular fan of the short form of science fiction, and this looked right up my alley. It's a survey of significant works over the hundred years from mid-1890s to mid-1990s, but "significant" doesn't necessarily mean that they're award winners or even in the best of their genre when they were published. They might be significant because it's an early story for an author showing their bent, or the first story to tackle a particular subject, and so on. A lot of the older and mid-range stories were not all that well written, at least by the standards that I've been used to for the last couple of decades at least. They were all readable--but quite a few in the middle of the book I read simply because the editor thought that they were notable in some way and so I thought it was be good for me to read them, but found my interest flagging. Towards the end, the quality seemed to pick up and I enjoyed the stories more. I was frustrated that the editor's comments almost never said when the stories were first published, and the order of the stories in the book seemed arbitrary to me. I think I'd have liked to see them in chronological order rather than what felt random. There are several gems here and several not. If you like to add to your knowledge of various writers and subgenres and your understanding of how science fiction or writers have evolved, you'd probably like most of this book. At 1000 pages, expect reading to take a while. And you can, of course, pick and choose those stories that you like and skip others.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Res

    When I was eight years old, I picked up a collection of science fiction for children, and it's not an exaggeration to say that it changed my life. However, if I had picked up this book or "The Hard SF Renaissance" instead, I would certainly not have been defining myself as a SF fan today. Again with the Idea stories with no humans in them, and the Man vs. Nature adventure stories helmed by generic Heroes whose chief quality seems to be durability. Eventually I began giving each story two pages. When I was eight years old, I picked up a collection of science fiction for children, and it's not an exaggeration to say that it changed my life. However, if I had picked up this book or "The Hard SF Renaissance" instead, I would certainly not have been defining myself as a SF fan today. Again with the Idea stories with no humans in them, and the Man vs. Nature adventure stories helmed by generic Heroes whose chief quality seems to be durability. Eventually I began giving each story two pages. If at the end of two pages I hadn't encountered a person whose fate I cared about, I skipped the story. Saved me a lot of time. Stories I did enjoy: James Tiptree, Jr.: "Beam Us Home." But I'd read this one elsewhere. James Blish: "A Work of Art." The one where artists of the future appear to have brought back Richard Strauss to write more music. Connie Willis, "Fire Watch." In her time-travel universe, the one where the student is accidentally sent back to WWII to prevent the burning of a cathedral. George Turner, "I Still Call Australia Home." The one where the explorers spend 30 years trying to find a human-habitable planet, come home to an Earth where 600 years have passed, and are forbidden to stay. Could have been better, more detailed, longer, but still well done.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Angel

    I read this over the summer of 1998. It is a very comprehensive science fiction anthology. I think it makes a very good work if you want to get a historical overview of where the genre comes from and where it is going. The stories do vary in quality, so odds are good you may find some you like more than others. Overall, a book you can read cover to cover, or just to browse. It has been a while since I read it, so I may have to revisit this book sometime.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Art

    … for "The Machine Stops," by E M Forster. A hundred years ago he imagined texting and the internet as well as networks of friends who would never meet. But, of course, dipping my toe in for that single short story may well lead to reading other novelettes in this big anthology of forty-six pieces.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

    Awesome collection. I have read several SF anthologies, and if you're looking for one with a broad scope, I recommend this. Hartwell's introductions and observations serve the same purpose as a painting's frame: they are frank and insightful, but do not distract from the stories. It's fascinating to see the evolution of the genre over the course of decades.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    This is a fantastic collection that I am so happy I stumbled upon. It is a long, long read, but well worth it. I don't know that I'd ever read any of the stories contained within before, but I am better for having read each one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    good compilation of lesser known science fiction stories of the 20th Century. Great read, intensely entertaining.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Stewart

    This is a collection any real science fiction fan should own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    bluetyson

    The Science Fiction Century (1997)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    21/45

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    An excellent collection of SF short stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Olivia J.H.

    ugly and hopeless; the worst scifi has to offer

  20. 4 out of 5

    Animus

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philip

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Alexys

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barry Hunter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brett

  26. 4 out of 5

    Corey Stewart

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joseph DeBolt

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Parkhill

    I like to dip at leisure into my home library's short-story collections, rather than reading straight through. And so, by its nature, a book like this occupies the "unfinished" shelf. Like its title suggests, this book's authors encompass the 20th century. They represent a wide range of genres and focuses within the field of "science fiction." This book is sure to occupy my interest for some time to come.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rayma Cisco

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elise

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