Card, Orson Scott (ed.). Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century.

NY: Ace Books, 2001.

“Best of” anthologies by multiple authors are a good way to catch up on above-average stories you might have missed the first time around, or to revisit those you haven’t seen in some time. But while there’s some superior writing among the twenty-seven short pieces in this volume, “best of the century” considerably overstates the case.

Some are indeed classics, especially the older ones: Poul Anderson’s “Call Me Joe,” Ray Bradbury’s “Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed,” Heinlein’s “’All You Zombies—’,” and Arthur C. Clark’s “The Nine Billion Names of God” are certainly stand-outs, and most fans have read them all a dozen times. But others, like James Patrick Kelly’s semi-cyberpunkish “Rat” and Harry Turtledove’s “The Road Not Taken,” while worth a reading, are nowhere near classic status. Card should have subtitled the volume “Science Fiction Short Stories I Personally Like and Which My Editor Says Aren’t Too Over-Anthologized.”

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Published in: on 20 June 2017 at 4:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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