The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction
by Gordon Van Gelder, ed.
Trade paperback / $15.95 / 480 pp
September 15th, 2009 / 978-1-892391-91-9
"For sheer reading pleasure, this anthology is unparalleled."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Still the gold standard for short fiction in America"
"A landmark anthology"
Collecting more than two dozen stories that originally appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction - the premiere speculative fiction magazine - this extraordinary anthology celebrates 60 years of top-notch genre fiction. Many of these highly acclaimed, award-winning authors' careers were jumpstarted by their appearances in F&SF.
STARRED. F&SF editor Van Gelder has assessed, culled and organized the magazine's best stories to produce this definitive volume of work from speculative fiction's top authors, from Alfred Bester's "Of Time and Third Avenue" (1951) to Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" (2007). Hauntingly sad tales are laid alongside hopeful tales of the far future and heroic tales of honor and duty, but all have an intensity of emotion and draw the reader in with vibrant characters, fully realized settings and ingenious writing. Van Gelder's introductory disclaimer that this contains "two dozen of our best stories" rather than the best two dozen stories may explain the lack of inclusions from the 1980s. For sheer reading pleasure, this anthology is unparalleled.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Gordon van Gelder
Of Time and Third Avenue by Alfred Bester
All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury
One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts by Shirley Jackson
A Touch of Strange by Theodore Sturgeon
Eastward Ho! by William Tenn
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
This Moment of the Storm by Roger Zelazny
The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick
The Deathbird by Harlan Ellison
The Women Men Donít See by James Tiptree, Jr.
I See You by Damon Knight
The Gunslinger by Stephen King
The Dark by Karen Joy Fowler
Buffalo by John Kessel
Solitude by Ursula K. Le Guin
Mother Grasshopper by Michael Swanwick
macs by Terry Bisson
Creation by Jeffrey Ford
Other People by Neil Gaiman
Two Hearts by Peter S. Beagle
Journey into the Kingdom by M. Rickert
The Merchant and the Alchemistís Gate by Ted Chiang
This collection marks the 60th anniversary of one of science fiction and fantasy's leading publications, gathering together 23 of the magazine's best stories - though editor Gordon Van Gelder writes that he feels as if he has taken a few chunks off the top of an iceberg and claimed to have represented its entire mass. Contributors include the familiar - Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King - alongside authors better known to genre aficionados, such as James Tiptree Jr, Michael Swanwick and Terry Bisson. Among the highlights are Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon", in which Charlie Gordon has his intelligence artificially increased, and Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate", which marries time travel with Arabian Nights-style fable. The word "classic" could justifiably be applied to many stories in this volume, which, as a tribute to the magazine and an introduction to some of the finest authors of fantasy, SF and horror, is a landmark anthology.
"In 1949, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction was founded upon two radical principles: to publish SF and fantasy in one volume and to emphasize literary quality. Fifty years later, F&SF is still going strong - indeed, it is the most acclaimed of SF's longest-running magazines. In honor of this achievement, publisher Edward L. Ferman and editor Gordon Van Gelder have assembled many of F&SF's finest stories from the preceding five years for The Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Fiftieth Anniversary Anthology."
-Cynthia Ward, Amazon.com
"The stories have little more in common than ingenuity in choice of themes and, without falling into pretentiousness, the refusal to sacrifice quality of writing to the exploration of an idea. For a long time, F&SF (as the magazine is known in the trade) has been a leader in expanding the terrain of speculative fiction. Judging from this volume, it intends to continue in this role.
-Roland Green, Booklist
"The Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Fiftieth Anniversary Anthology is a wonderful celebration of the recent history of one of science fictionís great magazines." -Clinton Lawrence, SciFi.Com
"It's obvious why F&SF has thrived while competitors have vanished. Eloquent, scintillating, often sublime."
"I'm so envious of those of you who might be reading some of these for the
first time. I was repeatedly blown away by the impact such short pieces...still had on me. Half an hour's reading, and I spent the next day or so catching myself staring off into space muttering, 'Oh wow.'"
"...this is a rare treasure that compiles some of the best genre stories over the past six decades, and through it, we witness the field's history and growth."
"...I dropped everything to read it."
"I cannot picture any fan of either fantasy or science fiction not liking this book. Perhaps the only reason to stay away is if you have all the stories in it already. But if, like me, several of them are missing from your collection, what are you waiting for? Buy it."
-Visions of Paradise
"...the contents are sheer pleasure, full of classics that feel as comfortable as an old sweater. "
"...this is a high quality anthology showcasing the diversity of F&SF's stories over the past six decades. It shows that short genre fiction has always had the power to surprise and excite and it proves that this remains just as true today as it has ever been."
"Every story is a priceless gem showcasing its author's superlative craftsmanship and ability to engage the emotions while captivating the imagination."
"There's something for everyone in this amazing anthology, and it will certainly provide hours of entertainment for anyone who reads it."
-San Francisco Book Review