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The Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Fiftieth Anniversary Anthology by Edward L. Ferman,Gordon Van Gelder

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Since its founding, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction has been acclaimed as one of the pinnacles of the field, the source of fantastic fiction of the highest literary quality. Now the magazine known to its readers as "F&SF" celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with a spectacular anthology of the best recent work from the magazine.Included are stories from major writers like Bruce Sterling, John Crowley, and Harlan Ellison. Also here are award-winners like Ursula K. Le Guin's Nebula-winning "Solitude," Maureen F. McHugh's Hugo-winning "The Lincoln Train," and Elizabeth Hand's Nebula- and World Fantasy Award-winning "Last Summer at Mars Hill."The fiftieth anniversary collection for the most distinguished magazine of the science fiction and fantasy world. Contributors include:Dale BaileyTerry BissonMichael BlumleinRay BradburyJohn CrowleyBradley DentonPaul Di FilippoS.N. DyerHarlan EllisonEsther M. FriesnerElizabeth HandTanith LeeUrsula K. Le GuinMaureen F. McHughRachel PollackRobert ReedBruce Holland RogersBruce SterlingRay VukcevichKate WilhelmGene Wolfe

Reviews (7)
Excellent. great writing. they don't publish them like they used to.
Rose Of Winds
An excellent collection of varied stories, bought it for a friend's birthday and he loved it.
I really enjoy sci-fi the likes of I Robot from Isaac Asimov and many many Joe Haldeman stories, but this particular collection is terrible. I'm about 8 stories in and there's not even one gem so far. I believe this book should be re-titled to - " The Ultra-Contemplative Super-Pseudo-Intellectual's Guide to Boring Science Fiction Stories. Sorry, it's just not a very good book.
great condition, happy to find it.
Old school. I dont grasp everything s it was read and it was hard to follow direction as writers change from one to another. My review is sketchy and I really forgot because I must have read this book like in the winter time.
I am reviewing the 1969 Panther paperback “The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 15th Series”. Please note that this edition has less content than the “The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: 15”, for instance it omits “The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth” by Roger Zelazny, and various cartoons.

This anthology contains thirteen stories. Four of these were nominated for the 1966 Nebula Award for Best Short Story, those by Wilson, Rohrer, Davidson and Asimov, but it should be acknowledged that there were over 30 nominations for that category in that year. In addition the story by Leiber was nominated in that year in the Best Novelette category (20 nominations in that category).

I give this anthology the Amazon four star rating because it’s a pleasant read and I did enjoy most of the stories. However I find it just a little frustrating, much like the other F&SF collections that I have read to date (only the third, fifth and ninth, which of course may not be representative), as the stories are just a little too short for me to really get my teeth into, and can tend towards the whimsical. (I did think the twenty five story “Decade of Fantasy and Science Fiction” was great value).

Despite my reservations, some of these stories are both enjoyable and unusual. My personal favourites are “The House the Blakeneys Built” by Avram Davidson, “A Murkle for Jesse” by Gary Jennings and “The People” story “No Different Flesh” by Zenna Henderson.

The above is only my opinion. I do not know enough about science fiction to give a detailed review. I’m also concerned that in the detail I might give away too much of the storylines. My main motivation for reviewing is to give an easily accessible list of contents to those browsing through anthologies on Amazon.

Here is a list of contents giving a brief introduction to each story (definitely not plot spoiling):

(1) “Rake” by Ron Goulart
First lines: “The lunged stun rod missed and tipped over the barmaid. Beer suds washed across the nearwood flooring and the android barmaid slithered on its back sputtering.”

(2) “The History of Dr Frost” by Roderic C. Hodgins
Dr Frost is studying his equations, when he becomes aware of a shadow taking form in the chair on the other side of the room.

(3) “Four Ghosts in Hamlet” by Fritz Leiber
A touring Shakespeare company, a Ouija board, an alcoholic relapse, are among the ingredients of this pleasant yarn.
Nominated for the 1966 Nebula Award in the Best Novelette category.

(4) “Keep Them Happy” by Robert Rohrer
First lines: “The oblong ‘GUILTY’ light flashed green from the surface of Kincaid’s desk. Kincaid put the fingertips of his two huge hands together and watched with emotionless eyes the door-panel in the wall on his left.”
Nominated for the 1966 Nebula Award in the Best Short Story category.

(5) “A Murkle for Jesse” by Gary Jennings
There has been a plane crash up on the mountain and everyone from the small town in Vermont has headed up to give assistance, but seven year old Jesse has to stay home because his leg in a cast. Then he sees a strange little girl washing in the creek.

(6) “Eyes Do More Than See” by Isaac Asimov
First lines: “After hundreds of billions of years, he suddenly thought of himself as Ames. Not the wave-length combination which – through all the universe was now the equivalent of Ames – but the sound itself.”
Four pages long.
Nominated for the 1966 Nebula Award in the Best Short Story category.

(7) “The House the Blakeneys Built” by Avram Davidson
There are many many Blakeneys all living in one vast sprawling house, and now they see four people coming down the road that they don’t recognise and that “funnywalk”.
Nominated for the 1966 Nebula Award in the Best Short Story category.

(8) “The Eight Billion” by Richard Wilson
The King of New York has significant news from his vizier.
Nominated for the 1966 Nebula Award in the Best Short Story category.

(9) “Something Else” by Robert J. Tilley
Dr Sidney Williams is the sole survivor of the emergency landing on an unexplored planet. Fortunately the air is breathable, the fruit is edible, and his clarinet and jazz tapes have survived the crash.

(10) “Aunt Millicent at the Races” by Len Guttridge
Half way through the narrator’s tenth birthday party, Aunt Millicent begins to neigh. Set in Pontypandy in the Rhondda Valley.

(11) “Sea Bright” by Hal R. Moore
Eleven year old Kellie is playing in the sea, at one with the surf and sand when a boy approaches her carrying an unusual shell. She knows something is very wrong.

(12) “Hog-Belly Honey” by R.A. Lafferty
First lines: “ I’m Joe Spade – about as intellectual a guy as you’ll find all day. I invented Wotto and Voxo and a bunch of other stuff that nobody can get along without anymore.”

(13) “No Different Flesh” by Zenna Henderson
Another of Zenna’s unique “The People” stories
If you are old like me and if, when you were young were captivated by Fantasy & Science Fiction, the magazine, then you will be well aware of this and other anthologies. We eagerly awaited the monthly publication of this and other SiFi magazines and when a new anthology was published there was great excitement! Now half of the fun and excitement was due to the fact that great battles (verbal in most cases) were fought for weeks after. Was the selection of the best of the best actually the best? What were they thinking when they left (fill in the black) out of this one? What were they thinking when they included (fill in the black) work?

Now me - well I never argued (rolls eyes), and took my books to my room and read them - over and over again; completely oblivious to the world around me. I am still sort of that way...truth be told.

Anyway, the anthology being reviewed here has the copy write dates of 1961, 1962, and 1963 on it. Now I started reading these things back in the early to mid 1950s and there were up and down years and anthologies of various worth. These anthologies were a mixed bag, as is this one, and it was not until several years later that the publishers of such thing started grouping their stories into categories. I like the mix like we have here the best.

This particular collection included fifteen (15) stories, which was about average for such little publications. The line-up in this one is as follows: (I have listed the author first, then the story))

Theodore L. Thomas.......Test
Bon Goulart..........Please Stand By
James Blish..........Who's In Charge Here?
Joseph Dickinson........Three for the Stars.
Vance Asndehl...........When Lilacs Lost in the Dooryard Bloomed
Karen Anderson.........Landscape with Sphinxes
Joanna Russ..............My Dear Emily
Will Stanton......The Gumdrop King
Edgar Fangborn............Golden Horn
Avram Davidson..........The Singular Events which Occurred in the Hovel on the Alley off of Eye Street
Brian W. Aldiss.....A Kind of Artistry
Sasha Gilien.....Two's a Crowd
Kate Wilhelm......The Man Without a Planet
J.G. Ballard......The Garden of Time
Terry Carr.........Hop-Friend

Of the fifteen stories here some were great, some were not so great. I personally found that I loved nine of them and the others fell into the "Meh" category. Which those were...well, as I said, I don't argue.

Now there are a couple of things to note: First, most of these stories were written in the "old days," before every new SiFi author thought he or she had to drop acid before they wrote. (A really horrid time for SiFi was about to begin). And secondly we started seeing more and more female authors making their appearances and they did not even have to create fake male names to get published.

Some of the authors here joined the "greats," others...well, I am not sure what happened to them. In any case this is a very worthwhile collection. I cannot tell you it is a "must read" by any means, but I do feel that there are several hours of enjoyment to be found in the pages of this one for most SiFi fans.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks

ISBN: 0312869738

Rating: 4.5/5

Votes: 914

Other Formats: azw mobi txt lit

ISBN13: 978-0312869731

Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (October 7, 1999)

Language: English

Subcategory: Short Stories & Anthologies

Pages: 384

The Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Fiftieth Anniversary Anthology
Literature & Fiction
Author: Edward L. Ferman,Gordon Van Gelder
Title: The Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Fiftieth Anniversary Anthology