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The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology

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Collecting more than two dozen stories that originally appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction—the premiere speculative fiction magazine—this extraordinary anthology celebrates 60 years of top-notch genre fiction. This retrospective volume includes "All Summer in a Day,” Ray Bradbury’s lasting tale of what happened on one special day; "Flowers for Algernon” b Collecting more than two dozen stories that originally appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction—the premiere speculative fiction magazine—this extraordinary anthology celebrates 60 years of top-notch genre fiction. This retrospective volume includes "All Summer in a Day,” Ray Bradbury’s lasting tale of what happened on one special day; "Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, describing what happened to Charlie Gordon when he was made into a genius; "Harrison Bergeron," Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist cautionary tale of mandatory equality; and "The Electric Ant" by Philip K. Dick, concerning what Garson Poole learned after the accident that hospitalized him. This remarkable collection also features some of the most highly acclaimed, award-winning authors, including Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, Shirley Jackson, Peter S. Beagle, Karen Joy Fowler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Theodore Sturgeon, and Roger Zelazny. Hand-picked by the magazine’s current editor, this is an unmatched assemblage of appealing, first-rate fiction. 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 Don't 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 Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang


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Collecting more than two dozen stories that originally appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction—the premiere speculative fiction magazine—this extraordinary anthology celebrates 60 years of top-notch genre fiction. This retrospective volume includes "All Summer in a Day,” Ray Bradbury’s lasting tale of what happened on one special day; "Flowers for Algernon” b Collecting more than two dozen stories that originally appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction—the premiere speculative fiction magazine—this extraordinary anthology celebrates 60 years of top-notch genre fiction. This retrospective volume includes "All Summer in a Day,” Ray Bradbury’s lasting tale of what happened on one special day; "Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, describing what happened to Charlie Gordon when he was made into a genius; "Harrison Bergeron," Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist cautionary tale of mandatory equality; and "The Electric Ant" by Philip K. Dick, concerning what Garson Poole learned after the accident that hospitalized him. This remarkable collection also features some of the most highly acclaimed, award-winning authors, including Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, Shirley Jackson, Peter S. Beagle, Karen Joy Fowler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Theodore Sturgeon, and Roger Zelazny. Hand-picked by the magazine’s current editor, this is an unmatched assemblage of appealing, first-rate fiction. 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 Don't 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 Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang

30 review for The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stefan

    The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is an excellent collection of 23 stories picked from the treasure trove of short fiction that's been published in the eponymous magazine over the past 60 years. Editor Gordon Van Gelder — also the editor of the magazine since 1997 — has done an admirable job, picking stories that illustrate the diversity of both the genre and the magazine. As such, this is a great anthology for SF&F fans as well as newcomers looking for a The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is an excellent collection of 23 stories picked from the treasure trove of short fiction that's been published in the eponymous magazine over the past 60 years. Editor Gordon Van Gelder — also the editor of the magazine since 1997 — has done an admirable job, picking stories that illustrate the diversity of both the genre and the magazine. As such, this is a great anthology for SF&F fans as well as newcomers looking for a taste. The line-up of authors in this collection looks like a veritable Who's Who of speculative fiction: Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. Le Guin, Neil Gaiman — just to name a few of the most famous ones. What's even more impressive is the fact that all the stories collected here saw their first publication in the magazine. It really gave me pause when I realized that a towering classic such as "Flowers From Algernon" by Daniel Keyes first appeared in this digest-sized magazine (and if you haven't read that story yet, you have at least one perfect reason to get this anthology right now!). Every story is preceded by a brief and thoughtful editorial note, often highlighting its author's involvement with the magazine. The quality of these stories is, as could be expected, almost uniformly excellent. Stand-outs for me were: the previously mentioned "Flowers For Algernon" which is about a mentally retarded man who gains a brief period of brilliance via a scientific experiment; "Solitude" by Ursula K. Le Guin, an exquisite and touching story set in her Hainish Cycle; "Creation" by Jeffrey Ford, about a young boy's attempt to create life; and "Mother Grasshopper" by Michael Swanwick, about how a far-future civilization becomes reintroduced to death. If I could give these stories individual ratings, they'd all have five stars by their names, with the majority of the others getting a solid four stars. The only disappointment for me was "Buffalo" by John Kessel, a reverie about a fictional meeting between the author's father and H.G. Wells. By the numbers: out of the 23 stories collected here, I'd call 12 solidly science fiction, 6 definitely fantasy, 1 horror, and the rest hard to place but trending towards the fantastical. Included in that last category is Harlan Ellison's "The Deathbird", which is more or less a genre of its own and one of the oddest things I've read in years. The stories are spread out across the six decades of the magazine's existence, although strangely enough not a single story from the eighties was included. The earlier part of the anthology is predominantly science fiction, and as fantasy became more popular over the years, more stories of that genre appear towards the end of the collection. The only real "high fantasy" story included here is Peter S. Beagle's "Two Hearts," in which the author revisits his classic The Last Unicorn. In terms of length, the stories vary from barely 3 pages (Neil Gaiman's "The Others," a terrifying vision of hell) to Stephen King's 44 page story "The Gunslinger," one of the 5 stories that make up the novel of the same name, originally serialized in the magazine. Another number, and one that might raise an eyebrow, is 5: the number of female authors represented here, compared to 18 male authors. Also, some readers may look for one or more legendary stories from the magazine that unfortunately aren't represented here. My personal pick would be to add Fritz Leiber's "Ill Met in Lankhmar" novella, originally published in F&SF Magazine and certainly one of its classic — and now sadly underappreciated — stories. Still, it's easy to second-guess almost any anthology, let alone one that attempts to span the life of one of the most revered magazines in speculative fiction. When all's said and done, this is undeniably an excellent collection of stories — one that will give readers a great look at the history of F&SF Magazine and, in doing so, the history of the entire genre. It's possible that some reader will already be familiar with many of these stories, but if you aren't, The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is practically a must-read. Highly recommended. This review was also published on the Fantasy Literature website: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/zzas...

  2. 4 out of 5

    D Dyer

    4.5 stars. A lot of the stories are classics so if you are someone who reads fantasy or sci-fi short stories a lot of them will be ones you’re familiar with. But there were a few that I didn’t know and most of them were excellent. And it’s wonderful to have collected in one book some of the strongest stories from some major figures in the genre. “Solitary” is a story I love and was excited to re-encounter here and the short story that eventually became the novel flowers for Algernon which I knew 4.5 stars. A lot of the stories are classics so if you are someone who reads fantasy or sci-fi short stories a lot of them will be ones you’re familiar with. But there were a few that I didn’t know and most of them were excellent. And it’s wonderful to have collected in one book some of the strongest stories from some major figures in the genre. “Solitary” is a story I love and was excited to re-encounter here and the short story that eventually became the novel flowers for Algernon which I knew of but hadn’t read was an interesting glimpse at the beginnings of that novel. This isn’t a necessary read if you have read a significant number of the other best of anthologies from this magazine and/or have a long familiarity with the magazine but it provides a great introduction to some really wonderful stories. “creation” is a fascinating take on the Adam and eve myth. “A touch of strange” is a mermaid/love story but definitely didn’t end how I expected it to. “Max” is told as a series of peoples responses to interview questions and deals with the concept of revenge taken to a very grim extreme.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul Weimer

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through the kind offices of the Publicist of the publisher, Tachyon Publications. The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by Gordon Van Gelder, is an anthology of stories across the eponymous magazine's 60 year history. Although I am not a heavy reader of SF magazines (when I read SF stories, its usually in anthologies or collections), it is clear to me, immediately, that F&SF has had a wonderful history of publishing some of the best stories i Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through the kind offices of the Publicist of the publisher, Tachyon Publications. The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by Gordon Van Gelder, is an anthology of stories across the eponymous magazine's 60 year history. Although I am not a heavy reader of SF magazines (when I read SF stories, its usually in anthologies or collections), it is clear to me, immediately, that F&SF has had a wonderful history of publishing some of the best stories in SF history. And a swath of those stories are ably collected by Mr. Van Gelder in this collection. The stories range in publication date from 1951 (Alfred Bester's Time and Third Avenue) to 2007 (Ted Chiang's story The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate). Arranged in chronological order, the stories show the changes and evolution of the SF story with a high quality of selected stories throughout. Its not just a "most famous" story group either. While there are genre-famous stories like Flowers for Algernon, the Deathbird, and Harrison Bergeron, there are stories that are in that class, but much well less known. (Zelazny's This Moment of the Storm, for instance, or Peter Beagle's story sequel to the Last Unicorn, Two Hearts come to mind) With that in mind, I devoured this book quickly and gleefully. I enjoyed the touchstones to the classics and old favorites, and discovering new (to me) stories as well. Gelder has done an top notch job. Genres that forget their history are condemned to fail by that forgetting. Collections like this help the genre of SF keep in mind its roots and history. Any serious fan of science fiction would do well to dip their oars into this volume. The lineup: Of Time and Third Avenue, Alfred Bester All Summer in a Day, Ray Bradbury One Ordinary Day with Peanuts, Shirley Jackson A touch of Strange, Theodore Sturgeon Eastward, Ho!, William Tenn Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut This Moment of the Storm, Roger Zelazny The Electric Ant, Philip K Dick The Deathbird, Harlan Ellison The Women Men Don't See, James Tiptree Jr (Alice Sheldon) I see You, Damon Knight The Gunslinger, Stephen King The Dark, Karen Joy Fowler Buffalo, John Kessel Solitude, Ursula K Le Guin Mother Grasshopper, Michael Swanwick macs, Terry Bisson Creation, Jeffrey Ford Other People, Neil Gaiman Two Hearts, Peter S Beagle Journey into the Kingdom, M Rickert The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, Ted Chiang

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is not the very best of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction has published so many wonderful stories that for many years they were able to publish ANNUAL best-ofs. They did a few more anthologies for occasional anniversaries, and had to cull this list from all of those. So these may be some of the most culturally significant stories the magazine has put out, or they may be stories that the editors thought stood the test of time particularly well, but I think This is not the very best of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction has published so many wonderful stories that for many years they were able to publish ANNUAL best-ofs. They did a few more anthologies for occasional anniversaries, and had to cull this list from all of those. So these may be some of the most culturally significant stories the magazine has put out, or they may be stories that the editors thought stood the test of time particularly well, but I think it's impossible to put the term 'very best' to a sampling of such a stellar body of work. My father had a subscription from approximately 1957-2007. The magazine was around the house through my entire childhood, and most visits home as an adult I was able to grab a new issue off of the coffee table. I remember story after story that made me laugh, or cry, or shift my world view just a little. Most of the funny stories aren't in the anthology. Neither are the comics, the gorgeous covers, the contests, the film reviews. So again, this is a sampling. It includes some stories that are classic by any definition: Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon," Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron," Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in A Day" and James Tiptree Jr.'s "The Women Men Don't See.". It includes a couple of recent gems, such as Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate." Other highlights for me included "Solitude" by Ursula LeGuin, "The Electric Ant" by Philip K. Dick, "Two Hearts", "Mother Grasshopper" by Michael Swanwick, "Creation" by Jeffrey Ford, "I See You" by Damon Knight... here's hoping the magazine survives the current publishing mess to continue bringing out these fine stories.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Some true classics here, along with stories I don't remember hearing of or reading before. As with any anthology, it's Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, and only the editor will love every one of the stories, but by and large these stories demonstrate why F&SF has been so successful for so long. They aren't, for the most part, trotting out the tropes, even to play with them or subvert them; they're taking SFF to strange and wonderful new places. There's also a visible shift over time in the kind Some true classics here, along with stories I don't remember hearing of or reading before. As with any anthology, it's Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, and only the editor will love every one of the stories, but by and large these stories demonstrate why F&SF has been so successful for so long. They aren't, for the most part, trotting out the tropes, even to play with them or subvert them; they're taking SFF to strange and wonderful new places. There's also a visible shift over time in the kind of stories that get written. All of them exhibit high-quality writing and clever ideas, but what that means changes from decade to decade. The earlier stories often rely on a twist at the end for their impact, and are more likely to be tropish, even gimmicky, with one simple "what-if" pushed to sometimes absurd lengths. "Harrison Bergeron," for example, Kurt Vonnegut's story from 1961, is an absurdist story about a society that achieves equality by handicapping anyone with talent down to the level of mediocrity or below. The later stories take you more deeply into the human heart. They may still only have a single "what-if", but they speculate more about how that would affect people, and show us those people experiencing those effects. The later stories also sometimes call the speculative element into question within the story, so we're not sure whether the narrator is unreliable (or deceived, or mistaken, or insane), as in Karen Joy Fowler's "The Dark" or M. Rickert's horrifying "Journey into the Kingdom". I won't go through every story, but I'll mention some highlights, and a lowlight or two. Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" has been one of my favourite stories since I read it as a teenager, because its heartwrenching effect is achieved largely by use of language. For part of my Master's degree, I analysed the novel expansion linguistically, and even though that was 25 years ago (oof), when I re-read this original version I could still remember which parts the author developed further. Wisely, he chose the relationship between the narrator and his teacher as one of those parts. This story is an exception to the "more heart later in the book" trend I mentioned above; it's all heart. I have to say that, now that I know a little more about human trials and the rules for them than I did when I first read it, its main conceit seems completely unlikely, but I forgive it because of how good it is. "The Women Men Don't See" by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) is another classic, still, sadly, relevant in its suggestion that women don't do terribly well in our culture, or any culture, and have to keep their heads down in order to be a little safer (but not really safe). "The Gunslinger," by Stephen King, is part of his Dark Tower series, and struck me as overwritten and not complete in itself. It started out slow-moving and then became dark and tragic, neither of which I find appealing, before stopping without an ending. "Buffalo" by John Kessel isn't, to me, speculative fiction. Speculative fiction is part of what it's about - it involves Kessel's father's encounter with H.G. Wells, which he says twice in the story never actually happened, and they discuss spec-fic briefly and unsatisfactorily - but it boils down to "both Wells and my father had sucky lives". Not a favourite. "Solitude" by Ursula K. Le Guin is another that I remember, I think from Le Guin's own collection, and it has the anthropological insight that only Le Guin can do so well. Its message is that there are many ways of being human, and someone who only knows one way may not be able to appreciate the strengths of another way. "Two Hearts" by Peter S. Beagle takes characters from his novel The Last Unicorn and places them in a new situation many years later, and for someone like me who either hasn't read the novel, or has read it so long ago he's forgotten it, that's less than completely successful, though the story is good enough to work on its own terms. The book closes with Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," a beautiful story involving time travel in an Arabian Nights setting. Volume 2 is coming out soon, and I have the e-ARC from Netgalley, so that's what I'll be reading next. It'll be interesting to compare the two.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eveningstar2

    I hesitate to give a book five stars. I'm not a crotchety literary elitist (I swear!); I just have this bizarre OCD about not wanting to cheapen the value of five stars. "The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology" is the only short story collection to which I've given five stars (and I loved Fragile Things and Last Defender of Camelot!). Short story collections are usually mixed bags for me. I tend to leave a book behind with a vivid memory of a half-dozen favorit I hesitate to give a book five stars. I'm not a crotchety literary elitist (I swear!); I just have this bizarre OCD about not wanting to cheapen the value of five stars. "The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology" is the only short story collection to which I've given five stars (and I loved Fragile Things and Last Defender of Camelot!). Short story collections are usually mixed bags for me. I tend to leave a book behind with a vivid memory of a half-dozen favorite stories, which together constitute the book's impression. So I remember Last Defender of Camelot for its eponymous story, as well as For A Breath I Tarry. I remember Fragile Things for Sunbird and How To Talk To Girls At Parties. This anthology is a different matter altogether. There is not a single story in this book that I do not--unequivocally and incontrovertibly--love. This is a masterpiece gallery from the masters of the genre. Every story captures and illustrates the highest qualities of its authors. This anthology is more than a collection of the very best: it is a cartography of the genre, a map of its territories, from Sturgeon and Bradbury to LeGuin and Gaiman. And it is a timeline. Editor Gordon Van Gelder's thoughtful presentation arranges these stories in a way that guides us through the history of science fiction, opening with early classics by Bester, Bradbury and Sturgeon, and finishing off with a modernist flourish with Gaiman, Rickert and Ted Chiang. If you have any interest in Fantasy or Science Fiction at all, do yourself a favor and find a copy of this book. These stories are the crown jewels of the genre.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    This 60th anniversary anthology of the best of F&SF features an extraordinary body of work. Honestly, it reads like a who's who of genre fiction: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Karen Joy Fowler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, etc. I had read some of the stories before, like Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" and Bradbury's tragic "All Summer in a Day." I think there were only three stories in the book that just didn't click for me at all, but far more were truly astonishing and fantastic. Some of This 60th anniversary anthology of the best of F&SF features an extraordinary body of work. Honestly, it reads like a who's who of genre fiction: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Karen Joy Fowler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, etc. I had read some of the stories before, like Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" and Bradbury's tragic "All Summer in a Day." I think there were only three stories in the book that just didn't click for me at all, but far more were truly astonishing and fantastic. Some of my new favorites: "The Women Men Don't See" by James Tiptree Jr. "Two Hearts" by Peter S. Beagle (tearjerker at the end, ugh) "The Dark" by Karen Joy Fowler "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang "Solitude" by Ursula K. Le Guin

  8. 5 out of 5

    Simon Hedge

    For all the many, many years I've been reading science fiction, I had never read the classic "Flowers For Algernon". Always meant to, just never got around to it. Finally with this volume I did - and it turns out it IS as good as everyone says it is. Powerful stuff, and deeply affecting. I confess, there must have been a bit of dust in my eyes as I finished the story. All the stories in this book are of a very high standard, and I would recommend to anyone who likes their fiction with a taste of For all the many, many years I've been reading science fiction, I had never read the classic "Flowers For Algernon". Always meant to, just never got around to it. Finally with this volume I did - and it turns out it IS as good as everyone says it is. Powerful stuff, and deeply affecting. I confess, there must have been a bit of dust in my eyes as I finished the story. All the stories in this book are of a very high standard, and I would recommend to anyone who likes their fiction with a taste of the fantastic.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    Very solid collection. In addition to the well-known classics (Harrison Bergeron, All Summer in a Day, Flowers for Algernon), there were a bunch of great stories I was unfamiliar with. Some standouts: The Electric Ant (PKD), Other People (Neil Gaiman), Journey into the Kingdom (Mary Rickert). I thought the last story, The Merchant at the Alchemists Gate (Ted Chiang) was the best in the collection, and maybe one of the best time-travel stories I've read. Very solid collection. In addition to the well-known classics (Harrison Bergeron, All Summer in a Day, Flowers for Algernon), there were a bunch of great stories I was unfamiliar with. Some standouts: The Electric Ant (PKD), Other People (Neil Gaiman), Journey into the Kingdom (Mary Rickert). I thought the last story, The Merchant at the Alchemists Gate (Ted Chiang) was the best in the collection, and maybe one of the best time-travel stories I've read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I enjoyed 12 of the 23 stories in this anthology, which would seem to indicate a so-so rating, but the stories I did like tended to be quite good indeed. This anthology is heavy on science fiction and alternative fantasy - there is basically no dungeons and dragons-style fantasy here, which was initially a bit of a disappointment. Overall, I found the author selection and subject matter diverse and pleasantly surprising and the story order well thought out. Also, the great thing about this being I enjoyed 12 of the 23 stories in this anthology, which would seem to indicate a so-so rating, but the stories I did like tended to be quite good indeed. This anthology is heavy on science fiction and alternative fantasy - there is basically no dungeons and dragons-style fantasy here, which was initially a bit of a disappointment. Overall, I found the author selection and subject matter diverse and pleasantly surprising and the story order well thought out. Also, the great thing about this being a short fiction anthology is that I simply skipped stories I didn't like and dove into the ensuing tale. So, overall, this is a great anthology, and you're bound to find at least one story in here which will not only be enjoyable, but may well leave a lasting impression with you. Here are the stories from S&SF 60th which I liked or loved: 1. Pg 29, 'One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts' - Shirley Jackson - A charming feel-good story with a surprising plot twist 2. Pg 71, 'Flowers for Algernon' - Daniel Keyes - This is probably one of the most brilliant and famous pieces of short sci-fiction ever written. I believe I read it back in Junior High, but the significance was lost on me then. Really sheds light on topics such as intelligence and the nature of 'the fool.' Fantastically conceived. 3. Pg 191, 'The Women Men Don't See' - James Tiptree Jr. - This is an odd tale which kept bringing me to the brink of tiring of it and then pulling me back in. Kind of campy 50s style sci-fi, but with Mexico and survival elements mixed in... 4. Pg 221, 'I See You' - James Knight - Interesting technological concept and rarely-used story methodology make this worth a read 5. Pg 235, 'The Gunslinger' - Stephen King - Several of my friends have been huge Gunslinger and Dark Tower fans for years, and I'd never read any of it until now. This is THE story which started the Gunslinger tales. Brutal, disturbing, mysterious, unbelievable and yet gritty with realism. One of King's good efforts. 6. Pg 297, 'Buffalo' - John Kessel - The story of a fictional encounter with H.G. Wells and working class life in early 20th century industrial America. Unique, intellectual and blue collar. 7. Pg 315, 'Solitude' - Ursula K. Le Guin - My first reading of this frequently-mentioned sci-fi empress. An in-depth otherworldly anthropological study which looks closely at alien and not-so-alien realities for males and females. 8. Pg 343 'Mother Grasshopper' - Michael Swanwick - A tale mixing medieval death with modern technology, in a world that exists on the body of a grasshopper... 9. Pg 361 'Macs' - Terry Bisson - A strange and ethically-interesting tale of cloning in Oklahoma 10. Pg 371 'Creation' - Jeffrey Ford - Boyhood fantasy, religion, and the power to give life and take it away. Made me think. 11. Pg 383 'Other People' - Neil Gaiman - I was harder on Neil, as he's such a big shot these days, but here he's produced a very brief and quite brilliant tale of...torture... 12. Pg 423 'Journey Into the Kingdom' - M. Rickert - A paranormal tale of the sea, madness, coffee, love and death, which is more like several stories in one. 13. Pg 451 'The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate' - Ted Chiang - Fantastic proverbial tale set in the medieval Muslim world. Alchemical magic and words of wisdom galore, all in a delightfully different and enticing 'mysterious middle-east' style.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tee Jay

    The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is the most recent anthology to be published by the magazine bearing the same name. It is not a bad short-story collection, although I have to say that the first half is much better than the second. Some stories really have a lasting effect, like "Flowers for Algernon," while others, for a selection celebrating 60 years of publication, are really just so-so. One of the latter that immediately comes to mind is Ursula Le Gu The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is the most recent anthology to be published by the magazine bearing the same name. It is not a bad short-story collection, although I have to say that the first half is much better than the second. Some stories really have a lasting effect, like "Flowers for Algernon," while others, for a selection celebrating 60 years of publication, are really just so-so. One of the latter that immediately comes to mind is Ursula Le Guin's "Solitude," a feminist sexual-political diatribe layered in allegory a.k.a. Speculative Fiction. I'm also not big on unicorns, so story Beagle's story "Two Hearts" was kind of a dud. I also think that Stephen King's "The Gunslinger" was a poor selection, not because it was bad (The Dark Tower is one of my favourite stories of all time) but rather because it just was not a good fit. Essentially, the selection in The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is only the first chapter of the novel called The Gunslinger and so I don't think including such a limiting part of the book does the story any justice. Furthermore, it wastes pages that could have otherwise gone to a story more deserving. Nonetheless, although the second half of the collection is so-so, the very last story in the anthology by Ted Chiang, "The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate," might be the best story in the whole collection. It is great. So all in all, the stories in this anthology are a little too overtly political, and a little too dark to make it great.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dr M

    Mini-reviews of each story: Of Time and Third Avenue, Alfred Bester: 3/5 The short-story format has always been important and held in high regard in science fiction. This classic twist-in-time mystery story is a good example of why. The short format allows a simple idea and plot twist to be explored without the need to build elaborate sets, plot, and side characters. Bester serves us with an enjoyable, if straightforward and somewhat predictable story, effectively setting a scene and executing a p Mini-reviews of each story: Of Time and Third Avenue, Alfred Bester: 3/5 The short-story format has always been important and held in high regard in science fiction. This classic twist-in-time mystery story is a good example of why. The short format allows a simple idea and plot twist to be explored without the need to build elaborate sets, plot, and side characters. Bester serves us with an enjoyable, if straightforward and somewhat predictable story, effectively setting a scene and executing a plot twist around one central idea in a few pages. All Summer in a Day, Ray Bradbury: 2/5 What would it be like to live on a planet where the climate was one of constant rain, where a glimpse of the sun is as rare and remarkable an event as a solar eclipse is to us? The premise for Bradbury's story is an interesting one, especially in light of all the science fiction that assumes living on another planet is essentially like living on earth, either because planets are assumed to have the same general climate characteristics, or because of terraforming. However, while the setting is interesting, the story rather isn't. What we get is a very predictable little sob story, that is ultimately forgettable. To be continued ...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Standback

    This is a fantastic anthology, with a huge variety of absolute classics and gems, from a sixty-year span of publication. Powerful, powerful pieces -- and ones that give you great tastes of a whole lot of different authors, from Alfred Bester to Ted Chiang. Some of the standout stories are: * The classic "Flowers For Algernon"; * Peter Beagle's heartbreaking adventure "Two Hearts," * Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," which does Arabian Nights style tales of magical time travel; * " This is a fantastic anthology, with a huge variety of absolute classics and gems, from a sixty-year span of publication. Powerful, powerful pieces -- and ones that give you great tastes of a whole lot of different authors, from Alfred Bester to Ted Chiang. Some of the standout stories are: * The classic "Flowers For Algernon"; * Peter Beagle's heartbreaking adventure "Two Hearts," * Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," which does Arabian Nights style tales of magical time travel; * "Solitude," one of Ursula LeGuin's quintessential tales of contact with alien cultures, and more and more and more. Anthologies, by their nature, tend to be a grab bag -- some stories are great, others not so much. This is a rare exception. There's immense variety, but almost every story is a treasure, large or small. It's a showcase of the fantastic, top-notch work that the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction has done over the decades. It's full of genre classics -- and ones that stand the test of time, which is no mean feat. I can't tell you how many times I've been in conversations with friends going, "Oh, there's this fantastic story you should really read! Here, I've got it in this book here..." Highly, highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Martin

    Gordon Van Gelder has been the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction since 1996. Mr. Van Gelder prepared brief paragraphs to introduce each of the short fiction selections of when it was first published in the magazine. He also included a little background on the authors which I found to be a nice touch. It was lovely going back to some old favourite stories I had not read in years to reread them in this anthology, such as Flowers for Algernon. Many of the authors I had not read bef Gordon Van Gelder has been the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction since 1996. Mr. Van Gelder prepared brief paragraphs to introduce each of the short fiction selections of when it was first published in the magazine. He also included a little background on the authors which I found to be a nice touch. It was lovely going back to some old favourite stories I had not read in years to reread them in this anthology, such as Flowers for Algernon. Many of the authors I had not read before and found their stories to be very intersting, and hope to see other stories written by them. The collection between science fiction and fantasy is even with excellent choices made by Mr. Van Gelder.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Fantasy Literature

    4.5 stars The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is an excellent collection of 23 stories picked from the treasure trove of short fiction that's been published in the eponymous magazine over the past 60 years. Editor Gordon Van Gelder — also the editor of the magazine since 1997 — has done an admirable job, picking stories that illustrate the diversity of both the genre and the magazine. As such, this is a great anthology for SF&F fans as well as newcomers look 4.5 stars The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is an excellent collection of 23 stories picked from the treasure trove of short fiction that's been published in the eponymous magazine over the past 60 years. Editor Gordon Van Gelder — also the editor of the magazine since 1997 — has done an admirable job, picking stories that illustrate the diversity of both the genre and the magazine. As such, this is a great anthology for SF&F fans as well as newcomers looking for a taste. The line-up of authors in this collection looks like a veritable Who's Who of speculative fiction: Ray Bradbury, Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Greg Lehman

    I hadn't read the short story version of "Algernon," but found it just as heartbreaking as the novel was when I was half as old as I am now. Of course Bradbury still masters the form with his classic "All Summer in a Day," Le Guin similarly crushes it with "Solitude," and I am incredibly grateful to get proper introductions to legends like Damon Knight, Terry Bisson, Karen Jay Fowler, and Michael Swanwick. The weaker additions are forgivable since this is, after all, a survey of the magazine's t I hadn't read the short story version of "Algernon," but found it just as heartbreaking as the novel was when I was half as old as I am now. Of course Bradbury still masters the form with his classic "All Summer in a Day," Le Guin similarly crushes it with "Solitude," and I am incredibly grateful to get proper introductions to legends like Damon Knight, Terry Bisson, Karen Jay Fowler, and Michael Swanwick. The weaker additions are forgivable since this is, after all, a survey of the magazine's top contributors, which of course still have much to teach about where the genre can suffer from an overabundance of details over character or plot. I recommend anyone to pick this up to find both great surprises and familiar favorites between its covers.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This is not a particularly inspired collection of short stories. My favorite was the Peter S. Beagle short story that was a sequel (of sorts) to the Last Unicorn, but I doubt it would stand well on it's own. The editor seemed more interested in picking stories that were personally interesting to him (such as stories that he liked when he was twelve or what have you) than in picking the best short stories that had been published in the magazine. Further, the short story Eastward Ho! was incredibly This is not a particularly inspired collection of short stories. My favorite was the Peter S. Beagle short story that was a sequel (of sorts) to the Last Unicorn, but I doubt it would stand well on it's own. The editor seemed more interested in picking stories that were personally interesting to him (such as stories that he liked when he was twelve or what have you) than in picking the best short stories that had been published in the magazine. Further, the short story Eastward Ho! was incredibly tone deaf. I don't know why it was included. It includes Sioux named Chief Hydrogen Bombs, Makes Much Raditiaion, Bright Book Jacket, and so on, based on books. Ick. I didn't finish it. The anthology is not really worth the time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Ruth

    I can't say I enjoyed this book but that was more a matter of taste than the quality of the book itself. It's an excellent collection of stories by top-tier SFF authors, but unfortunately I found most of them to be too strange and oddly depressing for my taste. There were a few stories I liked. My favorite was probably Solitude by Ursula K. Le Guin, in which Le Guin accomplished what she does probably better than any other writer I've read: create a culture so alien to our own that it should be I can't say I enjoyed this book but that was more a matter of taste than the quality of the book itself. It's an excellent collection of stories by top-tier SFF authors, but unfortunately I found most of them to be too strange and oddly depressing for my taste. There were a few stories I liked. My favorite was probably Solitude by Ursula K. Le Guin, in which Le Guin accomplished what she does probably better than any other writer I've read: create a culture so alien to our own that it should be incomprehensible, but then bring it to life in a way that helps the reader understand and admire it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Dorneman

    Given what the editor had to work with, a surprisingly mediocre collection. Although it does have two heartbreaking masterpieces in Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" and Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon", you also get dated pieces from Roger Zelazny and Alfred Bester, and Van Gelder includes Stephen King's "The Gunslinger" along with Michael Swanwick's very similar piece, "Mother Grasshopper." Still lots of wonderful stories in this volume's nearly 500 pages, but it could have been so muc Given what the editor had to work with, a surprisingly mediocre collection. Although it does have two heartbreaking masterpieces in Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" and Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon", you also get dated pieces from Roger Zelazny and Alfred Bester, and Van Gelder includes Stephen King's "The Gunslinger" along with Michael Swanwick's very similar piece, "Mother Grasshopper." Still lots of wonderful stories in this volume's nearly 500 pages, but it could have been so much more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I checked this out mainly because it has Ray Bradbury's famous short story "All Summer in a Day," which was my first contact with his work when I was in G&T classes in 3rd grade. After his death, I wanted to share the story with my sons, and was delighted to find it still as poignant and incisive as ever. But the many other stories in this volume came as a wonderful surprise, and it contains works by authors I've read extensively without having come across these particular stories before, such a I checked this out mainly because it has Ray Bradbury's famous short story "All Summer in a Day," which was my first contact with his work when I was in G&T classes in 3rd grade. After his death, I wanted to share the story with my sons, and was delighted to find it still as poignant and incisive as ever. But the many other stories in this volume came as a wonderful surprise, and it contains works by authors I've read extensively without having come across these particular stories before, such as Neil Gaiman.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I read this book solely because it contains one of my most long-sought short stories, "Two Hearts," the sequel to Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn. That, of course, was perfection. There could not have been a more perfect conclusion to my all-time favorite book. I accidentally erased the rest of my review. The TL;DR version is that there are a great many awesome standouts within this collection and only one that I especially didn't care for ("The Deathbird," by Harlan Ellison), probably because i I read this book solely because it contains one of my most long-sought short stories, "Two Hearts," the sequel to Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn. That, of course, was perfection. There could not have been a more perfect conclusion to my all-time favorite book. I accidentally erased the rest of my review. The TL;DR version is that there are a great many awesome standouts within this collection and only one that I especially didn't care for ("The Deathbird," by Harlan Ellison), probably because it was too smart for me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Catarina Fêo e Torres

    This is a great book for those of us who aren't big into Sci-fi! Despite the title, it's more Sci-fi than Fantasy, although it does have a bit of both, and then some stories that are really in between (or just far out of any classification!). It really renewed my love for short stories and it's an amazing read for people who spend time in public transport or who just don't have a lot of reading-time, because you can read a complete story on the time you have free! Highly recommend this! This is a great book for those of us who aren't big into Sci-fi! Despite the title, it's more Sci-fi than Fantasy, although it does have a bit of both, and then some stories that are really in between (or just far out of any classification!). It really renewed my love for short stories and it's an amazing read for people who spend time in public transport or who just don't have a lot of reading-time, because you can read a complete story on the time you have free! Highly recommend this!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    (Borderlands Bookstore's Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club met on Sunday, 16 May, 2010, at 6 pm to discuss The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, edited by Gordon Van Gelder.) (Borderlands Bookstore's Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club met on Sunday, 16 May, 2010, at 6 pm to discuss The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, edited by Gordon Van Gelder.)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kenny V

    Excellent anthology collection with lots of great stories. "Journey Into the Kingdom" by M. Rickert is the best of her I've read. I had come across it in a previous anthology and had no qualms about reading it again. If you are considering subscribing to the magazine this is a good indicator of the quality of the stories as they are all republished from there. Excellent anthology collection with lots of great stories. "Journey Into the Kingdom" by M. Rickert is the best of her I've read. I had come across it in a previous anthology and had no qualms about reading it again. If you are considering subscribing to the magazine this is a good indicator of the quality of the stories as they are all republished from there.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Love love love this book. So many classics by great authors and lots of new stories I'd never seen before. Writers include Shirley Jackson, Philip K. Dick, Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, and Ursula LeGuin. Highly recommend it for sci-fi lovers! Love love love this book. So many classics by great authors and lots of new stories I'd never seen before. Writers include Shirley Jackson, Philip K. Dick, Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, and Ursula LeGuin. Highly recommend it for sci-fi lovers!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Harbin

    I bought this anthology for Kurt Vonnegut's 'Harrison Bergeron', but there wasn't a single story that was less than superb. Not only is each story a triumph, but each flows into the next like they were meant to be collected together. I bought this anthology for Kurt Vonnegut's 'Harrison Bergeron', but there wasn't a single story that was less than superb. Not only is each story a triumph, but each flows into the next like they were meant to be collected together.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    excellent collection.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    I admit that I only read the stories that I thought might be appropriate for my students but I read at least half of them.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    Absolutely wonderful collection. I enjoyed every one of stories, even though I have read some of them before. It will be a book I will read again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    This collection's diversity is what shines brightest for me. Most of the stories are good, some are great, and some are... stories you'll be glad you read but that may not linger long. This collection's diversity is what shines brightest for me. Most of the stories are good, some are great, and some are... stories you'll be glad you read but that may not linger long.

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