Continuing a series of posts on old science fiction anthologies inspired by an article in the Black Gate blog.
“We may no longer be alone in the Universe — perhaps we never have been. The ultimate possibility — that life exists beyond Earth — is no longer a fantasy but the subject of scientific experimentation. Humans and extra-terrestrial beings may be making contact today, certainly tomorrow. The first explosive, grappling instant of encounter between Man and Alien is the subject of the extraordinary journey of man’s imagination into the unknown by masters of science fiction.” — from the back cover”””
Like the last anthology I posted on, I was in high school when this one was published, though I don’t think I’d seen it before spotting it for sale just this April. Certainly, it’s got a great cover and a pretty good roster of authors.
- “First Contact” by Murray Leinster
- “Intelligence Test” by Harry Walton
- “The Large Ant” by Howard Fast
- “What’s He Doing In There?” by Fritz Leiber
- “Chemical Plant” by Man Williamson
- “Limiting Factor” by Clifford D. Simak
- “The Fire Balloons” by Ray Bradbury
- “Invasion from Mars” by Howard Koch
- “The Gentle Vultures” by Isaac Asimov
- “Knock” by Frederick Brown
- “Specialist” by Robert Sheckley
- “Lost Memory” by Peter Phillips
The best known of these stories is the first one, “First Contact” by Murray Leinster (a nom de plume of William Fitzgerald Jenkins). The remainder of the stories range from good (“Chemical Plant”) to so-so (“The Large Ant”), to disappointing (the Leiber). I liked the Asimov story well enough, though don’t consider it among his best. An interesting anthology, though not as much fun to read as the previous two I review on the last two Fridays. Your mileage may vary.