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Classic American Science Fiction

In September, the Library of America will be publishing a two volume set of classic American Science Fiction from the fifties.

The series is edited by Gary Wolfe and features Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants, Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human, Leigh Brackett The Long Tomorrow, Richard Matheson's The Shrinking Man, Robert Heinlein, Double Star, Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, James Blish's A Case of Conscience, Algis Budrys' Who? and Fritz Leiber's The Big Time. The list of authors is debatable--for example, I have absolutely no time for Heinlein and I reckon Bester's novel has a reputation it doesn't deserve--but it's cool to see folk like Brackett and Leiber there, the latter who I adore for his work in general, and the former because she wrote the script with Faulkner and Furthman that adapted Chandler's the Big Sleep.

(Don't do a bad geek thing and mention Empire Strikes Back, okay? Brackett died shortly after handing in the script and rumour has it that the one used for filming had little to do with her version.)

At any rate, I like the idea, more than I like the authors, and if I read the books or not will be based on how I'm feeling at the time. There's a couple I would like to read, a couple I could do without owning, a couple I own, so I'm probably not the ideal reader for the pair of volumes. However, you know what I would like--I would love to see a series of similar volumes that were Japanese Science Fiction from the 50s, Russian Science Fiction, Italian Science Fiction, and so forth. Admittedly, it probably won't be done by the same publisher, but that's neither here or there. I just love the idea. Imagine, Polish Science Fiction from the 50s!

I have no idea what that would be like.

But I would totally be there for that.


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Jul. 12th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
Okay, I don't know you and just stumbled across this because I was looking for Russian SF, but I thought I'd say that if you haven't read Bester, then you should give him a shot. I was so incredibly impressed when I read "The Stars My Destination" and "Demolished Man". Of course, I really liked "The Big Time" too, and many of the people in my sci-fi book group didn't. So, your mileage may vary, but don't count Bester out.
Jul. 16th, 2012 04:26 am (UTC)
Re: Bester
hey hey

thanks for stopping by. for the bester books, i have actually read them. i liked the demolished man more than the stars my destination--but i guess i was just not as moved by some are with it, and kinda view it over rated because of that. it's not a bad book, don't get me wrong, and i am generally favourable to bester...
Jul. 16th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Bester
I understand. I think I was most impressed because they didn't seem that dated to me. Finding a "best of" that everyone can agree on is hard too. I'd totally be into a "best of" for Polish, Russian or other sci-fi from back in the day.
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