A Century of Science Fiction

By Damon Knight

Rating: 3 stars

The oldest story in this collection is from about the 1860s and the newest from the 1960s so it does pretty much what it says on the tin. Each story has an introduction written by Knight and it contains stories by all the greats of the era, ranging from Mark Twain and H. G. Wells, through Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke to Marion Zimmer Bradley and Frank Herbert.

The stories neatly show how the genre has evolved over the decades, from the not-quite-supernatural stories of the middle of the 19th century to the hard science of the 20th. The stories have more than just historical value though, and remain enjoyable, fun and sometimes moving, even today. Poul Anderson’s Call Me Joe and Edgar Pangborn’s Angel Egg are probably my favourites in the collection, although the former shows its age when a character comments that native Jovians would probably never have invented radio because “think how thick the vacuum tubes would have to be” :).

Book details

ISBN: 9780848805548
Publisher: Amereon Ltd
Year of publication: 1962

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