Masterpieces Of Science Fiction: Voyages Through Time And Space (book review).

March 30, 2022 | By | Reply More

You would think looking at the cover of ‘Masterpieces Of Science Fiction: Voyages Through Time And Space’, that this was an artbook. Yes, there is a dashing of art, mostly good, although not big name artists. The money is really spent on nine stories by well-known SF writers. Each one has an introduction, some very brief, by Charles Platt. Well, at least I think it was as there is no separate introduction. I’ll pick out stories I have something to say about.

‘Sunjammer’ by Arthur C. Clarke is more about using solar sails to travel in space. A notable point is the use of a computer the size of a matchbox bearing in mind this story was written in 1964. As if such a thing was ever possible.

‘A Sound Of Thunder’ by Ray Bradbury is probably his best known SF short story and the introduction still regards him as an SF author. Bradbury in the years to come does see himself more as a fantasy author. The notable thing about this story is not to damage things in the past in case it messes the future. Having a safari in the past, only animals nominated that are known to die ensures no interference with the present and no trophies because animals will eat the carcase. Of course, something goes wrong. Although Bradbury covers most points, I think more thought about the ending would have produced more options.

I haven’t come across A.E. Van Vogt’s ‘Juggernaut’ before. A bar of metal suddenly arrives that can harden other metals that ultimately ends a war.

Isaac Asimov’s ‘Robbie’ is regarded as the first of his robot novels where a small girl’s parents think she’s outgrown her robot and her desire to find him again still works today.

For the record, the other stories are ‘I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream’ by Harlen Ellison, ‘Report On The Barnhouse Effect’ by Kurt Vonnegut, ‘Misfit’ by Robert Heinlein, ‘Seed Stock’ by Frank Herbert and ‘The Sea Like Mirrors’ by Gregory Benford. There is a sufficient scatter of stories to cover all tastes. The format of size with stories, double-columned with line gaps between paragraph and oddly chosen bold words does suggest an experiment as I can’t recall any other anthologies in this size book. If you do pursue this book, treat it more as a curio.

GF Willmetts

March 2022

(pub: Ariel Books/Ballantine Books, 1978. 107 page large softcover. Price: it varies. ISBN: 0-345-27620)


Category: Books, Scifi

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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