Six often-overlooked, award-caliber sf short novels and novelettes!
All the selections in this unique anthology were voted one of the top stories of their year—and, we believe, would be a top story of any year.
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says all Rog Phillips’ other stories are “eclipsed by his psychological thriller, the lesser known but equally brilliant ‘Rat in the Skull’, which received a well-deserved Hugo Award nomination.”
Almost every science fiction author worth their salt has, at one time or another, written about extra-sensory perception and H. L. Gold does it too in “Inside Man”, but unlike his colleagues, he dreams up brand-new wrinkles on ESP no one else, including you, has ever thought of. The special quality of this work was endorsed by his colleagues when “Inside Man” was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story.
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction praises Leigh Brackett’s early space operas, of which “The Stellar Legion” is one, for “their colour, their narrative speed, the brooding forthrightness of their protagonists” and the “economy and vigour” of her style, so it is hardly surprising that one of them (so far) earned a Retro Hugo Award nomination.
“Scanners Live in Vain” first brought Cordwainer Smith to the attention of science fiction readers, and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction terms it “one of the finest of his tales” filled with “foreboding intensity,” plunging “in medias res into the Instrumentality of Man Universe, generating a sense that much remains untold beyond the dark edges of the tale”. It, too, earned a Retro Hugo nomination.
Evelyn Martin’s “Reluctant Eve”, winner of the Jules Verne Prize for Most Outstanding Achievement in the Science Fiction Field for 1956, was the first science fiction romance, published at least three decades before the genre became popular, and is still an enthralling read today.
Another landmark “first of” science fiction tale, Don Wilcox's “The Voyage that Lasted 600 Years” (1940) was the first generation starship story, and the first to incorporate the breakthrough notion of Earth developing faster-than-light ships that beat the generation ship to its destination—a worthy recipient of its Retro Hugo nomination.
The stories in this anthology, all award nominees or winners, demonstrate just how outstanding a story has to be to qualify for consideration for a major science fiction award. Wherever you are on the spectrum of science fiction knowledge or fandom, you’ll find hours of enthralling reading (and re-reading), forgotten favorites for long-time science fiction fans, and an introductory grand tour for those new to the genre.