THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF CLASSIC SCIENCE FICTION by Isaac Asimov

THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF CLASSIC SCIENCE FICTION

Short Novels of the 1930s

KIRKUS REVIEW

Compared with the works of the founders of modern sf, H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, those of the 1930's, contrary to the overblown title, often seem insufferably crude; even the better craftsmen of the era were prone to excessive verbiage, prose that was more puce than purple, cartoon characters and antics, and rickety or nonexistent plots--all of which are on ample display here. Sf, however, is primarily a literature of ideas--so, readers may observe herein the fascinating, sometimes traumatic birth of ideas that became classic, and, with various modifications, persisted into the present. Thus, H.P. Lovecraft describes some mind-swapping horrors from the distant past. Editor/writer Horace L. Gold (Galaxy) posits the dilemma of a man whose brain is transplanted into a dog's body. A woman is revived from the dead in Cornell Woolrich's melodrama. Editor/writer John W. Campbell (Astounding) discovers some aliens frozen in the ice of Antarctica. Another editor/writer, Harry Bates (Amazing), speculates on far-future humans so intellectualized that they have devolved into idiots. Murray Leinster invents the notion of travelling into probability-worlds. Eric Frank Russell and Leslie T. Johnson time-travel into the gar future. L. Sprague de Camp, in the best story here, defeats some alien conquerors by knocking off their thinking-caps. Stanley G. Weinbaum's immortal female conqueror harasses the distant future. And Jack Williamson's sinister nasties invade Earth from another dimension. Ideas sound familiar? They should. Worth a try for nostalgia buffs and students of the field.
Pub Date: July 15th, 1988
ISBN: 0881844101
Publisher: Carroll & Graf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1988




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