A collection of pulp-style science-fiction stories from the days when men were men and aliens were green, scaly, and up to no good.
In the introduction to this new collection of his early work for pulp magazines, Silverberg (Tales of Majipoor, 2013, etc.) explains, at some length, that the stories within aren’t very good—or at least not up to the level of his later work. Written when Silverberg was still very young, these stories are all plot, with virtually no character development, and the prose in some of the earliest can be clunky ("Please, Captain. Who could expect you to prognosticate such an unlikely event?"). But they noticeably improve as time goes on. “Planet of Parasites” offers some genuinely creepy thrills; “Frontier Planet” gleefully mixes genres and contains some moments of real emotional depth. All the stories move along briskly and, true to the pulp promise, deliver plenty of strong men, beautiful women in skimpy clothing, and alien horrors. This is an old-fashioned future, in which earthmen can travel to distant planets but a spaceship can’t store enough data to carry a detailed map of a galaxy.
Reading this collection is akin to watching the B-movies Quentin Tarantino has spent his career riffing off—fun for superfans and students of the genre but skippable for everyone else.