On twitter [my account here — please follow! I post interesting things!] I posed the following question:
Which SF author—for the purposes of this site’s focus, an author starting pre-1980—deserves a new (or reprint) single author collection?
GUIDELINES (please read): Said author cannot have a single author collection published within the last 10 years (you can fudge this a bit). It also should be noted that many eBooks aren’t available in the United States (SF Gateway for example). If the recent eBook edition isn’t available in the US, I guess the author fits the bill (*cough* — John Sladek).
Note: If you are thinking about doing some checking before you make your choice (see guidelines) I recommend using isfdb.org as it has mostly up to date publication histories for all but self-published authors.
My vote: Miriam Allen deFord (active from — SF Encyclopedia LINK
Published collections: Xenogenesis (1969) and Elsewhere, Elsewhen, Elsehow (1971)
Reason: Miriam Allen deFord (1888-1975) was one of the major voices in SF magazines from 1946 – 1978. She never made the transition to novels and thus might have lost some readership as a result. The stories in Xenogenesis (1969) shows an often radical voice right from her first story in 1946. Although they might not be as polished as some of her more famous contemporaries, deFord’s visions deserve to be read and considered in the history of SF magazines. Many of them have an anthropological and/or social SF bent—“The Ajeri Diary” (1968), “Gathi” (1958), “Featherbed on Chlyntha” (1957), etc.—and are often satirical in purpose.
A handful of other deserving authors that come to mind that fit the criteria: Joanna Russ, Vonda N. McIntyre, William Tenn (although he had an omnibus collection published in 2001), Katherine MacLean, John Sladek (recent Gateway eBook isn’t available in the US), Kate Wilhelm, Pamela Zoline, etc…. There are probably many more. One of these might be your choice!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Make sure to explain your answers and check the publication listings.
88 thoughts on “A question for my fellow SF fans: Which SF writer without a single author collection published within the last 10 years should receive a reprint?”
I think M John Harrison would count as he started publishing in 1971. His works (or at least the ones I have) are published all over the place in disparate editions. A lovely shiny new set of his works in matching covers would be fab!
Great choice! I was wondering if he would fit — I checked and his last single author collection was 2002…. Obviously his Viriconium stories were published in 2005 — and those selected were only a small part. It appears that he doesn’t want some of his earliest work re-published (some of his earliest work is darn good and incredibly hard to track down). I will have a review of his first collection–The Machine in Shaft Ten (1975)–up in a week or so! Great stuff!
Your wish came true!
He has two recent collections.
He does indeed, and I have read and loved them both. Lucky me! 😀
Zenna Henderson’s the People series was compiled and last published in 1995. Thus, it just qualifies for your 10-year rule!
Exactly! I have the collection on my shelf but haven’t gotten around to rereading them. I’d love to hear a rationale for you choice! (for the other readers you know….)
Well, I saw you’d focused (laudably!) on female authors, and I love her bittersweet, very sensual approach to writing.
Joachim, I second the de Ford, since I’ve only read a few of her stories and have never forgotten them; always a good test. Henry Slesar is my choice.
Ah, I’ve never heard of Slesar…. What makes him your choice? What are his best stories?
His short story ‘Examination Day’ was one of the stories that got me into science fiction. I’ve never forgotten it. I don’t think I’ve read anything by him since then though.
WOW, I looked at his listing — he was incredibly prolific and never received any single author collection.
David Bunch – I only ever read the two Moderan stories in Dangerous Visions and they have stayed in my memory. I don’t think I have ever reread them. I would love to see more of his work but it just ain’t available. I suspect that the 2 stories I have read were the only ones he ever published in the UK.
GREAT suggestion. I read his Moderan (1972) collection, adored it, and for some reason couldn’t figure out how to review it…. It was quite hard to find (I spent around 15$ I think for it). I really should because it’s a spectacular work and should be picked up by Gollancz for the Masterwork series. I put it on my list of works for the series a while back.
I thought the two “Modrean” stories in “Dangerous Visions” were quite good.The same collection included the only piece by Miriam Allen deFord I’ve read,but I don’t recall anything about it,among the others in this groundbreaking anthology.Perhaps it wasn’t her best work.
Well, check out Xenogenesis (review is linked)…. It’s a range of stories from her first story from 1946 and multiple stories from the late 60s…
Also, even good stories pass from memory–maybe a reread of Dangerous Visions is in order! I really should as well (I’ve read more than half of the stories in different collections).
I’ll have to see about that Joachim…..I’ve got other books lined up to read.I’ve just read Mary Gentle’s “Golden Witchbreed”.If you haven’t,I have to say don’t I think.
I only read “Dangerous Visions” two years ago.Other author’s stuff stays more brightly in the memory,not to mention any names!
As long as you don’t judge an author based on one or two stories… Even Ballard wrote some clunkers—“The Gentle Assassin” (1961) for example.
Don’t worry I don’t.Ballard was in DV too,being quite a good piece.I don’t remember that one of his however,probably for the reasons you state.Differing authors often do their best or worst stuff in either novels or short pieces,depending upon which form they are most comfortable in.
I still don’t know who your vote would be for a reprint collection of an author without a collection published in the last 10 years…
I think Bob Silverberg and Gene Wolfe.Probably also Robert Holdstock and Roger Zelazny.
Richard, I am very confused…. those are standard authors who are constantly reprinted — and all within the last 10 years.
Picking someone outside of that range who is less known is the point of the post….
Gene Wolfe had a collection published in 2009.
Silverberg in 2013.
Holdstock in 2013.
Zelazny had The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories republished in 2013 — albeit, it was a small press.
Sorry.I think there’s disparity between what’s published in the USA and where I live in England.Even Harlan Ellison doesn’t appear on the shelves here.What about John Crowley?
Ok, well, even by that criteria SF Gateway and Gollancz have published some of the authors you have listed. For example, Holdstock….
Crowley’s 2004 collection was republished in 2013 — available exclusively in the UK via SF Gateway as an ebook…. Not available in the US unfortunately — only the original 2004 edition.
(Also, I’m really *not* referring to what’s on the bookshelves at new stores as a lot of small presses have republished the collections. I’m more talking publication dates. You can check those on isfdb.org).
John Brunner. He was very prolific, writing many very good books and many very bad books (e.g., “The Atlantic Abomination”). He was among the first, if not the first, to deal with human-made ecological disaster (“The Sheep Look Up”); among the first to write social science fiction (“Stand on Zanzibar”); wrote probably the best “future shock” novels (“Shockwave Rider”–which still stands up 40 years on); and also wrote a unique fantasy series (the “Traveler in Black” books).
The closest there is to a collection of his works is the study “John Brunner (Modern Masters of Science Fiction),” which came out a couple of years ago.
He had a collection as recently as 2013 of mostly 80s and 90s short stories — The Man Who Was Secrett and Other Stories.
I do agree that a lot of his short fiction deserves to be republished — and most hasn’t since the 80s. And yes, all of those novels you listed are fantastic (haven’t read Traveler in Black yet).
I’d love to see a best of the 50s/60s/70s collection! As long as it includes “Lungfish” (1959), easily my favorite of his short fiction.
I’ve always dreamed of a John Brunner novels reprint with the original covers, say like a boxed collection of five paperbacks in sets from the decades. Imagine that!
Haha, I meant collections as in short stories 😉
But yes, that would be nice!
I always delighted in the short stories of the pseudonymous William Tenn. David
He did get an omnibus a few years outside our range of 10 years…. if you had to pick someone else? Who hasn’t had an omnibus edition…
The problem with the majority of Golden Age and New wave authors is that only a few of then travel well in time. The majority of those few have already had fairly recent “best of” collections. The only other who springs to mind is Ron Goulart. He could hit the spot every now and then.
I have never read any of Ron Goulart’s work. The covers of his novels make him out to be comedic in a silly and empty way. I’m assuming there’s more and that viewpoint is only reflective of my ignorance?
Great post idea! I second (or third or fourth) the Russ and Wilhelm suggestions from Twitter. Actually planning to do some short fic reading this summer, so maybe I’ll discover some new favorites.
Thanks! As we were discussing, I’d be really curious as to why so little of Russ’ work has been reprinted recently other than The Female Man. She is definitely deserving of both an omnibus for her fiction and her non-fiction.
Another one might be George Martin.I don’t know.
Yeah, it looks like other than two of his longer 70s short stories published in a collection in 2008 none of his other short fiction has a recent collection…. And I doubt he cares with all the money he’s making from Game of Thrones!
Yes,but the trouble is I haven’t read any of his short stuff yet.I feel slightly embarassed about picking out anything by authors I haven’t read in this form,if I’ve read anything by them at all.Fortunately I have read his excellent “Ferve Dream”,and am currently reading his early “Dying of the Light”.I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve finished it,although I can tell you now,it’s not nearly as good as FD.
I’d have to really be into his stuff to read “Game of Thrones”,even a library copy.
Joanna Russ would be my first choice — I’m astonished that no small press has done it. But I’d like to see all of your choices get a collection.
There must be a copyright issue. That is the only thing that makes sense.
Also: Sonya Dorman. Sharply written stories, kind of out there.
I’ve only read one of her short stories in Orbit 1 (recent review) and it was great!
Any chance of a Robert Howard collection? I haven’t seen anything of his recently (although he was very prolific) and did give us the delights (?) of Conan…
52 (!!!!!) collections of his work have been published in the last 10 years…. (so, sort of exactly the opposite of the author I was expecting to be picked — haha)
Why can’t I find any of them then? LOL!
He is incredibly popular. His stuff is continually in print (big presses, little presses, etc). I recommend simply looking some of those titles up and buying them online!
What about Thomas Burnett Swann?Apart from his novels,”Green Phoenix” and “Day of the Minotaur”,the only short piece by him I’ve read,is “The Manor of Roses”,in an anthology.
I don’t suppose many know of him now.
Yeah, I’ve not read any of his work. I should!
But some of the covers! Alas. I’ll keep my eyes out for his two published collections Where is the Bird of Fire? (1970) and The Dolphin and the Deep (1968) — they were never reprinted after the initial runs.
“The Day of the Minotaur” was nominated for a Nebula for best 1966 novel.”The Manor of Roses” was first published in “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction”,and was a very pastoral,lightweight piece.
Lucius Shepherd and ….
RAH. There was an SFBC short-story collection done in four volumes but I think that was more than 10 years ago. I think he deserves Library of America collection or three
Heinlein (novels + short stories) are continuously in print…. he falls into the camp of “almost always in print regardless of the quality of his work.” I’m counting at first glance 5 collections in the last 10 years and that’s not counting any older popular collections (such as The Menace from Earth, The Green Hills of Mars, Waldo and Magic, Inc. = all by big presses in the 1-3 years) are still in print… So he hardly fits the criteria I set out nor does he need a renewal of popularity!
As for Sheperd, 7 (!!) collections have been published in the last 10 years! And yes, he is definitely an author who is deserving of a wider readership so those collections were needed.
Here’s his listing:
Parke Godwin could use a revival.
I know you’re not a fan, but Theodore R. Cogswell, No collection since 1968, and his complete stories could easily fit into a single volume. In the early ’70s, members of the SFWA voted The Specter General into the SF Hall of Fame. The SF Encyclopedia entry on Cogswell is a fair evaluation of his work. http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/cogswell_theodore_r He was important enough in the history of SF to deserve a hardcover omnibus preserving his contribution. And what the heck, I just want one.
So I guess my review wasn’t “fair” then? haha. Perhaps you mean “fair” as it is more in line with your perspective 😉 But yes, he does fit the criteria. But, as you know, I don’t really understand the appeal…
Seriously, my use of the word “fair” wasn’t in reference to your review. (Why do you think it was?) I just thought “fair” was a fair way to describe Clute and Nicholls’ evaluation of Cogswell’s work. Fair enough? 🙂
I was jesting — hence the smiley face… I disagree with them often 😉
Has there been a collection of Keith Roberts work reprinted in the US recently ? ‘Pavane’ was reprinted recently, but I’d call that a novel even though it is linked short stories.
Come to that,when was the last time Michael Moorcock had a short story collection published?
Last year… in the UK.
I never see them.I looked at your link though,so I can’t argue.
They are going through his entire work — short stories, novels, etc. And it’s Gollancz — I bet new book stores carry them! A lot of SF book sales are moving online. isfd.org is a useful resource!
Yes Joachim,the trouble is I don’t bother to follow-up his stuff.My nearest book shop has recently closed down too.
Also,I’ve never been that much of a fan of his work anyway,so even recently I haven’t felt inclined to go after his books.He’s always wrote too much to satisfy rather than consolidating his best assets.
The only collection I ever read by him,was “The Time Dweller”,during my very early sf reading days.It wasn’t bad,but I wasn’t that impressed.
That’s the joy of isfdb.org. Pop in a name, vola!, at a glance a publication history run-down with pictures…. 😉
The 1976 collection The Grain Kings was reprinted recently in a single volume with The Chalk Giants by Gollancz two years ago. I am not really sure if those are more traditional collections rather than linked stories in novel form or not. I am only learning about his work.
I just checked and it looks like most of William Tenn’s collections were released by Gollancz in the past few years, otherwise he was my choice. Cyril Kornbluth and Zenna Henderson both have collections by NESFA from the ’90s, but they’re still in print so I’ll skip those. Ellison just got a killer one in Top of the Volcano, Vance is continually getting collections, and Judith Merril got one from NESFA 10 years ago (still in print)… cripes this is harder than I thought.
Anyways! Russ and deFord come to mind, as does M. John Harrison. I don’t see any collections for Zelazny after 2005, either, which is a shock… but he’s more popular for his novels anyways. I probably missed it, and it’s hard to imagine, but did Ted Sturgeon have a collection that fits the criteria? It doesn’t look like ANY of his earlier collections are in print, and I don’t know if he had a definitive “best-of” collection. I could come up with some deep cuts given enough time, but out of all these, I’d go with Russ—some university press ought to do a volume if nobody in the genre will…
I am frustrated though — a lot of these authors have those SF Gateway ebook editions which I have decided don’t really count for our purposes. Americans don’t seem to be able to buy them. So, I think my list is deFord, Russ, Sladek, Harrison… and then Zelazny.
Agreed, though a number of their ebooks are coming stateside… That’s how I got so much of Keith Roberts’ works on the cheap.
If you’d asked this question 5 years ago, my list would probably reach the triple digits… There’s been a huge influx of reprinted collections thanks to ebooks and indie publishers/small press. Gerald Kersh is easily accessible for the first time in fifty years, and Brackett, Kuttner/Moore, a lot of New Wave authors (Roberts, Cowper, Coney, Ian Watson’s slow time machine), Sheckley’s had a great collection, Fredric Brown, all of Lucius Shepard’s shorts in an omnibus, …
Wilson Tucker is my immediate choice. I think he’s a highly talented writer with some really great SF behind him, but he’s largely out of print and not nearly as well known as he should be. For me he’s up there with Simak and other recognised greats, but he’s not recognised.
The Year of the Quiet Sun; The Lincoln Hunters; The Long, Loud Silence; Wild Talent; each of them brilliant and plenty of solid second tier work too (Ice and Iron is pretty good for example).
I am slightly confused — this is a collection of short fiction, not novels. I do love some of his short stories. But yes, none of his short story collections have been reprinted recently! But, I have never read his short fiction.
I’m incredibly jetlagged, so missed the short story requirement. I’ve not read his short fiction, it’s his long that I want to see get a reconsideration.
No worries! Other than The Year of the Quiet Sun (last published in 1997) none of his novels have been published in the last ten years either. Why one hasn’t been picked up by Gollancz is beyond me.
For the same reasons I suppose that Gollancz hasn’t published anything by Harlan Ellison,perhaps among others.Why I can’t say though.
To be be honest,I haven’t read anything by Wilson Tucker.
I bet it’s a copyright issue.
I would bet you’re right I think.
I tried to read The Year of the Quiet Sun a while back but wasn’t in the mood for time travel (which is never compelling to me). I think The Long Loud Silence is my type of novel.
“The Year of the Quite Sun” is included in David Pringle’s “Science Fiction The 100 Best Novels”,but admits he is only a “minor American sf writer” and “is a simple book,old-fashioned in tone and crudely written,but nevertheless quite moving in it’s conclusion”.
It didn’t inspire me much to read it.
Well, try for yourself — most people think it’s a classic.
I’ll let it simmer in my mind for the time being.I’m trying to decide which book[s] to send for from my wish list.
And here is Chris’ amazing review of The Long Loud Silence… https://yellowedandcreased.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/the-long-loud-silence-wilson-tucker/
I shouldn’t say never compelling…. their are novels I enjoy with time travel. But, they are few and far between.
Chris’ review matches to my own recollection. David Pringle’s view doesn’t particularly, and seems unduly harsh.
It can’t that harsh I would have thought to be included in a book of a 100 best sf novels,despite what he said.
Yes,it was included at the exclusion of several others obviously,most of which were probably better,I would think.
Richard, how can you actually claim that they are better if you haven’t even read ANY of his work? I generally try to keep an open mind before an approaching author I have not read.
Sorry Joachim,I’m just speculating that it’s quite possible that’s all….I suppose I’m stretching a point too far.I don’t really know.
I feel a bit sceptical at the moment about authors,having been dissapointed by the books written by the likes of Harry Harrison,Mary Gentle and George Martin.
Tell me more! What is his SF like? I’ve never hear his name.