Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXII (The Anthology Edition) (Best SF Stories from New Worlds 5, Orbit 6, Alpha 3, Best SF 1972)

Little pleases me more than reading the fascinating cross-section of the genre presented by anthologies from my favorite era of SF (1960s/70s). After the success that was World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (variant title: World’s Best Science Fiction: Third Series) (1967), ed. Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr, I decided to browse my “to post” pile of recent acquisitions and share a handful with you all. As is often the case, the collections are peppered with stories I’ve already read—I’ve linked the relevant reviews.

Filled with authors I haven’t read yet—Stephen Tall, Robin Scott, Roderick Thorp, Jean Cox, Christopher Finch, etc.

…and of course, many of my favorites including Gene Wolfe, Ursula Le Guin, Barry N. Malzberg, and Kate Wilhelm (among many many others).

Scans are from my collection.

1. The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF, ed. Donald A. Wollheim (1972)

(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1972 edition)

From the back cover: “THE BEST OF THE WORLD’S SCIENCE FICTION. Following the tradition of many best-selling anthologies of fine science fiction he is noted for, Donald A. Wollheim selects for DAW Books those fantastic tales which in his opinion warrant being considered the best and most memorable science fiction published in the past year.

Here is R. A. Lafferty with a fabulous fragment of something from Beyond.

Here is Stephen Tall with a desperate expedition to answer an entire world’s S.O.S.

Here is Joanna Russ with an unforgettable glimpse into a future we never intended to create.

Here are wonder, science, fantasy, and marvel—packed into fourteen of the best.”

Contents: Larry Niven’s “The Fourth Profession” (1971), Joanna Russ’ “Gleepsite” (1971), Stephan Tall’s “The Bear with the Knot on his Tail” (1971), Michael G. Coney’s “The Sharks of Pentreath” (1971), Poul Anderson’s “A Little Knowledge” (1971), Christopher Priest’s “Real-Time World” (1971), R. A. Lafferty’s “All Pieces of a River Shore” (1971), Alan Dean Foster’s “With Friends Like These…” (1971), Leonard Tushnet’s “Aunt Jennie’s Tonic” (1971), Eddy C. Bertin’s “Time Storm” (1971), Arthur C. Clarke’s “Transit of Earth” (1971), Barry Malzberg’s “Gehanna” (1971), Harlan Ellison’s “One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty” (1971), and Theodore Sturgeon’s “Occam’s Scalpel” (1971).

2. Orbit 6, ed. Damon Knight (1970)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1970 edition)

From the back cover: “ORBIT 6 carries on the traditions of excitement and excellence of this continuing anthology of the best, most lively new SF stories being written today. In the three years it has been eligible, ORBIT has received three of the coveted Nebula awards presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

This new ORBIT includes: THOMAS DISCH’S “The Asian Shore,” the eerie psychic persecution of an American in Instanbul…

GARDNER DOZOIS with a frightening glimpse of the coming war between black and white in “Where No Sun Shines”….

a strange story of the return to slavery, “How the Whip Came Back,” by GENE WOLFE….

and stories by ten other masters of the new SF—disturbing, exciting writing of the 1970s.”

Contents: Joanna Russ’ “The Second Inquisition” (1970), Gene Wolfe’s “Remembrance to Come” (1970), Avram Davidson’s “Goslin Day” (1970), Robin Scott’s “Maybe Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine De Monet, Chevalier De Lamarck, Was a Little Bit Right” (1970), Kate Wilhelm’s “The Chosen” (1970), R. A. Lafferty’s “Entire and Perfect Chrysolite” (1970), Roderick Thorp’s “Sunburst” (1970), James Sallis’ “The Creation of Bennie Good” (1970), Ursula Le Guin’s “The End” (variant title: “Things”) (1970), Kate Wilhelm’s “A Cold Dark Night with Snow” (1970), Jean Cox’s “Fame” (1970), Carol Emshwiller’s “Debut” (1970), Gardner R. Dozois’ “Where No Sun Shines” (1970), Thomas M. Disch’s “The Asian Shore” (1970).

3. Alpha 3, ed. Robert Silverberg (1972)

(Uncredited cover for the 1972 edition)

From the inside cover: “A lovely flat statement…

During the last thirty to forty years, no single area of writing interest has produced the variety of talent, or the maturity of professionalism, or the sheer numbers, or the quality, that has been produced in science fiction.

It is the genre which attracts the best minds, which demands new thinking, which both generates and illuminates concepts the normal writer couldn’t cope with. Stylistically, it is at once a stronghold for pure conservatism and a theater for the farthest experiment. Science fiction is truly the writing of the twentieth century.

The ALPHA series has two criteria only—literary excellence, and the importance of genre. With the publication of this third volume we have, so far, published representative work from twenty-five writers—and the surface has barely been scratched!

Which is on reason why this publisher believes flatly in that first lovely flat statement.

Reader—you are a lucky person…”

Contents: Jack Vance’s “The Gift of Gab” (1955), Philip K. Dick’s “Beyond Lies the Wub” (1952), R. A. Lafferty’s “Nine Hundred Grandmothers” (1966), Brian W. Aldiss’ “Total Environment” (1968), Frederik Pohl’s “Day Million” (1966), L. Sprague de Camp’s “Aristotle and the Gun” (1956), Cordwainer Smith’s “Under Old Earth” (1966), Philip José Farmer’s “The Shadow of Space” (1967), Thomas M. Disch’s “Come to Venus Melancholy” (1965), Arthur C. Clarke’s “Rescue Party” (1946).

4. Best SF Stories from New Worlds 5, ed. Michael Moorcock (1969)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1971 edition)

From the back cover: “NEW WORLDS MAGAZINE, publishing Now stories for Now people, dealing with a world of When.

Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds is acknowledged as the most dynamic SF magazine in the world today, controversy-stirring and award-winning.”

Contents: Norman Spinrad’s “The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde” (1969), J.G. Ballard’s “The Death Module” (variant title: “Notes Towards a Mental Breakdown”(1967), Roger Zelazny and Danny Plachta’s “The Last Inn on the Road” (1967), D.M. Thomas’ “The Spectrum” (1969), Graham M. Hall’s “The Tennyson Effect” (1969), Brian W. Aldiss’ “The Serpent of Kundalini” (1968), Peter Tate’s “Mars Pastorale” (1967), Langdon Jones’ “Biographical Note on Ludwig van Beethoven II” (1968), Christopher Finch’s “A Landscape of Shallows” (1968), Giles Gordon’s “Scream” (1968), Charles Platt’s “The Rodent Laboratory” (1968).

12 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXXII (The Anthology Edition) (Best SF Stories from New Worlds 5, Orbit 6, Alpha 3, Best SF 1972)

  1. Oh wow! *jealous* Although 70s/80s is my preferred era for science fiction. That sweet spot between letting go of trad tropes and forms, and diving into experimentation for its own sake, rather than serving the story.

    • Thanks for the comment. I generally think of the 1980s as seriously lacking in experimentation — and slipping back to standard tropes and forms in a tide of space opera resurgence (a generalization perhaps) as the New Wave ran its course and fails (essentially) to make a lasting impact. That certainly doesn’t mean a lot of wonderful authors weren’t continuing to write into the 80s but presses certainly reoriented their aims/goals—DAW shifts almost entirely for example to fantasy reprints, lengthy fantasy series, and tons of reprints of the most popular earlier authors (A. E. van Vogt and his ilk).

  2. Hi Joachim

    As an enormous anthology fan I enjoyed the post. I note that you are a bit hesitant about the Alpha. I bought several volumes in the series but have yet to read them. But I am a much bigger fan of 1940’s and 50’s SF than you are so for me it was not an issue. Nice to see the 1960’s represented by quality work.

    Happy Reading

  3. I have all of these anthologies, and I have read most of them. Part of the real magic of those Orbits were those Paul Lehr covers. I read the 1972 “Best Of” back in high school in ’74. Yeah, that long ago. I subscribed to all the magazines (except Amazing and Fantastic) since 1972, so I even read some of the stories in their original magazine appearances. I grew up on anthologists like Elwood, Ghildra, Knight, Moskowitz, Silverberg and Carr. Silverberg’s anthologies were always entertaining, a good mix of big names and forgotten authors, old stories and new, and if you get the chance, check out Terry Carr’s anthologies. I don’t remember a bad one. You might even find his fantasy anthologies interesting as he was the only one at that time to be a serious fan of Borges.

    • I’ve enjoyed many of the Carr anthologies I’ve read. You commented on my review World’s Best Science Fiction: 1967 (1967) recently which he put together Donald A. Wollheim.

      Check the handy index of all my reviews for links. You’ll find reviews of three additional anthologies edited by Carr — Universe 1 (1971), Universe 2 (1972), and Universe 10 (1980)

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