This is the 11th post in my newly resurrected series of vintage generation ship short fiction reviews. I’m continuing my exploration of 50s visions.
As a reminder for anyone stopping by, all of the stories I’ll review in the series are available online via the link below in the review.
You are welcome to read and discuss along with me as I explore humanity’s visions of generational voyage. And thanks go out to all who have joined already. I also have compiled an extensive index of generation ship SF if you wish to track down my earlier reviews on the topic and any that you might want to read on your own.
Previously: Frank M. Robinson’s “The Oceans Are Wide” in Science Stories (April 1954), ed. Bea Mahaffey and Ray Palmer. You can read it online here.
Next Up: Michael G. Coney’s “The Mind Prison” in New Writings in SF 19, ed. John Carnell (1971). You can read it online here.
Arthur Sellings’ “A Start in Life” first appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction (September 1954), ed. H. L. Gold. 3/5 (Average). You can read it online here.
(David McCall Johnston’s cover for the 1971 edition)
3/5 (collated rating: Average)
Preliminary publication note: The UK and US editions of the New Writings in Science Fiction anthology series (1964-1977) varied in content—even volumes indicated by the same number. They are often treated as separate entries in the isfdb.org anthology listing. I read and reviewed the US edition.
The back cover of New Writings in Science Fiction 7 (1971), ed. John Carnell promises a form of “future shock”—plunging us into a world derived from ours but foreign and alien. Is the collection successful? As with the three other volumes in this anthology series I’ve read—New Writings in SF 4(1965), New Writings in SF 6(1965), and New Writings in SF 9 (191972)–the answer is a mixed “somewhat.”
In the volumes I’ve explored so far, Vincent King is the biggest surprise—i.e. an author I had never read who produces regularly solid work. As with “Testament” (1968), King’s “Defence Mechanism” (1966) evokes “existential emptiness” Continue reading →
An imaginary question I received: “Why do you read anthologies cover to cover?” I love discovering new authors and those I was aware existed but haven’t read—with New Writings in SF 9 (1972) the following fall into this bipartite category: Joseph Green, Paul Corey, Arthur Sellings, Vincent King, R. W. Mackelworth, and Eddy C. Bertin.
Of the bunch, I will probably only remember Vincent King’s vision of the angst as the exploration of the entire galaxy nears completion… Both authors whom I know far better produce the best of the collection. Michael G. Coney’s haunting tale of evolutionary dependency and M. John Harrison account of paranoia and guilt over the massacre of mysterious aliens are worth the read. Too bad the three above were never anthologized outside of John Carnell’s New Writings series!
Overall New Writings in SF 9 is superior to New Writings in SF 4 (1965) but probably only satisfying for Coney and Harrison completists….
Note: this title refers to the 1972 US publication which was a best of earlier volumes. Another volume by the same name was published in 1966 in the Continue reading →