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The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction,…

de Ursula K. Le Guin (Editor), Brian Attebery (Editor)

Altres autors: Poul Anderson (Col·laborador), Eleanor Arnason (Col·laborador), Margaret Atwood (Col·laborador), Greg Bear (Col·laborador), Gregory Benford (Col·laborador)61 més, Michael Bishop (Col·laborador), James Blish (Col·laborador), Michael Blumlein (Col·laborador), Marion Zimmer Bradley (Col·laborador), Edward Bryant (Col·laborador), David R. Bunch (Col·laborador), Octavia Butler (Col·laborador), Pat Cadigan (Col·laborador), Orson Scott Card (Col·laborador), Michael G. Coney (Col·laborador), John Crowley (Col·laborador), Avram Davidson (Col·laborador), Samuel R. Delany (Col·laborador), Philip K. Dick (Col·laborador), Candas Jane Dorsey (Col·laborador), Suzette Haden Elgin (Col·laborador), Harlan Ellison (Col·laborador), Carol Emshwiller (Col·laborador), Karen Joy Fowler (Consultant), William Gibson (Col·laborador), Diane Glancy (Col·laborador), Molly Gloss (Col·laborador), Lisa Goldstein (Col·laborador), Phyllis Gotlieb (Col·laborador), Eileen Gunn (Col·laborador), Joe Haldeman (Col·laborador), Zenna Henderson (Col·laborador), Sonya Dorman Hess (Col·laborador), James Patrick Kelly (Col·laborador), John Kessel (Col·laborador), Damon Knight (Col·laborador), Nancy Kress (Col·laborador), R. A. Lafferty (Col·laborador), Fritz Leiber (Col·laborador), Katherine MacLean (Col·laborador), Barry N. Malzberg (Col·laborador), Vonda N. McIntyre (Col·laborador), Pat Murphy (Col·laborador), Frederik Pohl (Col·laborador), Paul Preuss (Col·laborador), Mike Resnick (Col·laborador), Kim Stanley Robinson (Col·laborador), Joanna Russ (Col·laborador), Pamela Sargent (Col·laborador), James H. Schmitz (Col·laborador), Robert Sheckley (Col·laborador), Lewis Shiner (Col·laborador), Robert Silverberg (Col·laborador), Clifford D. Simak (Col·laborador), Cordwainer Smith (Col·laborador), Bruce Sterling (Col·laborador), Theodore Sturgeon (Col·laborador), Michael Swanwick (Col·laborador), James Tiptree, Jr. (Col·laborador), John Varley (Col·laborador), Howard Waldrop (Col·laborador), Andrew Weiner (Col·laborador), Kate Wilhelm (Col·laborador), Connie Willis (Col·laborador), Gene Wolfe (Col·laborador), Roger Zelazny (Col·laborador)

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287576,113 (3.98)14
The very best North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990 Includes Index.
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When I read this, I annotated The Norton Book of [Women's] Science Fiction. Some of the stories I found were not so good. But that was 25 years ago.
  PacoMD | Jun 10, 2020 |
"The House the Blakeneys Built," by Avram Davidson (1965): 8.75
- Ends formulaically and violently, although hasn't been quite prefigured this violent turn in them (save, maybe, their continuing anger at the members who had apparently run away earlier). Nonetheless, an effective take on a common trope, but elastic and menacing enough that it could pass as an antecedent for BOTH generation-ship dystopias like Dark Eden AND straight horror scenarios like The Hills Have Eyes.

"Over the River and Through the Woods," by Clifford Simak (1965): 7.25
- This story: all in the reveal. these surprise visitor kids from the future, sent by parents to protect them from alien threats. Kind of touching in that instance. But strange. Strange how small some of these older stories are. As small, actually, as a story with this exact plot could be. And there's something to that. But what?

"How Beautiful With Banners," by James Blish (1966): 7
- Ugh, just my fear for the worst of New Wave SFF. Marrying the worst aspects of the genre's convoluted prose impulses — confusing verbosity and syntactical obtuseness for profundity or lyricism — with the worst aspects of the NW's new focus on inferiority and transcendent spiritual experience and sexuality. All of that can create quite a potent brew of nothing. I mean, here’s the whole first paragraph—who really wants to continue after this mess: “Feeling as naked as a peppermint soldier in her transparent film wrap, Dr. Ulla Hillstrøm watched a flying cloak swirl away toward the black horizon with a certain consequent irony. Although nearly transparent itself in the distant dim arc-light flame that was Titan's sun, the fluttering creature looked warmer than what she was wearing, for all that reason said it was at the same minus 316° F. as the thin methane it flew in. Despite the virus space-bubble's warranted and eerie efficiency, she found its vigilance—itself probably as nearly alive as the flying cloak was—rather difficult to believe in, let alone to trust.” The story's conclusions tries its best to salvage the proceedings.

"Nine Hundred Grandmothers," by R.A. Lafferty (1966): 8.75
- I sense some of the Lafferty appeal here. The piece: part of crew on alien world (was the crew needed? what did they add? yes, there was the sense that they were cruel, especially in relation to our protagonist, and their presence implied a sort of colonial/capitalist expoloitation/extraction relationship with the einheimische Bevoelkerung, but this all wasn't necessarily factored in to the sfnal thrust of the story, even if a nice peripheral detail to the nature of this world and its hard-hearted people) discovers local inhabitants do not die and he proceeds to find the original, the first one, to get her (grandmother) to tell him 'how it all started'. The Lafferty absurdism (I can' help but think of Vonnegut and the way his mainstream readers perceive him--meaning, his Prosaic Irony traits are all over these roughly 55 -66 ish stories: chicken or the egg? Do V.'s mainstream audiences see him as such an anamoly because they don't understand the strain from which he comes, or is it the other way around?) is what makes this otherwise (until the last two pages) staid mid-century sf story go. We're well outside the realms of Hard SF by even the standards of the time, and that's all well and good because the point is instead to underscore both the inexplicability of the Question as well as the Desire for the Question, and even the markers of moral action. In effect, he's turned common sfnal assumptions/directions on their head: primarily in the sense that it is not the future, but the past that might tell us the most about science, and that these pasts -- even when they're actually, tangibly reachable (!), as with immortal grandmothers -- are themselves inaccessible and impossible to plainly comprehend.
  Ebenmaessiger | Oct 6, 2019 |
This is an odd book; one can tell that as soon as you look at the table of contents. There are not many familiar names or familiar stories here. I think this would be okay if it were marketed as Science Fiction Stories Liked by Le Guin and Attebery, however, it's supposedly The Norton Book of Science Fiction, an overview of an entire genre. The back cover trumpets it as suitable for use in schools, but I think you'd be better off with, say, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One if you want a chunky anthology that gives an overview of the genre. I don't think an overview has to be historically comprehensive, it just has to cover the range of subforms the genre can take, so the subtitle of "North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990" isn't necessarily limiting even if it is arbitrary. But this feels to me like a limited slice of what science fiction can do.

I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone that Le Guin's taste in sf is literary. That's perfectly fine by me, as I like literary sf, and Le Guin is my joint favorite sf writer. What does surprise me from the author of the Hainish cycle is that it's very Earthbound. Very few stories here take place in space. I think that's what makes it feel limited: sf's ability to imagine other worlds and future times is very underrepresented here. There are times this book feels very insular. It's hard to imagine handing this to a literary sf neophyte and having them come away wowed at the possibilities the genre offers.

Random thoughts on random stories:
  • "The Handler" by Damon Knight (1960): This felt very old-school to me, a short story constructed around a sort of Twilight Zone-y concept of a man who operates a human suit. But it's more than just a twist, it tells us something about ourselves in that best sfnal way, so I ended up liking it a lot despite the fact there's not a whole lot to it. (Kind of an odd choice to begin the collection, though, but I guess that's chronological order for you.)
  • "High Weir" by Samuel R. Delany (1968): I really enjoyed this, a tale of explorers on Mars where an encounter with an ancient, dead civilizations ends up unsettling the minds of one of the explorers. I am always meaning to read some Delany.
  • "Day Million" by Frederick Pohl (1969): This is one of the few stories (I think just four?) in the book that I'd read before (in this case, in Ascent of Wonder, a collection it definitely did not belong in). I enjoyed it there and enjoyed it here, a very weird story of romance.
  • "The Women Men Don't See" by James Tiptree, Jr. (1973): Justly a classic. My second time reading it, and I still quite enjoyed it. Cleverly written from the perspective of a male protagonist where you have to read against what he says to sympathize with the female characters.
  • "Schrödinger's Plague" by Greg Bear (1982): A sort of goofy sf thought experiment about a disease that may or may not exist, but clever enough and well told enough (it's a found documents story) to get away with it.
  • "Snow" by John Crowley (1985): A man accesses the life experiences of his dead wife, which had been recorded completely. There's a lot of stories here about people flitting into the lives of the dead, I think, actually, but this is one of the better ones. They didn't exactly love each other, which makes it more poignant.
  • "The Brains of Rats" by Michael Blumlein (1986): This was a dark, disturbing story, of a self-hating male feminist scientist. I wouldn't say I loved it, but I did think it was executed with great skill.
  • "We See Things Differently" by Bruce Sterling (1989): In a future where America is no longer a dominant world power, a Muslim Egyptian journalist interviews a popular rock star. This did absolutely nothing for me, and I'm not sure what the point was, even with the twist at the end.
  • "Half-Life" by Paul Preuss (1989): This is perhaps a typical weak story in some ways, one I wanted to like but couldn't never quite unlock. Something something Marie Curie, but I'd be damned if I could tell you what, and I think how the story is told gets in the way of whatever effect the writer was trying to achieve.
  • "And the Angels Sing" by Kate Wilhelm (1990): Perhaps unfairly, you could say this was like a lot of stories in the volume: something fantastic enters into the lives of humdrum people. That said, I did quite enjoy it, as Wilhelm draws character sharply and has a knack for the uncanny and the weird. A reporter who pushes everyone away suddenly finds an alien and has to figure out what to do, along with a photographer who doesn't like him very much.
There were plenty others I liked, too: "When I Was Miss Dow" by Sonya Dorman Hess, "Stable Strategies for Middle Management" by Eileen Gunn, "(Learning About) Machine Sex" by Candas Jane Dorsey, "Tauf Alef" by Phyllis Gotlieb, "Invaders" by John Kessel, and "Schwarzschild Radius" by Connie Willis. This all gives a disproportionately positive impression, though, because there are a lot of stories I just didn't even mention here, because I just couldn't latch onto them, not even enough to tell you what I don't like about them. Skipping back through the book to pick out the ones I listed above, I found there were so many I just didn't remember. There are some sixty-seven stories in the book, so even thirty standouts wouldn't be a very good rate. (The book took me seven months to read; I read a story over lunch at work one to five times most weeks.)

So, it's definitely got some interesting stuff going on, and there are stories I would revisit, but on the whole, there are definitely better entries into the genre of Honking Big SF Anthologies than this one.
  Stevil2001 | Mar 12, 2019 |
Wide variety of speculative short stories, arranged by date of publication and including all the heavy hitters: Sturgeon, Pohl, Fritz Leiber, Paul Anderson, Zenna Henderson, James Tiptree Jr., Gene Wolfe, Joanna Russ, Harlan Ellison, Philip K. Dick, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Greg Bear, Octavia Butler, Connie Willis, Margaret Atwood. Missing: Robert Heinlein and Neil Gaiman (maybe Neil was too young). A book to dip into again and again. Introduction by Ursula. ( )
  deckla | Oct 28, 2018 |
This is a decent anthology that demonstrates Ursula Le Guin's preferences for academic studies of SF. I see that BlueTysonSS has put together a sort of story-by-story score-card, so I thought I would just add the authors that I would have given priority but that are not represented. I call it

The Missing:

Brian Aldiss
Kingsley Amis
Isaac Asimov (Isaac Asimov!? I tell you, there is no excuse for this omission!!)
J. G. Ballard (His yarn 'The Subliminal Man' used to be one of the two most anthologized short stories; the other being Isaac Asimov's 'Nightfall'....)
Alfred Bester (Alfred Bester?!?! Okay, but he is well represented in Babylon 5, as chief Psi Cop in Psi Corps).
Eando Binder
Ray Bradbury
Frederic Brown
L. Sprague De Camp
Thomas Disch (I understand that she offered to publish one of his, but he refused - see 'The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of,' p. 131, bottom.)
Jack Finney
Harry Harrison
Robert Heinlein
James P. Hogan
Stanislaw Lem
George R. R. Martin
Andre Norton
Rebecca Ore
Eric Frank Russell
John Sladek
Sherri S. Tepper
Joan Vinge
Walter Jon Williams
William Tenn

Admittedly, Le Guin (or someone) decided that the start-year for the anthology was to be 1960, and it was to be an American anthology. This really sort of leaves half of the entire genre out in the cold. Still, I give it: ( )
  Farree | Aug 18, 2015 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Le Guin, Ursula K.Editorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Attebery, BrianEditorautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Anderson, PoulCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Arnason, EleanorCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Atwood, MargaretCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bear, GregCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Benford, GregoryCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bishop, MichaelCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Blish, JamesCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Blumlein, MichaelCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bradley, Marion ZimmerCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bryant, EdwardCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bunch, David R.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Butler, OctaviaCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Cadigan, PatCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Card, Orson ScottCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Coney, Michael G.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Crowley, JohnCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Davidson, AvramCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Delany, Samuel R.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Dick, Philip K.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Dorsey, Candas JaneCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Elgin, Suzette HadenCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Ellison, HarlanCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Emshwiller, CarolCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Fowler, Karen JoyConsultantautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Gibson, WilliamCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Glancy, DianeCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Gloss, MollyCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Goldstein, LisaCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Gotlieb, PhyllisCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Gunn, EileenCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Haldeman, JoeCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Henderson, ZennaCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Hess, Sonya DormanCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Kelly, James PatrickCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Kessel, JohnCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Knight, DamonCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Kress, NancyCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Lafferty, R. A.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Leiber, FritzCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
MacLean, KatherineCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Malzberg, Barry N.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
McIntyre, Vonda N.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Murphy, PatCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Pohl, FrederikCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Preuss, PaulCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Resnick, MikeCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Robinson, Kim StanleyCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Russ, JoannaCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Sargent, PamelaCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Schmitz, James H.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Sheckley, RobertCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Shiner, LewisCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Silverberg, RobertCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Simak, Clifford D.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Smith, CordwainerCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Sterling, BruceCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Sturgeon, TheodoreCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Swanwick, MichaelCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Tiptree, James, Jr.Col·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Varley, JohnCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Waldrop, HowardCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Weiner, AndrewCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Wilhelm, KateCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Willis, ConnieCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Wolfe, GeneCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Zelazny, RogerCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat


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The very best North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990 Includes Index.

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