Discussion:
Great Short Novels Of Science Fiction (1970 - ed. Silverberg)
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t***@gmail.com
2020-06-05 15:42:18 UTC
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This is a collection of 6 short novels[1] edited by Robert Silverberg
and issued in 1970 by Ballantine (95 cents!). Here’s the isfdb entry for it:
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?34758

The 6 short novels included in the collection are
Giant Killer - A.Bertram Chandler (1945)
Two Dooms - C.M. Kornbluth (1958)
Telek - Jack Vance (1952)
Second Game - Charles V.De Vet & Katherine MacLean (1958)
Beyond Bedlam - Wyman Guin (1951)
The Graveyard Heart - Roger Zelazny (1964) [2]

I had read the Kornbluth & Zelazny before, but since I had zero
memory of the Kornbluth, this was basically 5 new stories for me.

There’s a one-page Intro to the collection by Silverberg that mentions
novellas are an awkward length to get published, especially getting
re-printed after their original magazine appearances. And he wanted
to help rectify that with this volume.

The Chandler & Kornbluth were good, especially the Kornbluth. I really
enjoy Vance in general, so finding a new-to-me story was cool. I enjoyed
the De Vet/MacLean enough that I will seek out the two stories that followed
up on this one. For my tastes, the only clunker here was the one by Guin.
And the Zelazny is a well-known one that I remembered well anyhow.
It’s good - not amongst my favorites of his, but that’s a very high bar for me.

Each story was introduced by just 2-3 sentences by Silverberg, mostly
about the authors, not the story themselves.

All in all, a fun collection
- Tony
[1] Silverberg also calls them novellas in his one-page Intro to the volume.

[2] I was surprised to see the 1964 date on the Zelazny, as that story
seems much…newer/fresher than that to me.
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-06-05 16:05:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by t***@gmail.com
This is a collection of 6 short novels[1] edited by Robert Silverberg
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?34758
The 6 short novels included in the collection are
Giant Killer - A.Bertram Chandler (1945)
Two Dooms - C.M. Kornbluth (1958)
Telek - Jack Vance (1952)
Second Game - Charles V.De Vet & Katherine MacLean (1958)
Beyond Bedlam - Wyman Guin (1951)
The Graveyard Heart - Roger Zelazny (1964) [2]
I had read the Kornbluth & Zelazny before, but since I had zero
memory of the Kornbluth, this was basically 5 new stories for me.
There’s a one-page Intro to the collection by Silverberg that mentions
novellas are an awkward length to get published, especially getting
re-printed after their original magazine appearances. And he wanted
to help rectify that with this volume.
The Chandler & Kornbluth were good, especially the Kornbluth. I really
enjoy Vance in general, so finding a new-to-me story was cool. I enjoyed
the De Vet/MacLean enough that I will seek out the two stories that followed
up on this one. For my tastes, the only clunker here was the one by Guin.
There was eventually a novel of the De Vet/MacLean that I recall has having
additional material (that was not up to the initial standard).

ISFDB says:

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?30491
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Don
2020-06-05 18:42:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by t***@gmail.com
This is a collection of 6 short novels[1] edited by Robert Silverberg
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?34758
The 6 short novels included in the collection are
Giant Killer - A.Bertram Chandler (1945)
Two Dooms - C.M. Kornbluth (1958)
Telek - Jack Vance (1952)
Second Game - Charles V.De Vet & Katherine MacLean (1958)
Beyond Bedlam - Wyman Guin (1951)
The Graveyard Heart - Roger Zelazny (1964) [2]
I had read the Kornbluth & Zelazny before, but since I had zero
memory of the Kornbluth, this was basically 5 new stories for me.
There’s a one-page Intro to the collection by Silverberg that mentions
novellas are an awkward length to get published, especially getting
re-printed after their original magazine appearances. And he wanted
to help rectify that with this volume.
The Chandler & Kornbluth were good, especially the Kornbluth. I really
enjoy Vance in general, so finding a new-to-me story was cool. I enjoyed
the De Vet/MacLean enough that I will seek out the two stories that followed
up on this one. For my tastes, the only clunker here was the one by Guin.
And the Zelazny is a well-known one that I remembered well anyhow.
It’s good - not amongst my favorites of his, but that’s a very high bar for me.
Each story was introduced by just 2-3 sentences by Silverberg, mostly
about the authors, not the story themselves.
All in all, a fun collection
- Tony
[1] Silverberg also calls them novellas in his one-page Intro to the volume.
[2] I was surprised to see the 1964 date on the Zelazny, as that story
seems much…newer/fresher than that to me.
Here's my review of the Kornbluth:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kornbluth, C M "Two Dooms" Venture Jul 1958: ?-?. Print. 201600617.

Keywords: althist, desert, drug, losalamos, timetravel

This story originally appears in the July 1958 issue of Venture. My own
source is _His Share of Glory, The Complete Short Science Fiction of C M
Kornbluth_. [1]

This alternate history story changes the atomic bombings of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, as does Robinson's "The Lucky Strike." But Kornbluth's
moral is the polar opposite of Robinson's.

The year is 1944 and a man named Royland is a scientist at Los Alamos.
Qualms about the morality of the bomb make him reluctant to report a
breakthrough to his superiors. Instead Royland heads off to clear his
thoughts at the hut of a Hopi named Nahataspe.

Eventually they talk about break-the-sky medicine. Nahataspe echoes
Carlos Castaneda's eponymous Don Juan and says that westerners can only
"see" through clouded eyes.

"You people have your sight cleared just a little by the God
Food, so it's safe for you."
Royland thought he knew what the old man was talking about.
It was one of Nahataspe's biggest jokes that Hopi children
understood Einstein's relativity as soon as they could talk -
and there was some truth to it. The Hopi language - and thought -
had no tenses and therefore no concept of time-as-an-entity; it
had nothing like the Indo-European speech's subjects and
predicates, and therefore no built-in metaphysics of cause and
effect. In the Hopi language and mind all things were frozen
together forever into one great relationship, a crystalline
structure of space-time events that simply were because they
were.

Such Hopi language and thought brings to mind Dune's Kwisatz Haderach.
Royland ingests the God Food (psilocybin) that Nahataspe offers. Only
too late does Nahataspe realize that Royland "sees" as well as any
Hopi.

Royland's psilocybin enhanced "sight" catapults him a century and a half
into the future. A future where he finds himself in an America that is
occupied by Germany and Japan.

Note.

1. ISBN-10: 0915368609
------------------------------------------------------------------------

An alt-hist America occupied by Germany and Japan brings to mind
_The Man in the High Castle_ (PKD).

Danke,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Jack Bohn
2020-06-06 13:59:09 UTC
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Post by t***@gmail.com
There’s a one-page Intro to the collection by Silverberg that mentions
novellas are an awkward length to get published, especially getting
re-printed after their original magazine appearances. And he wanted
to help rectify that with this volume.
And he should know. IsfDb shows this among ten anthologies he's edited up to this point. (And he may be soliciting submissions for _New Dimensions_, too.)

Novellas are about 1/3 the length of the sub-200-page books of the time, right? Novellettes are shorter than that? One can see how that would unbalance an anthology. (For a single-author collection, less of a problem; essentially sell the novella as a book with filler shorter stories, or write two others around it and make a fix-up novel.) Is the answer bigger books, like this one? Did the rise of the paperback doorstop in the '90s solve this problem?

Actually, the pulp magazines weren't many if any pages more than the genre books -- maybe wider for more words per page? It seems like a bottleneck in printing would be only one novella per issue.
--
-Jack
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