Three collections, none definitive, all rewarding.
Title: The Green Flash and Other Stories of Horror, Suspense, and Fantasy
Author: Joan Aiken
Catalog ID: #3235
Publisher: Dell Laurel-Leaf
A View of the Heath • (1971) •
Belle of the Ball • (1969) •
Dead Language Master • (1965) •
Follow My Fancy • (1971) •
Marmalade Wine • (1958) •
Minette • (1971) •
Mrs. Considine • (1969) •
Searching for Summer • (1969) •
Smell • (1969) •
Sonata for Harp and Bicycle • (1958) •
Summer By the Sea • (1971) •
The Dreamers • (1971) •
The Green Flash • (1971) •
The Windshield Weepers • (1971) • (aka The Windscreen Weepers 1969)
(index courtesy ISFDb)
The Best of Margaret St. Clair Margaret St. Clair (Academy Chicago 0-89733-164-8, 1985 [Nov ’85], $4.95, 271pp, pb) Collection of 20 stories plus a new introduction by the author, edited by Martin H. Greenberg.
v · Introduction · in
1 · Idris’ Pig [“The Sacred Martian Pig”] · nv Startling Stories Jul ’49
40 · The Gardener · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct ’49
53 · Child of Void · ss Super Science Stories Nov ’49
70 · Hathor’s Pets · ss Startling Stories Jan ’50
84 · The Pillows · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Jun ’50
98 · The Listening Child · ss F&SF Dec ’50
109 · Brightness Falls from the Air [contest story] · ss F&SF Apr ’51
117 · The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles [as by Idris Seabright] · ss F&SF Oct ’51
122 · The Causes [as by Idris Seabright] · ss F&SF Jun ’52
135 · An Egg a Month from All Over [as by Idris Seabright] · ss F&SF Oct ’52
143 · Prott · ss Galaxy Jan ’53
159 · New Ritual [as by Idris Seabright] · ss F&SF Jan ’53
168 · Brenda · ss Weird Tales Mar ’54
180 · Short in the Chest [as by Idris Seabright] · ss Fantastic Universe Jul ’54
190 · Horrer Howce · ss Galaxy Jul ’56
203 · The Wines of Earth [as by Idris Seabright] · ss F&SF Sep ’57
211 · The Invested Libido · ss Satellite Aug ’58
220 · The Nuse Man [Nuse Man] · ss Galaxy Feb ’60
232 · An Old-Fashioned Bird Christmas · nv Galaxy Dec ’61
255 · Wryneck, Draw Me · ss Chrysalis 8, ed. Roy Torgeson, Doubleday, 1980
(index courtesy the Contento/LOCUS indices)
Thirteen O’Clock and Other Zero Hours C. M. Kornbluth (Dell, 1970, pb); Cecil Corwin stories, edited by James Blish.
· Preface · James Blish · pr
· Thirteen O’Clock [combined version of “Thirteen O’Clock” and “Mr. Packer Goes to Hell”, Stirring Science Stories Feb & Jun ’41, both as by Cecil Corwin; Peter Packer] · nv *
· The Rocket of 1955 · vi Escape Aug ’39
· What Sorghum Says [as by Cecil Corwin] · ss Cosmic Stories May ’41
· Crisis! [as by Cecil Corwin] · ss Science Fiction Quarterly Spr ’42
· The Reversible Revolutions [as by Cecil Corwin] · ss Cosmic Stories Mar ’41
· The City in the Sofa [as by Cecil Corwin] · ss Cosmic Stories Jul ’41
· The Golden Road [as by Cecil Corwin] · nv Stirring Science Stories Mar ’42
· MS. Found in a Chinese Fortune Cookie · ss F&SF Jul ’57
(from the Contento indices)
Three books that give a sense, if not the fullest sense, of what their authors were capable of. The Green Flash is a decent cross-section of the short fiction of Joan Aiken, with an eye to her younger audience who had found her through The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and its companions...but not incompatible with the interests of her gothic readers, if less so perhaps with her more straightforward romance-fiction readers (and surely welcomed by those who'd known of her short fiction over the previous decades). "The Green Flash" itself is a charming bit of misdirection, and it introduced me to the notion of the rarely-seen atmospheric prism effect of a green flash at sundown. "Marmalade Wine" is perhaps the story which sruck me hardest at the time, neat and vicious, while "The Windscreen Weepers" manages to overcome its weak title conceit (and apparently was a particular favorite of either Aiken or her book editors, as most of these stories were drawn from an earlier, more comprehensive collection that took its title from this one).
I'd been looking around (for a post last year) for a good image of the handsome cover Ace put to her The Crystal Crow, and managed to finally find it...though not the the more "edgy" cover that at least onne other of her gothics for them sported. Meanwhile, her other work in this mode seems also likely to be more interesting than the usual run of the gothic lines of the times, including her Heyeresque sequelization of Austen:
Margaret St. Clair has been only very inadequately represented in collections so far, despite a decent selection in the Greenberg compilation, which nonetheless slights her fantasy and horror work in favor of her sf, I'd say...also true of her other two, earlier collections.
I've had the great pleasure to read some of the stories I hadn't realized were uncollected (at least in a volume of her work), particulary from St. Clair's run around the turn of the 1950s in Weird Tales, while for reasons I'm not yet clear on, she seemingly preferred to publish as "Idris Seabright" in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the same years.
NESFA Press career-encompassing collection. Otherwise, one might need to buy this Famous Fantastic Mysteries issue to read the only other story in it aside from the cover novella, St. Clair's "The Counter-Charm"...or to seek out this fine issue of F&SF for, among others, St. Clair's "Sawdust" (not that some collectors wouldn't appreciate the mammary attention of artists Lawrence and Freas):
Happily, C. M. Kornbuth, at least, has already had a NESFA Press retrospective, more than a quarter-century after Dell published this interesting project, interesting in part because Dell felt it worth publishing a collection focusing on the Very early work of a writer, still in his teens when seeing most of these published, who had never quite gained his commercial due (and a man who loved to publish under pseudonyms of various sorts, in part because most of the stories collected here were among several by Kornbluth under various names filling each of the issues of his friend Donald Wollheim's nearly unbudgeted pulp magazines Cosmic Stories and Stirring Science Stories)--even if Dell gave it as little support as possible. James Blish takes some arguable editorial liberties here, in combining the first two stories, and refuses to include a fragment, published much later than most of these, under the Corwin name but apparently without Kornbluth's permission. "Thirteen O'Clock" is famously the young Kornbluth at his most antic, "The Rocket of 1955" first displaying his bitter black humor and trenchancy (to come to full flower in such stories as "The Marching Morons," emulated, to be kind, in a dumbed-down fashion without credit by Mike Judge's film Idiocracy), and has become one of the classic vignettes in science fiction, after extensive reprinting from the little magazine or fanzine (depending on one's point of view) that first published it--Stirring Science Stories was the first to reprint it, in this issue:
The existence of the NESFA His Share of Glory volume almost makes this volume retroactively redundant, but the omnibus doesn't include Blish's notes nor the version of the conjoined stories presented here.
As with the other books and other work under discussion here, eminently worth seeking out.
For more Forgotten Books this week, please see Patti Abbott's blog.