Monday, April 6, 2015

supplement to the context-setting for WHO KILLED SCIENCE FICTION?--short sf in the 1950s.

Among the anthologies that have mined the increasing post-WW2 sophistication in sf and fantasy magazines (and related media the magazine writers would publish with), one of the most impressive series has been the Great SF Stories: [year] retro-annuals Isaac Asimov and M. H. Greenberg edited (with input from Barry Malzberg and others) beginning in the latest 1970s...which give a good sense of how much good work was being spread to a wide variety of magazines and original anthologies over the decade--contemporary Year's Best annuals from the 1950s follow, and another latest-1970s retro-anthology, with some overlap between the various volumes, but this rather lengthy data-gather does give some sense of the ferment of the decade:

Indices courtesy the Locus Indices; "CNB" is Locus cofounder/editor Charles N. Brown):


Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 11 (1949) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-87997-918-6, Mar ’84 [Feb ’84], $3.50, 317pp, pb) Anthology of 15 stories from 1949 with notes Asimov. This series offers an excellent historical survey of the sf field. Recommended. (CNB)



Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 12 (1950) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-87997-953-4, Sep ’84 [Aug ’84], $3.50, 319pp, pb) Anthology of 18 classic stories.
  • 9 · 1950 Introduction · Martin H. Greenberg · in
  • 13 · Not with a Bang · Damon Knight · ss F&SF Win/Spr ’50
  • 19 · Spectator Sport · John D. MacDonald · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb ’50
  • 26 · There Will Come Soft Rains · Ray Bradbury · ss Colliers May 6 ’50
  • 34 · Dear Devil · Eric Frank Russell · nv Other Worlds Science Stories May ’50
  • 70 · Scanners Live in Vain · Cordwainer Smith · nv Fantasy Book #6 ’50
  • 105 · Born of Man and Woman · Richard Matheson · vi F&SF Sum ’50
  • 109 · The Little Black Bag · C. M. Kornbluth · nv Astounding Jul ’50
  • 138 · Enchanted Village · A. E. van Vogt · ss Other Worlds Science Stories Jul ’50
  • 154 · Oddy and Id [“The Devil’s Invention”] · Alfred Bester · ss Astounding Aug ’50
  • 170 · The Sack · William Morrison · ss Astounding Sep ’50
  • 190 · The Silly Season · C. M. Kornbluth · ss F&SF Fll ’50
  • 205 · Misbegotten Missionary · Isaac Asimov · ss Galaxy Nov ’50
  • 221 · To Serve Man · Damon Knight · ss Galaxy Nov ’50
  • 230 · Coming Attraction · Fritz Leiber · ss Galaxy Nov ’50
  • 244 · A Subway Named Mobius · A. J. Deutsch · ss Astounding Dec ’50
  • 260 · Process · A. E. van Vogt · ss F&SF Dec ’50
  • 267 · The Mindworm · C. M. Kornbluth · ss Worlds Beyond Dec ’50
  • 281 · The New Reality · Charles L. Harness · nv Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec ’50
Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 13 (1951) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-058-0, Jul ’85 [Jun ’85], $3.50, 337pp, pb) Anthology of the best of 1951 plus an introduction about the year in the world and in sf. An excellent anthology. The whole series is highly recommended. (CNB)
  • ix · Introduction · Martin H. Greenberg · in
  • 1 · Null-P · William Tenn · ss Worlds Beyond Jan ’51
  • 15 · The Sentinel [“Sentinel of Eternity”] · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Ten Story Fantasy Spr ’51
  • 27 · The Fire Balloons [“‘In This Sign...’”] · Ray Bradbury · ss Imagination Apr ’51
  • 48 · The Marching Morons · C. M. Kornbluth · nv Galaxy Apr ’51
  • 83 · The Weapon · Fredric Brown · ss Astounding Apr ’51
  • 88 · Angel’s Egg · Edgar Pangborn · nv Galaxy Jun ’51
  • 130 · Breeds There a Man...? · Isaac Asimov · nv Astounding Jun ’51
  • 171 · Pictures Don’t Lie · Katherine MacLean · ss Galaxy Aug ’51
  • 193 · Superiority · Arthur C. Clarke · ss F&SF Aug ’51
  • 206 · I’m Scared · Jack Finney · ss Colliers Sep 15 ’51
  • 222 · The Quest for Saint Aquin · Anthony Boucher · ss New Tales of Space and Time, ed. Raymond J. Healy, Holt, 1951; F&SF Jan ’59
  • 244 · Tiger by the Tail · Alan E. Nourse · ss Galaxy Nov ’51
  • 253 · With These Hands · C. M. Kornbluth · nv Galaxy Dec ’51
  • 274 · A Pail of Air · Fritz Leiber · ss Galaxy Dec ’51
  • 291 · Dune Roller · Julian May · nv Astounding Dec ’51

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 14 (1952) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-106-4, Jan ’86 [Dec ’85], $3.50, 352pp, pb) Anthology of stories from 1952. Recommended. (CNB)

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 15 (1953) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-171-4, Dec ’86 [Nov ’86], $3.50, 352pp, pb) Anthology of 17 stories first published in 1953 plus a summary of the year in and out of sf plus remarks on the various writers. Recommended (CNB).
  • 9 · Introduction · Martin H. Greenberg · in
  • 13 · The Big Holiday · Fritz Leiber · ss F&SF Jan ’53
  • 24 · Crucifixus Etiam · Walter M. Miller, Jr. · ss Astounding Feb ’53
  • 48 · Four in One · Damon Knight · nv Galaxy Feb ’53
  • 86 · Saucer of Loneliness · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Galaxy Feb ’53
  • 102 · The Liberation of Earth · William Tenn · ss Future May ’53
  • 123 · Lot [David Jimmon] · Ward Moore · nv F&SF May ’53
  • 155 · The Nine Billion Names of God · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #1, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953
  • 164 · Warm · Robert Sheckley · ss Galaxy Jun ’53
  • 176 · Impostor · Philip K. Dick · ss Astounding Jun ’53
  • 194 · The World Well Lost · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Universe Jun ’53
  • 216 · A Bad Day for Sales · Fritz Leiber · ss Galaxy Jul ’53
  • 224 · Common Time · James Blish · ss Science Fiction Quarterly Aug ’53
  • 250 · Time Is the Traitor · Alfred Bester · nv F&SF Sep ’53
  • 277 · The Wall Around the World · Theodore R. Cogswell · nv Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’53
  • 308 · The Model of a Judge · William Morrison · ss Galaxy Oct ’53
  • 322 · Hall of Mirrors · Fredric Brown · ss Galaxy Dec ’53
  • 331 · It’s a Good Life · Jerome Bixby · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #2, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 16 (1954) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-200-1, May ’87, $3.50, 350pp, pb) Anthology of 17 stories from 1954.
  • 9 · 1954 Introduction · Martin H. Greenberg · in
  • 13 · The Test · Richard Matheson · ss F&SF Nov ’54
  • 34 · Anachron · Damon Knight · ss If Jan ’54
  • 54 · Black Charlie · Gordon R. Dickson · ss Galaxy Apr ’54
  • 72 · Down Among the Dead Men · William Tenn · nv Galaxy Jun ’54
  • 100 · The Hunting Lodge · Randall Garrett · nv Astounding Jul ’54
  • 138 · The Lysenko Maze · Donald A. Wollheim · ss F&SF Jul ’54
  • 151 · Fondly Fahrenheit · Alfred Bester · nv F&SF Aug ’54
  • 174 · The Cold Equations · Tom Godwin · nv Astounding Aug ’54
  • 203 · Letters from Laura · Mildred Clingerman · ss F&SF Oct ’54
  • 211 · Transformer · Chad Oliver · ss F&SF Nov ’54
  • 227 · The Music Master of Babylon · Edgar Pangborn · nv Galaxy Nov ’54
  • 258 · The End of Summer · Algis Budrys · nv Astounding Nov ’54
  • 289 · The Father-Thing · Philip K. Dick · ss F&SF Dec ’54
  • 304 · The Deep Range · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #3, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1954
  • 315 · Balaam · Anthony Boucher · ss 9 Tales of Space and Time, ed. Raymond J. Healey, Holt, 1954
  • 332 · Man of Parts · Horace L. Gold · ss 9 Tales of Space and Time, ed. Raymond J. Healey, Holt, 1954
  • 349 · Answer · Fredric Brown · vi Angels and Spaceships, Dutton, 1954

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 17 (1955) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-256-7, Jan ’88 [Dec ’87], $3.95, 349pp, pb) Anthology of 14 sf stories.
  • 333 · Dreaming Is a Private Thing · Isaac Asimov · ss F&SF Dec ’55

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 18 (1956) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-289-3, Aug ’88 [Jul ’88], $4.50, 366pp, pb) Anthology of 15 sf stories from 1956.
  • 9 · Introduction · Martin H. Greenberg · in
  • 13 · Brightside Crossing · Alan E. Nourse · nv Galaxy Jan ’56
  • 35 · Clerical Error · Mark Clifton · nv Astounding Feb ’56
  • 75 · Silent Brother · Algis Budrys · ss Astounding Feb ’56
  • 96 · The Country of the Kind · Damon Knight · ss F&SF Feb ’56
  • 111 · Exploration Team [Colonial Survey] · Murray Leinster · nv Astounding Mar ’56
  • 161 · Rite of Passage · Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore · nv F&SF May ’56
  • 203 · The Man Who Came Early · Poul Anderson · nv F&SF Jun ’56
  • 230 · A Work of Art [“Art-Work”] · James Blish · nv Science Fiction Stories Jul ’56
  • 248 · Horrer Howce · Margaret St. Clair · ss Galaxy Jul ’56
  • 261 · Compounded Interest · Mack Reynolds · ss F&SF Aug ’56
  • 276 · The Doorstop · Reginald Bretnor · ss Astounding Nov ’56
  • 286 · The Last Question · Isaac Asimov · ss Science Fiction Quarterly Nov ’56
  • 300 · Stranger Station · Damon Knight · nv F&SF Dec ’56
  • 327 · 2066: Election Day · Michael Shaara · ss Astounding Dec ’56
  • 344 · And Now the News... · Theodore Sturgeon · ss F&SF Dec ’56

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 19 (1957) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-326-1, Feb ’89, $4.50, 350pp, pb) Anthology of 15 stories from 1957 plus commentary. This long-running anthology series is an excellent way to look at the sf field year by year. Recommended. (CNB)
  • 9 · Introduction · Martin H. Greenberg · in
  • 15 · Strikebreaker [“Male Strikebreaker”] · Isaac Asimov · ss Science Fiction Stories Jan ’57
  • 33 · Omnilingual · H. Beam Piper · nv Astounding Feb ’57
  • 89 · The Mile-Long Spaceship · Kate Wilhelm · ss Astounding Apr ’57
  • 103 · Call Me Joe · Poul Anderson · nv Astounding Apr ’57
  • 149 · You Know Willie · Theodore R. Cogswell · ss F&SF May ’57
  • 157 · Hunting Machine · Carol Emshwiller · ss Science Fiction Stories May ’57
  • 167 · World of a Thousand Colors · Robert Silverberg · ss Super Science Fiction Jun ’57
  • 187 · Let’s Be Frank · Brian W. Aldiss · ss Science-Fantasy #23 ’57
  • 199 · The Cage · A. Bertram Chandler · ss F&SF Jun ’57
  • 215 · The Education of Tigress McCardle · C. M. Kornbluth · ss Venture Jul ’57
  • 229 · The Tunesmith · Lloyd Biggle, Jr. · nv If Aug ’57
  • 281 · A Loint of Paw · Isaac Asimov · vi F&SF Aug ’57
  • 285 · Game Preserve · Rog Phillips · ss If Oct ’57
  • 305 · Soldier [“Soldier from Tomorrow”] · Harlan Ellison · nv Fantastic Universe Oct ’57
  • 335 · The Last Man Left in the Bar · C. M. Kornbluth · ss Infinity Science Fiction Oct ’57

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 20 (1958) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-405-5, Feb ’90 [Jan ’90], $4.95, 351pp, pb, cover by Robin Hidden) Anthology of 12 stories from 1958 plus commentary. This series is one of the best surveys of the modern sf short story. Recommended (CNB).
  • 9 · Introduction · Martin H. Greenberg · in
  • 13 · The Last of the Deliverers · Poul Anderson · ss F&SF Feb ’58
  • 29 · The Feeling of Power · Isaac Asimov · ss If Feb ’58
  • 41 · Poor Little Warrior! · Brian W. Aldiss · ss F&SF Apr ’58
  • 49 · The Iron Chancellor · Robert Silverberg · nv Galaxy May ’58
  • 77 · The Prize of Peril · Robert Sheckley · ss F&SF May ’58
  • 99 · Or All the Seas with Oysters · Avram Davidson · ss Galaxy May ’58
  • 111 · Two Dooms · C. M. Kornbluth · na Venture Jul ’58
  • 167 · The Big Front Yard · Clifford D. Simak · na Astounding Oct ’58
  • 229 · The Burning of the Brain · Cordwainer Smith · ss If Oct ’58
  • 243 · The Yellow Pill · Rog Phillips · ss Astounding Oct ’58
  • 259 · Unhuman Sacrifice · Katherine MacLean · nv Astounding Nov ’58
  • 297 · The Immortals [Dr. Russell Pearce] · James E. Gunn · nv Star Science Fiction Stories #4, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1958

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 21 (1959) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-428-4, Jun ’90 [May ’90], $4.95, 347pp, pb, cover by Robin Hidden) Anthology of 14 stories from 1959.

...and one sees how relatively restricted the markets for good fiction were by the end of the decade...and even Asimov could find no first-rate short fiction from 1959 in Astounding, which was about to become Analog...Sturgeon's "The Man Who Lost the Sea" was in Foley's Best American Short Stories for its year.

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories #22 (1960) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-88677-465-9, Feb ’91 [Jan ’91], $4.50, 351pp, pb, cover by Angus McKie) Anthology of 11 stories from 1960 plus commentary.

--Meanwhile Everett Bleiler and Ted Ditky, eventually with ever greater input from Earl Kemp, produced the first best-of annual in sf:



    The Best Science-Fiction Stories: 1952 ed. Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty (Fredrick Fell, Aug ’52, $2.95, 284pp, hc)
    In England as The Best Science Fiction Stories: Third Series.
    Best Science Fiction Stories and Novels: 9th Series ed. T. E. Dikty (Advent:Publishers, 1958, hc)
And here's Judith Merril's annual, which from the start promised to offer both sf and fantasy:
    SF:’57: The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy ed. Judith Merril (Gnome Press LCC# 56-8938, 1957, $3.95, 320pp, hc)
    • 9 · The Man Who Liked Lions · John Bernard Daley · ss Infinity Science Fiction Oct 1956
    • 25 · The Cosmic Expense Account · C. M. Kornbluth · nv F&SF Jan 1956, as “The Cosmic Charge Account”
    • 51 · The Far Look · Theodore L. Thomas · nv Astounding Aug 1956
    • 81 · When Grandfather Flew to the Moon · E. L. Malpass · ss The Observer Jan 2 1955, as “Return of the Moon Man” by Samson Darley
    • 88 · The Doorstop · Reginald Bretnor · ss Astounding Nov 1956
    • 98 · Silent Brother · Algis Budrys · ss Astounding Feb 1956
    • 119 · Stranger Station · Damon Knight · nv F&SF Dec 1956
    • 146 · Each an Explorer · Isaac Asimov · ss Future #30 1956
    • 161 · All About “The Thing” · Randall Garrett · pm Science Fiction Stories May 1956, as “Parodies Tossed”
    • 164 · Put Them All Together, They Spell Monster · Ray Russell · ss Playboy Oct 1956
    • 173 · Digging the Weans · Robert Nathan · ss Harper’s Nov 1956
    • 181 · Take a Deep Breath · Roger Thorne · ss Tiger 1956
    • 187 · Grandma’s Lie Soap · Robert Abernathy · ss Fantastic Universe Feb 1956
    • 206 · Compounded Interest · Mack Reynolds · ss F&SF Aug 1956
    • 220 · Prima Belladonna [Vermilion Sands] · J. G. Ballard · ss Science-Fantasy #20 1956
    • 235 · The Other Man · Theodore Sturgeon · na Galaxy Sep 1956
    • 290 · The Damnedest Thing · Garson Kanin · ss Esquire Feb 1956
    • 298 · Anything Box · Zenna Henderson · ss F&SF Oct 1956
    • 313 · The Year’s S-F, Summation and Honorable Mentions · Judith Merril · ms
--and here's Barry Malzberg and Bill Pronzini's 1979 take on some of the then-overlooked work from the 1950s:

4 comments:

Bill Crider said...

A great series. I own all the volumes.

Todd Mason said...

Indeed. It'd be nice if my Apple machine here and Bloodspot would get along better to allow me to paste more data into the post, or clean up how the post looks at the moment...

I was half-expecting a certain catch-phrase from you, Bill...

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

B-loddy Hell Todd - how long did that take you? Thanks chum - just in shock (and awe)

Todd Mason said...

Thank you, Sergio...it took me longer than it should have, but only because Blogger and my Apple machine fought each other (and me) for a while. Meanwhile, I simply abstracted from the LOCUS indices...thus the real work was done by William Contento, Charlies Brown, and their collaborators (and at least in part Phil Stephenson-Payne in hosting the index these days, and possibly Mark Kelly in getting them originally on the web...