Friday, June 24, 2011

FFB: NEW WORLDS OF FANTASY (1967) and its sequels (1970, 1971), edited by Terry Carr

The first New Worlds of Fantasy was one of the first anthologies Terry Carr would edit on his own, having already become the junior editorial partner for fantastic literature (including gothics and, soon, the significant Ace Specials line) at Ace Books and been paired with boss Donald Wollheim on the World's Best Science Fiction annual; looking back at them now, I'd failed to realize when reading them in the late '70s how much they attempted at least a reasonably focused sampling of the current fantasy fiction, particularly of the kind that has since been tagged as "urban" or contemporary fantasy, which seemed to be flourishing alongside the new emphasis on literary ambition in science fiction in the latter '60s and early '70s. Every volume features a story by Carr himself, which isn't simply egomania, as he was a brilliant and unprolific fantasist, and usually in this mode...his one collection of short fiction missed essentially only one major short work, "Virra," that would be collected in a special convention anthology a few years later. Jorge Luis Borges is in each volume, as are R. A. Lafferty and Avram Davidson (though Davidson is not represented, I'd suggest, by the best possible selections, even stressing their contemporary status), and there's no one in the books who is clearly, utterly out of place, and several you'd be hard-pressed to find too many other places, at least in anthologies of fiction, such as the fannish writer Britt Schweitzer or chess humorist Victor Contoski...I've yet to seek out anything else by Alfred Gillespie, and I suspect that Carr read the Leonid Andreyev in its then-recent Magazine of Horror reprint...happily, there's been at least a little more translated from him. I think Carr might've been the first to reprint Peter Beagle in a fantasy-tagged context, to the benefit of all. And the second volume particularly featured new fiction...even if it's very strange that it took until the third volume for Carr to collect a Fritz Leiber story.

A fine trio of books, and indicative of how Carr would continue his valuable, too short career as an editor, and his too sparse career as a writer of fiction.

from the Contento indices:
New Worlds of Fantasy ed. Terry Carr (Ace A-12, 1967, 75¢, 253pp, pb); In England as Step Outside Your Mind (Dobson 1969).

8 · Introduction · Terry Carr · in
11 · Divine Madness · Roger Zelazny · ss Magazine of Horror Sum ’66
18 · Break the Door of Hell [Traveler in Black] · John Brunner · nv Impulse Apr ’66
52 · The Immortal · Jorge Luís Borges · ss Labyrinths, New Directions, 1962
66 · Narrow Valley · R. A. Lafferty · ss F&SF Sep ’66
80 · Comet Wine · Ray Russell · nv Playboy Mar ’67
97 · The Other · Katherine MacLean · ss New Worlds Jul ’66
101 · A Red Heart and Blue Roses · Mildred Clingerman · ss A Cupful of Space, Ballantine, 1961
118 · Stanley Toothbrush [as by Carl Brandon] · Terry Carr · ss F&SF Jul ’62
133 · The Squirrel Cage · Thomas M. Disch · ss New Worlds Oct ’66
147 · Come Lady Death · Peter S. Beagle · ss Atlantic Monthly Sep ’63
164 · Nackles [as by Curt Clark] · Donald Westlake· ss F&SF Jan ’64
172 · The Lost Leonardo · J. G. Ballard · ss F&SF Mar ’64
190 · Timothy [Anita] · Keith Roberts · ss sf Impulse Sep ’66
203 · Basilisk · Avram Davidson · nv *
228 · The Evil Eye · Alfred Gillespie · nv The Saturday Evening Post Jan 15 ’66

New Worlds of Fantasy No. 2 ed. Terry Carr (Ace 57271, 1970, 75¢, 254pp, pb)

9 · Introduction · Terry Carr · in
13 · The Petrified World · Robert Sheckley · ss If Feb ’68
23 · The Scarlet Lady [as by Alistair Bevan] · Keith Roberts · nv Impulse Aug ’66
63 · They Loved Me in Utica · Avram Davidson · ss *
67 · The Library of Babel [1941] · Jorge Luís Borges · ss Ficciones, Weidenfeld Nicolson, 1962
76 · The Ship of Disaster · Barrington J. Bayley · ss New Worlds Jun ’65
93 · Window Dressing · Joanna Russ · ss *
100 · By the Falls · Harry Harrison · ss If Jan ’70
108 · The Night of the Nickel Beer · Kris Neville · ss Escapade Dec ’67
118 · A Quiet Kind of Madness · David Redd · nv F&SF May ’68
148 · A Museum Piece · Roger Zelazny · ss Fantastic Jun ’63
158 · The Old Man of the Mountains · Terry Carr · ss F&SF Apr ’63
168 · En Passant · Britt Schweitzer · ss Habakkuk Dec ’60
175 · Backward, Turn Backward · Wilmar H. Shiras · nv *
196 · His Own Kind · Thomas M. Disch · ss *
206 · Perchance to Dream · Katherine MacLean · vi *
209 · Lazarus · Leonid Andreyev · ss, 1906; Weird Tales Mar ’27
229 · The Ugly Sea · R. A. Lafferty · ss The Literary Review Fll ’60
243 · The Movie People · Robert Bloch · ss F&SF Oct ’69

New Worlds of Fantasy No. 3 ed. Terry Carr (Ace 57272, 1971, 75¢, 253pp, pb)

9 · Introduction · Terry Carr · in
11 · Farrell and Lila the Werewolf [Sam Farrell] · Peter S. Beagle · nv guabi #1 ’69
39 · Adam Had Three Brothers · R. A. Lafferty · ss New Mexico Quarterly Review Fll ’60
53 · Big Sam · Avram Davidson · ss Alchemy & Academe, ed. Anne McCaffrey, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970
61 · Longtooth · Edgar Pangborn · nv F&SF Jan ’70
107 · The Inner Circles · Fritz Leiber · ss F&SF Oct ’67
125 · Von Goom’s Gambit · Victor Contoski · ss Chess Review Apr ’66; F&SF Dec ’66
133 · Through a Glass—Darkly · Zenna Henderson · nv F&SF Oct ’70
165 · The Stainless Steel Leech [as by Harrison Denmark] · Roger Zelazny · ss Amazing Apr ’63
173 · Sleeping Beauty · Terry Carr · ss F&SF May ’67
187 · The Plot Is the Thing · Robert Bloch · ss F&SF Jul ’66
197 · Funes the Memorious [1941] · Jorge Luís Borges · ss Ficciones, Weidenfeld Nicolson, 1962
207 · Say Goodbye to the Wind [Vermillion Sands] · J. G. Ballard · ss Fantastic Aug ’70
227 · A Message from Charity · William M. Lee · ss F&SF Nov ’67

For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog (nee Nase, though once that would've been Neis in some circumstances...see the accompanying plate of plate)


Anonymous said...

I never did buy any "best of" collections, whether SF or Fantasy (or other), they always seemed both too limiting and at the same time too lacking in my at-the-time favorites, whatever time and favorites those were.

Of the stories here, I probably read about a third of them, but my memory for ss titles isn't always that great. The only story here that I remember, and remember liking, is "Basilisk" by Davidson

Todd Mason said...

Well, as you can see by the staggered dates (both in the contents and in the publication of the volumes themselves), this wasn't an annual best-of per se, just something trying to capture the Zeitgeist while not ignoring the roots of that kind of fantasy. "Basilisk" and "Big Sam" are solid examples of what Davidson could do..."Utica" less so...but I think better choices could've been made, at least in the third case.

You'd probably like these volumes as a whole more than you suspect.

And I probably should include a note that Carr was attempting to feature only fiction which hadn't been collected in mass-market paperback form...a somewhat less fine distinction at the time than it is now...

George said...

I bought anything with Terry Carr's name on it. Loved these volumes with the evocative covers! This just goes to show what a gifted editor can do on a shoe-string budget.

Todd Mason said...

You know, I wonder if they would've done better with subtler, less vaguely sfnal covers...but that was never Ace's way, except on the Specials.

I imagine that Carr's budget wasn't Too Low, at least compared to most other media publishing short fantasy fiction in those years...F&SF paying about 3c/word, FANTASTIC a penny, MAGAZINE OF HORROR even less, WORLDS OF FANTASY and a few other stragglers similar amounts when they were around to pay for anything. And this for the originals...much less the kind of money most folks would take for a reprint of their stories, even the Borges agents.

Todd Mason said...

Well, #2's is a pretty classic fantasy/horror image, just a bit, shall we put it, showily so.

Yvette said...

I'm not a big short story reader. Though I do admit reading short stories by a few certain mystery writers. None of them science fiction authors.

Don't think I can manage an anthology of sci-fi. But I do still like taking a look at what you're up to, Todd.

The covers made me pause...! :)

Todd Mason said...

Ah, well. These aren't sf stories (a few are borderline), but fantasies. I suspect if you gave it a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised...particularly given your enjoyment of fantasticated films.

Todd Mason said...

You might also be surprised how many crime-fiction writers are also fantastic-fiction writers, and vice verse. Very, very high overlap.

Yvette said...

It's such a fine line to draw between fantasy and science fiction.

I might say that all science fiction is fantasy but not all fantasy is science fiction.

How's that sound?

Todd Mason said...

Harry Harrison has done that, and some others as well. The distinction that many would counter-argue is that sf is all or at least meant to be possible, dealing within an understanding of the universe as it is or might be understood to be in consensus reality, while fantasy by definition excludes a universe that exists solely by the rules of consensus reality, and either adds or substitutes other rules. Things get hazy around every one of these edges, and the term "science fantasy" has often been employed to refer to work that mingles aspects of both as they've developed, and also to cover both and related fields, much as many people might use the terms "fantastic fiction" or "speculative fiction" (among others, and they might also have other definitions for these!) today.

Say, some of Leigh Brackett's or Jack Vance's or Gene Wolfe's fiction, which frequently involves sophisticated technology and magic simultaneously (STAR WARS, for which Brackett wrote the early versions of the least bad film's script, being a rather dumbed down example of the same sort of thing), is what a lot of people mean by "science fantasy" a lot of the time.