Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the 20th Century

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9780441011339: Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the 20th Century

An overview of the best science fiction short stories of the 20th century as selected and evaluated by critically-acclaimed author Orson Scott Card.

Featuring stories from the genre's greatest authors:

Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, George Alec Effinger, Brian W. Aldiss, William Gibson & Michael Swanwick, Theodore Sturgeon, Larry Niven, Robert Silverberg, Harry Turtledove, James Blish, George R. R. Martin, James Patrick Kelly, Karen Joy Fowler, Lloyd Biggle, Jr., Terry Bisson, Poul Anderson, John Kessel, R.A. Lafferty, C.J. Cherryh, Lisa Goldstein, and Edmond Hamilton

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Review:

Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century may not include every reader's choices for the top science fiction of the 20th century, but it lives up to its title. Editor Orson Scott Card has assembled 27 standout stories by the biggest names and best writers in the genre. Not surprisingly, most of these stories have been anthologized or collected elsewhere, and some (like Arthur C. Clarke's "Nine Billion Names of God," Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," and Robert A. Heinlein's "All You Zombies--") have been reprinted innumerable times. In addition, Card has previously placed some of these selections in his retrospective 1980s anthology Future on Ice.

While some stories in Masterpieces lack fine prose and well-rounded characters, they are solid and engrossing entertainments. Other selections combine literary and science fiction virtues to produce a superior blend, and some of these stories--"Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson, "Snow" by John Crowley, "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison, "Face Value" by Karen Joy Fowler, "Tourists" by Lisa Goldstein, and "The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin--are art.

Masterpieces isn't an anthology for the well-read fan. However, it is a great book for the new or intermediate science fiction reader. --Cynthia Ward

About the Author:

Orson Scott Card is a winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for short fiction and novels. His novel, Ender’s Game, is considered one of the classics of the genre and is currently being developed for film. Along with subsequent novels in the Ender’s series (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, and Ender’s Shadow), Card is also the author of the contemporary novels Lost Boys, Treasure Box, Homebody; The Homecoming Saga, including The Memory of Earth, The Call of Earth, The Ships of Earth, Earthfall, and Earthborn; an alternate history novel, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus; and the American fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker: Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman, and Heartfire.

A respected playwright, Card has seen a dozen of his plays produced in regional theater. He has also taught writing courses at several universities and workshops, including, most recently, a novel-writing course at Pepperdine.

Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife and five children.

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