Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century

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9780441008643: Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century
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Representing the finest science fiction tales of the past century, this imaginative anthology includes both classic and contemporary works by Anne McCaffrey, Octavia E. Butler, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, Frederik Pohl, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and other masters of the science fiction genre.

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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. His latest novel is Shadow of the Hegemon. 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.

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