Holt Anthology of Science Fiction
ISBN: 0030529476 Global Overview for this book
2 journalers for this copy...
It was fun reading the intro where they define the science fiction genre. Each story started with a vocabulary list of words included in the story. Most of the lists hinted at the tone the story would include, as in the list for Jack Williamson's The Metal Man where we have unheeding, folly, futility, desolate, plummet, etc. for a story that exemplifies these words. Then each story ended with a list of questions/assignments for the students to think about. I especially enjoyed the essay questions. Some such as question #4 on The High Test by Frederik Pohl asks students to look at the story in a way most would never think to look! Very fun! Each story concluded with a short biography of the author and a short list of suggested titles of works to read by that author.
Some of my favorite stories from this anthology:
The Homesick Chicken by Edward D. Hoch Such a ridiculous story that explores the old joke: 'Why did the chicken cross the road?' A great one to start with that I'm sure kept students reading on.
They're Made Out of Meat by Terry Bisson This one seemed ridiculous at first but by the end (or the questions if it takes a bit longer to sink in) makes you think differently about the story and to ponder a bit.
Desertion by Clifford Simak where a man must make the decision of whether to continue sentencing others to death for the advancement of humankind or to stop the project and forget colonizing Jupiter.
I also enjoyed Ursula K. Le Guin's Direction of the Road where you get to witness the world from an entirely different perspective. Isn't that what Le Guin does best?
And The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke which the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey were based upon.
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Starting book for the To the Stars: A Science Fiction Bookbox.
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Later: I got a kick out of the study-aid bits - though I'm glad I didn't have to do coursework on my favorite SF stories when I was in school. This is a good anthology, with or without the teaching bits, and I enjoyed some old favorites as well as a few new-to-me ones. The tales I liked best include:
Terry Bisson's "They're Made Out of Meat," a darkly humorous look at us from a very different viewpoint.
Katharine Maclean's "Contagion," one of the stories I hadn't read before, with a fascinating twist on the concept of mutation-in-order-to-colonize-a-strange-planet. Some aspects of the story were dated, but I still liked it.
"All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury is one of the most memorable tales from my youth. Its claim to being SF has to do with the setting - Venus, a world where it always rains save for one break of sunshine every seven years. [Lots of early SF depicted Venus as a lush, wet, jungle planet; once science caught up, that seems to have gone away. But it's a good story anyway.] The story itself centers on the cruelty of children to one who's different, and here it results in an act that would ordinarily be not that bad, but under the circumstances is heartbreaking.
"Desertion" by Clifford J. Simak features body-transformation as a technique to enable humans to survive in deadly environments - here, the planet Jupiter. I admit that I guessed the reason why the four previous experimental subjects had not returned once they'd been changed into Jovian lifeforms, but I still got a kick out of the main character's realization - not to mention his dog's! Though one can debate whether there's a hypnotic aspect to the planet that makes the conclusion less benign than it seems...
"There Will Come Soft Rains" is another entry from Bradbury, perhaps one of his best-known; it's a chilling look at a wonderfully-automated house that continues to perform its duties even though - as the reader gradually learns - it stands alone in a radioactive wasteland.
"Ear" by Jane Yolen - another new-to-me story, and one that featured some challenges to high-tech dependence and to the stresses of being young. (Some rather grim notes in the background about a youth culture, where the "Olds" - those 30 or over - don't seem to last long...)
And, somewhat to my surprise, the book contains the entire text of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; yes, it features a mad scientist, so it can count as SF, but it did feel a bit off for the theme of the collection. Still, it's worth reading again!
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*** Released for the 2019 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***
*** Released for the 2019 Science Fiction release challenge. ***