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Anything Box Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1977

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Avon Books (Mm); Reissue edition (Dec. 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380017458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380017454
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,069,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Anything Box is a collection of fantasy, horror and SF stories that appeared in the 1950s and early 1960s in such magazines as Fantasy & Science Fiction, Galaxy and Imagination. Zenna Henderson is best known for her stories of a community of aliens living in secret on Earth, the People, but the tales in this book are all one-offs, not in any series. There are a few SF stories, such as the comical "Food to All Flesh" in which a Mexican Padre encounters a hungry alien mother and tries to find out what to feed it -- and goes one step further than the obvious ending; also "The Last Step", which is an SF example of a theme that appears in many of the other stories in this volume: special abilities possessed by children, usually in the form of some sort of special sight. In "The Last Step", this is an odd form of precognition which expresses itself through a game with toys, but which has an effect on the future, too. Other children-with-special-abilities stories range from the magical (such as "The Anything Box") to the horrific ("Hush!"). In "Hush!", a child summons, or creates, a creature which lives on sound, sucking it out of whatever makes a noise near it; quite a bleak tale compared to the others in this volume. In "The Anything Box", a young child escapes from the harshness of reality into the world contained in her Anything Box -- which the teacher-narrator at first assumes to be imaginary until she gets a look inside it. A debate on escapism and imagination, it avoids both sentimentality and moralising -- this story is worth the price of the whole volume on its own, though "Something Bright", with its glimpse of other-dimensional beings trapped in this world's harsh reality, is another high point.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Zenna Henderson was an oddity in the scifi and fantasy magazines. She wrote naturalistic, emotionally intense stories -- with fantasy elements. There is a melancholy streak in her tales, yet her characters have spunk and resilience as well as gentleness and empathy. There's one more special element to a Zenna Henderson story. As a real-life school teacher, her portrayals of children have a rarely-found accuracy. All these traits can be found in the title story, "The Anything Box". If you don't like that one, you probably won't like Zenna Henderson's other stories.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This collection of stories give food for thought for all SF fans, I have reread my copy several times over the past 20 years!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9cdce0a8) out of 5 stars 28 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c57951c) out of 5 stars Wonderful Read 21 Jan. 2004
By James A. Landrith Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Strangely enough, I was first introduced to Henderson's writings in 1990, through a group of electronica musicians who named their band after her short story The Anything Box. After reading an interview with the band, and learning of Henderson`s influence, I read her excellent collection of short stories titled Anything Box.
In her short story The Anything Box, I appreciated Henderson's sympathetic characterization of the teacher. Henderson, a teacher herself, ably presented the character in a positive manner, without distracting us from the center of the story, Sue-lynn and her Anything Box. Through the teacher's observations, I grew sympathetic for Sue-lynn as a fragile, young mind. At the same time, I was thankful the young girl had such a caring teacher looking out for her well-being. As a side note, I'd like to think that Henderson was such a teacher, given her characterization of the teacher and her obvious empathy for her young charge.
The rest of the stories in this book are just as well-written and engrossing. This is positively one of the best books I've ever read.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c5f3804) out of 5 stars Marvels where you least expect them. 13 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like Tolkien's 'Smith of Wootton Major', the quiet, honest, caring folk who inhabit the foreground of Zenna Henderson's stories live simply and try to accept life as they find it. These traits help them keep their balance and act compassionately when they find out that they have vulnerable neighbors who must live with care on the boundary between vastly different worlds. This is perhaps best illuminated in the personal struggle of the primary-grades teacher who encounters 'The Anything Box' in one such child's hands, right there in her otherwise-ordinary classroom. Set in the arid Southwest of the late 1940s, these stories are both timeless and contemporary, both exotic and immediately familiar to anyone who has been a first-grader in 20th-century America. The plight of the "different ones" among us has been told many times and in many ways, but seldom with such tenderness and understanding.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c3c5798) out of 5 stars A Beautiful Classic! 2 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of those books that will stay with you forever! A collection of magical short stories that weaves fantasy together with the sense of wonder we all felt as children. Fascinating and compelling. It's currently out of print, but is absolutely worth seeking out.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c577858) out of 5 stars Gone but Never Forgotten 7 Jan. 1999
By William Hooper (hoope002@bama.ua.edu) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Zenna Henderson's works are the type of books you read and then wonder "why is this book out of print? It's FANTASTIC!" Hers is a world of grade-school teachers who really are magical, pathways to other dimensions hidden in back-pockets and under old beds, and characters who are People (in more than one sense of the word.) This is one of the few books I recommend without hesitation to anyone. Read it, buy it, tell the publisher to print more. Henderson's work embodies the rare qualities of spiritually moving without being maudlin, relevant yet timeless, and always good. It's never a question of which stories are good or bad, just which are good or really good.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c59e0d8) out of 5 stars "Hello," said the creature. 31 Mar. 2007
By frumiousb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was delighted to rediscover this book when cleaning out my parents' house. It had gotten lost, somehow, in moving from childhood to adulthood and I had honestly nearly forgotten about it.

Almost, but not quite. Henderson is a wonderful writer whose short stories bring to mind the best prose of Clifford D. Simak or Theodore Sturgeon. In the end, I discovered that I had not forgotten a word. The worlds of Zenna Henderson are not necessarily happy worlds. There is sweetness, and there is often resolution of a kind. But the sweetness is often bittersweet, and the resolution is not always exactly what a reader might hope or expect.

Recommended for any reader who likes intelligent speculative fiction. Should be suitable for all ages. If you can find it, buy it!
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