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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written SF Stories, 15 Sep 2000
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This review is from: The Best of Walter M Miller Jr (Gollancz SF Collector's Edition) (Gollancz SF Library) (Paperback)
I haven't read A Canticle for Liebowitz or Saint Liebowitz and the Wild Horse Woman. Thus this yellow-jacketed reissue was my first brush with the fiction of Walter M Miller. Here we have 14 stories spread over 472 pages, all written between 1952 and 1957. Possibly because of this some of them seem to exhibit more than a passing resemblance to some of the stories to be found in the first couple of volumes of Millennium's reissued collected stories of Philip K Dick. In fact whether or not you like those early Dick volumes will probably determine whether or not you like these stories. Here we have far-future communities who have returned to a Middle Ages existence coming to terms with a giant computer and its robot guardian, post-apocalyptic stories, evil aliens dealing in human cargo, plays where the entire cast is composed of robots, and the story of a world-wide plague which becomes a thinly-disguised meditation on the implications and consequences of intolerance. None of these tales offers anything new or startlingly original, but then they are over 40 years old. They're also well written delightful examples of fifties' SF. And I'll be reading the Liebowitz books when I get a chance.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the right stuff, 11 May 2012
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This review is from: The Best of Walter M Miller Jr (Gollancz SF Collector's Edition) (Gollancz SF Library) (Paperback)
I had real problems deciding how to rate this, because there were some stories in this that I thought were excellent but unfortunately there were also a couple which I thought were absolutely awful and dragged down the collection, especially as they were of novella length.

Walter M Miller is best known for Canticle of Leibowitz. I've read that before and was interested to see what his short stories are like. As has already been mentioned, these are SF stories written in the 1950s, and while some may not seem too original from our persepctive now, most of them date very well and I did like the philosophical bent found in many of them.

The stand-out ones for me, which fully deserve 5 stars, are The Big Hunger, Dumb Waiter, Vengeance for Nikolai, Blood Bank, and Dark Benediction (which this collection is also sometimes known as). The ones I really didn't like at all were The Darfsteller (which apparently got lots of awards at the time, so what do I know?) and The Lineman. Both of these were obviously written in the 1950s and I think have dated terribly.

But 2 duds in what is on the whole a great collection is not bad at all
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The Best of Walter M Miller Jr (Gollancz SF Collector's Edition) (Gollancz SF Library)
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