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on 29 July 2012
If you like SF, then here is a collection of some really good stories, including several by some of the best known names in the genre. It also includes one by Ayn Rand, someone that I had never considered as an SF writer; it is a novella of a dystopian future, that in some ways could be seen as a prophetic tale that might have inspired one or two other stories.

This collection has some really good narratives; stories that make you think and cause you to question what you know and believe. Within the collection, there are sufficient different ideas to appeal to almost any SF reader and offer a really excellent look into some of the best writing around.

It's a really good collection, a great addition to the other volumes in the series and one that is well worth getting. Suitable for use on the Kindle when travelling or on holiday. I thought that it was well worth the price.
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on 23 July 2014
A collection of sf stories by legends and rising stars, including two of the greatest, Asimov and Philip K Dick.
The general theme of the stories seem to be first contact with alien races, but if you are expecting something in the vain of Spielberg's Close Encounters, than think again. Each of the stories takes its own approach to the concept, often portraying humans as the advanced alien race, or as a space-fairing race coming into contact with new species and entities, like in Beyond Lies the Wub, by Philip K Dick, where the humans barter for a large porcine creatures with the locals but get more than they bargain for. There are other tales too, such as The Life Work of Professor Muntz by Murray Leinster, which is a time travel story and The Big Trip Up Yonder by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a cautionary tale about the dangers (or the lack of them) of the fountain of youth.
The Megapacks are generally some of the best sf stories curated by some of the biggest names in Sf and will definitely entertain, amuse and challenge the stereotypes of sf.
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on 23 August 2012
Fantastic entertainment. You can dip into this when the urge takes you, an excellent compendium for short trips away, or while laying in the bath wrinkling.
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on 11 December 2014
Enjoyed almost all of these, including the story of "Tiny" and even when I could guess the likely outcome of "Slim" and "Red's" story. Why not 5 stars? At least one story was familiar from previous reading, may even have been another megapack, but haven't checked; also, I didn't enjoy Anthem - this is not just because I disagree with the underlying premise and philosophy, the whole style was too agressive. I have no problem with people presenting beliefs in narrative form, that is what SF is about. I have enjoyed stories even while disagreeing with the author, what I disapprove of is the feeling that the world of a story is merely a "set up", a "straw man", highly unpleasant, simply so the reader accepts and welcomes the punchline. I dislike being lectured at or manipulated - this did not earn the right to be heard and was too forced. And, to be blunt, the underlying philosophy is abhorrent and contradictory - Prometheus gains many of his ideas from books he finds, even though he calls them "my books", he and his mate are dependent upon others for their home and their ideas. I did not feel that this deserved to be included. And I would feel the same way if someone were to present my beliefs in such a propagandistic style. Philosophical, political or religious allegories have survived or become classics because they are well written and readable, so that they are appreciated even by those who disagree with their views - e.g.; Rowan Williams' recommending Philip Pullman's writing or the love of C.S. Lewis's Narnia stories by Christian and non-Christian alike. Some people are unaware of any allegorical or hidden meaning at all and still love Aslan. Anthem is no Narnia and Rand is no Lewis.
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This is the fourth Science Fiction Megapack, following the success of the first three volumes, The Science Fiction Megapack: 25 Modern & Classic Tales by Masters,The Second Science Fiction Megapack and The Third Science Fiction Megapack. These 24 stories and one book-length megastory are from science fiction's golden age.

One way to get a feel for the collection while investing a minimum of time is to read the five shortest stories. It may also be satisfying to think of reading them as a protest against Harry Harrison's "Sense of Obligation" which occupies 25% of the book without providing 25% of the enjoyment. C'mon editor--as with skirts and jail sentences, short is best. With that in mind, here are the shortest:

E. C. Tubb's "Food for Friendship" finds two spacemen stranded on a planet where food is scarce. They are looking for a way off-planet. And they keep thinking about their stomachs.

*Kurt Vonnegut's "The Big Trip Up Yonder" shows how an increased lifespan can keep families together longer.

Cynthia Ward's "Regenesis" explores the scientific, religious, and artistic implications of a new human ability to grow new body parts.

James Stewart's "Plato's Bastards" follows a man as he goes about his business while those about him are losing theirs.

In David Grinnel's "Top Secret" a Good Samaritan helps a stranger to his feet and is left trying to explain a strange impression.

Most of these stories are enjoyable, although they exhibit the signs of "out of date" science and off-target predictions about the future that is now our present. But it is entertaining to view the universe through the assumptions of the past. The collection is a fairly good one. Not great, but good. It is worth a buck and some of your time.

Satisfied readers may wish continue the Megapack series with the next volume, The Fifth Science Fiction Megapack.

--

*I'll point out in passing that the contrast between his short, simple, brevity-invoking first name and his long, hard-to-spell last name is much like the contrast between the true short stories in this collection and the single lengthy, hard-to-get-through megastory from Mr. Harrison. Just sayin'...
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on 30 November 2013
An eclectic mix of some great Sci-fi short stories... Some very clever, some strange but Sci Do nonetheless. I am a big fan of the SF short stories and this did not disappoint. This series of books is a great wee purchase. Recommended for SF fans everywhere.
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VINE VOICEon 2 October 2012
The Fourth Megapack is even better than its predecessors, bringing together some of the great stories of that golden age of SF following the last war, with some more recent tales. The best in an outstanding list is MacLean's `Pictures Don't Lie', one of those unique stories that stays with you many years after you have read it. The pacing of her narrative is excellent, and the tension is ratcheted up until the very unexpected ending. One of my top SF shorts. Asimov's `Youth' takes a similar road, telling the story of two boys with a secret they are keeping from their elders, with a final twist that reminds one that Asimov also excelled as a mystery writer.

The late Harry Harrison is represented by an old fashioned suns and spaceship novella-length adventure story that transfers the contemporary Cold War to an interplanetary confrontation with nuclear war imminent. In addition to the action, he has created two fascinating worlds, the desert planet of Dis, and Brion's home planet, with its eccentric orbit that gives a very brief summer and a long, cold winter and imposes an unusual lifestyle on its inhabitants

The imagination is stretched in Larry Hodge's mind-numbing story of a lone individual playing the role of god in his universe, while Wollheim' s `Storm Warning' queries the assumption that aliens would be visible to the human eye. The editors of this collection have added a fair quotas of comic tales, from Philip K Dick's `Beyond Lies the Wub', another personal favourite, to E C Tubb's black comedy about two space bums - turn back to the title after you have read the story.

A winner.
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on 2 August 2013
I bought this because the price was cheap and the reviews positive. Clearly everyone has their own views, but I struggle to see how anyone could give this more than 2 stars! To my mind far too many of the stories are substandard, barely worth one star, while only a few stand out as being worth a second read.

Looking at the start of the book, it is very clear that there is a very odd mix of original publication dates: 6 from the 1940's, 7 from the 1950's, 1 from the 1960's (1961 actually) and then nothing until the year 2000! There are 10 stories from this century.

Of the stories I most enjoyed, 4 were from the 40's and 50's and 3 from post 2000, so I am not saying that the old stuff is rubbish and only recent ones any good.

The stories I enjoyed were Food for Friendship, Storm Warning, Wild Seed, the Eyes of Thar, Regeneis, Living Under The Conditions and Youth.

I hate to pick on one story as being the worst, but I have to say that Tiny and the Monster was truly dreadful - a dog (Tiny) that communicates with it's owner and an alien! Yuk!!

On the basis of this book I won't be buying anymore from this series.
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on 3 February 2013
I enjoy short stories far more than the thousand page, 3 volume tomes you get all too often nowadays. A short story has to be lively, well written, punchy and I think with a satisfying ending, usually a twist in the tale. I have been a keen SF reader for over 40 years and to be honest about this book I find some of the older writers capture the excitement of the short story genre better than some of the modern writers although the stories in this book are all interesting in very diverse ways. I look forward to reading other books from the same series.
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on 13 September 2013
The mix of old and new stories makes this a very enjoyable collection. Classic authors are met in equal regard with current aspirants. Only one story was a puzzle to me as it was poorly written and I wonder how it was chosen to be included...you find it and see if you agree.
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