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The Oxford Book Of Science Fiction Stories Paperback – 12 Oct 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, U.S.A.; New Ed edition (12 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192803816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192803818
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 3.6 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 259,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Review from previous edition 'both authoritative and audacious, up-to-date and historically wise, the best yet introduction to a bewildering field' (Greg Benford)

'travels through ninety years' development from mechanical to fantastical ... first rate' (Daily Telegraph)

'ideal ... even contains much to convert the sceptics, with its survey of highlights from Wells to Kipling, via Arthur C. Clarke and J.G. Ballard, to David Brin' (Independent on Sunday)

'[Tom Shippey's] new anthology not only is useful and important, it illuminates the field with the editor's insights and selections.' (James Gunn)

About the Author

Tom Shippey inherited J. R. R. Tolkien's Chair of Medieval English Language at the University of Leeds, where he taught the syllabus Tolkien had set up. He now holds the Walter J. Ong Chair of Humanities at St Louis University, Missouri, specializing in Medieval Literature, Old English Arthurian and Romance Literature, Fantasy, and Science Fiction. He has written and edited numerous books, including J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (2001), The Road to Middle-earth (second edition, 1992), The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories (reissue, 2003), and Fiction 2000: Cyberpunk and the Future of Narrative (co-edited with George Slusser, 1993).

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 23 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
This collection was initially issued in 1992; in 2003 it is a welcome reissue. At this moment in time SF is more accessible than ever- with the reissue of short-story collections like this & the brilliant SF-masterworks series that features authors like PK Dick, JG Ballard, Richard Matheson, James Blish & Theodore Sturgeon. As this book demonstrates, SF is a wide church- frequently not the space fiction/star trek stereotype perpetuated by people who perpetuate such things...
Shippey offers a brilliant introduction, noting that the book can't cover anything (though a second volume might be a great idea!)- there is also a select bibliography- which I feel is a little incomplete (for that see books like Trillion Year Spree & The Encyclopedia of SF- listed in this rudimentary bibliography).
The 30 odd stories are what this collection is about, and reason why this collection is such great value. All of the stories can be read in short sessions- whether communting, accelerating towards sleep or waiting, waiting, waiting...Then the reader can decide which kind of SF they most enjoy & pursue other works by that writer (most probably reissued by people like SF masterworks!). The collection opens with key SF-writer (if mild proponent of eugenics), HG Wells and ends bang up to date on Dave Brin. Between we get stories from such key SF-writers as Arthur C Clarke, Ursula K Le Guin, James Blish, Gene Wolfe, Bruce Sterling & William Gibson. Favourites include John W. Campbell Jr's Night, Brian Aldiss's Who Can Replace a Man? (definite AI-related territory & a place where cybernetic notions are beginning to develop- into the new wave) & JG Ballard's hilarious Billennium- which takes a Kafka-inspired look at over-population (and stems from the brilliant Terminal Beach collection).
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By Olga on 20 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
A great introduction to different sci-fi writers. If you like the genre and want to experience a range of different authors then this is a good book. I also enjoyed The End of America: & the rest of the world
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Returned to science fiction after some decades but did not finish one story in this book. Could be quality, content or a major change in me. Probably the latter.
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I have enjoyed most of the stories. quite a few are short enough to read all the way through at bed-time
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Panorama Of The Genre 5 Jun. 2009
By Marcos Antuna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is difficult to choose from among the myriad science fiction anthologies currently on the market; their lurid, garish covers demand the consumer's equal attention and purchase. The cover of Shippey's anthology is markedly nonchalant and spare in comparison to the aforementioned, but as one of the best SF anthologies in existence today, it is worth a second (and third and fourth) look.

Shippey was wise to avoid the second-rate and overly anthologized work of Heinlein and Asimov, and to choose just one of Clarke's better stories. The rest of the anthology he reserves for SF's more literary, and occasionally more obscure, authors - Cordwainer Smith's luxuriant "The Ballad of Lost C'mell" and Frank L. Pollack's fuliginous "Finis" can compete with the most profound of traditional literary fiction. Other works like A.E. van Vogt's "The Monster" - so illogical that it becomes charmingly surreal, Raccoona Sheldon's artfully acidic "The Screwfly Solution", and David Brin's poignantly lambent "Piecework" reveal the thought processes and weltanschauungen which make SF so fascinating.

There are a few middling stories in the anthology - these were likely chosen by Shippey to demonstrate an evolution of the genre. Harry Harrison's "A Criminal Act" has homophobic dialogue and a clunky exposition (the 'ah, but first I will tell you...' syndrome of mid-century SF), and Gene Wolfe's "How The Whip Came Back" loses credibility when it makes the Catholic Church a guarantor of personal freedom. (Walter Miller's "Crucifixus Etiam" and George R.R. Martin's "The Way of Cross and Dragon" demonstrate more insightful takes on the muddled collisions of faith, religion, science fiction, and society.)

Oxford and Shippey have rendered a voluminous, cogent collection - if you appreciate the history and the potential of science fiction, I urge you to consider it.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply outstanding 13 Dec. 2007
By Bruce D. Wilner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a certain je ne sais quoi about the work of the earliest sci-fi writers by which they draw the reader into a richly painted world that scarcely allows him to come up for breath. This may sound trite, but, as one recalls, the ultimate objective of all strongly crafted fiction is to dissolve the delineation between the reader's universe and the story's universe. Perhaps I should except the trite--even silly--works of the likes of H. G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling (I have difficulty getting into a story where "high-tech" battles between opposing forces are fought on horseback!), but the majority of the stories are very finely textured. Ironically, as we leave the Golden Age and progress toward modern times, the "tightness" of the individual story as a complete, conceptual unit is lost: frankly, I'd prefer if sci-fi never advanced past the '70s. But that's not the fault of this book, but, rather, of the "writers" who are too concerned with glitz and pseudo-technique than with telling an enrapturing story. Also on the downside, there are some editing problems, and I'd have been happier if the British editors hadn't insisted on forcing British orthographic conventions upon American text. Kudos to the editors of this absorbing volume for doing just about the best that could be done with the hundred-plus-year panoply of science fiction literature in the English language.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A dissappointment 12 July 2013
By V V Saichek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the authors are strong in this compilation, the stories are not of the highest quality. It is fairly middling fiction, I am sorry to say.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Jack Of Alltrades - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These stories are selected with the cerebral reader in mind---that reader who will slog through static, atmospheric, literary stories without ever skipping ahead to see if anything ever happens (it doesn't). They probably ate all their brussels sprouts as kids, too. If you read books because they are good for you, you'll love these.

If, on the other hand, like me, you read SF because you want to empathize with characters facing fascinating problems and you want to be thrilled by what happens next, then there are few stories here to thrill you.

The pick of the litter:

The Screwfly Solution is subtly perverse, dark, wonderfully told and scary as hell (is it happening now?).

Desertion is, though predictable, sweetly satisfying, especially to dog lovers.

The Monster is the cleverest Van Vogt ever wrote, mind blowing and will have you cheering for the human hero for a change.

The Swarm is such a vivid visit to a hive that it will have your skin crawling, and the twist is gut-wrenching.

Second Night of Summer is a fine heartwarming tale of evil aliens, a boy and a simpler time.

The others are snoozers only an Oxford English major (or the author's mother) could love.

But don't take my word for it...
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oxfors Book of Science Fiction Stories 3 Nov. 2006
By Bente Videbaek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a history of sci-fi kind of anthology. We start early, then we move upwards through the 1980s. As a history, this is a fine collection, very enjoyable, as it makes it possible for one to trace the development of the genre alongside what was happening in the world it has its roots in.

But as a history, sometimes, I fear, quality has to be sacrificed. Not all these short stories are optimal for the genre.
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