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on 24 February 2013
Some of the science is ropey due to age (or perhaps the author not knowing/caring about the facts) but each one of these stories is a gem.

I remember hiding under the covers as a young teen, reading any and all of the SF books from my step-father's collection. Some of the better stories have stuck in my mind for the past twenty years and I've often cursed my younger self for not remembering the titles or authors. I'm happy to say that at least four of those long-forgotten tales are in this collection, but all of them are thought-provoking, idea-inspiring, awe-casting classics.

As you'd expect in an anthology the writing styles vary, but the ideas are powerful and, in all cases, as relevant today as they've ever been.

If you love SF (and don't demand it be 'hard', military or cyberpunk) then buy this collection. No ifs, no buts. Buy it and love it.
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on 14 August 2017
If you like Science Fiction short stories then this collection is a must
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on 27 November 2015
Wasn't the edition I was expecting (from the cover looks like a later printing and not the one shown in the photo) but pleasantly surprised at the condition of a 40 year old paperback that I've been trying to locate for at least the last 20 years!
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This collection of the best science fiction stories between 1929 and 1964 was assembled by the Science Fiction Writers of America and has the high quality that results from an expert-driven selection process. The twenty-six stories are all good and all by name authors, although they weren't all "names" when they wrote them.

My favorite six--and this wasn't easy--are:

Frederic Brown's "Arena" was made into a Star Trek episode which pitted William Shatner against an unknown stunt man in a rubber reptile suit. This original story of a human versus a well-rounded alien in a fight to the death is better.

Murray Leinster's "First Contact" named an entire SF sub-genre. The aliens and humans meet, learn to communicate, and then need to figure out a way to get home without endangering both of their worlds.

C. M. Kornbluth's "The Little Black Bag" hints at a future where many people aren't too bright. One of them loses a bag of medical instruments all the way into the past. And somebody finds it.

Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" illustrates the danger of taking along just enough of everything--air, fuel, mass--on a space trip. There is always the unexpected.

Damon Knight's "The Country of the Kind" examines the life of a lonely man who keeps reaching out for others. Something always gets in the way. This story may have influenced Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.

Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" introduces Charlie Gordon, a mentally handicapped man whose life changes when he participates in a surgical experiment designed to improve intelligence. The experiment succeeds, and Charlie quickly develops first ordinary, and then extraordinary intelligence. This short story was later expanded into the novel Flowers for Algernon.

Some of the science in these stories is dated, but that doesn't make them harder to read than stories set in unfamiliar cultures or in the past. Some plots have become cliché, but it is still worthwhile to read the originals. Whether your reading voyage is one of discovery or rediscovery, it is worth taking. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 5 June 2003
This book is truly a collection of great stories from between the years of 1929 and 1964. I am glad they reprinted this book because my older version is yellowing. I hope one day they will reprint a new hard back copy and I will buy it also.
Even though this book is packed from cover to cover with intriguing stories, I bought it for one story in particular "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett. First published in 1943 ("Lewis Padgett" was a pseudonym employed by Henry Kuttner and his wife, C. L. Moore)
My first encounter with this story was a vinyl record recording with William Shatner later it is replaces with a cassette tape. I believe this book is the only surviving form of the story.
Unthahorsten is experimenting with time travel and sends two black boxes back into the past. He had to put something in them so as a last minute thought places his old toys in them. They do not return so he forgets them. It is too late the mischief is done. One is found by children in 1942. The other well look at the title for a clue.
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on 22 July 2003
When I was in my early teens, I read 2 books that influenced my reading ever since. I had only ever seen science fiction on television or at the movies. I never thought it would be good to read until I got this book from my local library. With hindsight, most of the stories in this book have been published in so many other anrthologies that any avid sci fi collector will probably have them all already but as an introduction to the genre, you could not buy a better book. The stories are fantastic. The worlds in them are amazing. I love this book and am ever grateful for the way it shaped my reading choices ever since.
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on 14 October 2014
Anthologies are only as good as their editor - but in this case, the "editors" were the entire 1970 membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America (not all of whom were American), who nominated and voted for the best short stories from the golden age of SF, up to 1964. I was 12 in 1964 and heavily into SF, so the authors featured here are those that I read so avidly at that time. Not surprisingly, stories that have remained with me like Kornbluth's "The little black bag" and Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" are here, along with others I read for the first time. Of these, my favourites were Padgett's "Mimsy were the borogoves", and Godwin's "The cold equations" (first time an SF story had me blubbing!) The rest are all also excellent, however.

The omissions appear to be mainly due to the policy of allowing only one story per author: I suspect Heinlein's "All you zombies..." and Bradbury's "A sound of thunder" fell victim to this policy. One surprising omission is Eric Frank Russell's 1951 story "And then there were none..." - perhaps due to him later expanding it into a novel which did win awards.

I doubt you will find a better SF anthology - I haven't yet.
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on 24 May 2014
I bought it to see what "The Last Mimsy" was based on - "Mimsy were the Borrogroves" by Lewis Padgett (aka Henry Kuttner).
Sadly, the film was much better and didn't have the dismal end of the short story.
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on 22 June 2013
The best collection of the classic stories around, containing some of the best science fiction stories ever written.
Especially "A rose for Ecclesiastes" and "Flowers for Algernon"

If you have never read any science Fiction this is the place to start
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on 28 November 2012
As other reviewers have said these short stories were written between 1929 and 1964. One or two may show their age, but are none the worse for it. I would recommend this book to all lovers of science fiction. For me the one standout story was, The Cold Equations by Tom Goodwin.
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