World’s Best Science Fiction Third Series

Posted on 26 January 2010. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , |

This book was published in 1967 so it rather dated but the stories are not. The list of stories involved in this book are:

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale – Philip K. Dick
Light of Other Days – Bob Shaw
The Keys to December – Roger Zelazny
Nine Hundred Grandmothers – R. A. Lafferty
Bircher – A. A. Walde
Behold the Man – Michael Moorcock
Bumberboom – Avram Davidson
Day Million – Frederik Pohl
The Wings of a Bat – Paul Ash
The Man From When – Dannie Plachta
Amen and Out – Brian W Aldiss
For a Breath I Tarry – Roger Zelazny

I do actually wonder about the science fiction published in that year as Roger Zelazny features twice in this anthology, were the stories just not good enough or was Zelazny’s writing that much better than the competition? Don’t get me wrong, Zelazny’s writing is very good I did enjoy his stories, I just have to wonder, that’s all.

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick was adapted into a movie called Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Reading the story again after all these years made me understand why Arnold Schwarzenegger got the role, he was just right for the part at the time. There are now other actors who would do a better job, I name Matt Damon as one, but Schwarzenegger was the best at the time. The only thing I have against Schwarzenegger in this role is his too memorable face. A secret agent shouldn’t look too distinctive as they need to fade into the background, or at least that’s what I’ve been taught by reading spy books by Robert Ludlum and John le Carre, and he just doesn’t do that whereas Matt Damon does. Anyway, this is meant to be a comment on the story, not the casting of the movie. If you’ve seen Total Recall you will have some idea of the story except in the story we don’t see the hero actually leaving his home town.

While I was reading the first part of Bumberboom by Avram Davidson I was also composing a blog in my mind all about books that have rather a large proportion of non-dictionary words that really need translating in order to be able to understand it. The story came good in the end and I was able to get the gist of what happened in the first half of the story but it was still hard going. I think I read the same page three times because I was so bored with it I kept putting it down after only a couple of paragraphs, it had so many words that didn’t make sense that I just couldn’t cope. I did make it through but it was slow going. The story was a lesson in reading instructions in full before using a dangerous machine.

Anyway, that’s just a taste of the stories in this book and now I’ve scribbled a little about it and recommended it to you I’m going to put it back on my shelf as I have no intention of selling it.

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