Library Journal - Library JournalFrom a tongue-in-cheek tale of a young boy's valiant effort to save the world ("Armageddon") to a dark tale of music and horror ("Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"), the stories of the late Brown represent a distinctive and unique voice in the sf community. This collection of more than 100 tales, many only a page in length, highlight the career of one of the genre's most incisive satirists and outstanding innovators. Most libraries should add this to their sf or short story collections. Last-Minute Mystery Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
We usually don't review from galley formats alone and the completed hardcover hasn't been sent yet, but it's impossible not to mention the publication of From These Ashes, an outstanding volume of Brown's most notable science fiction, which runs the gamut from witches and ghosts to spaceships and universes. Satire, irony, and a satisfying mix of hard science fiction with plenty of science make for an engrossing collection of over 100 stories.
Kirkus ReviewsA career retrospective of SF's master of the vignette. Unknown today, and unmourned when he died in 1972, misanthropic pulp-writer Brown achieved rapid fame in the 1940s and '50s with an enormous output of hard-edged, bitingly sarcastic stories that mocked the self-righteous superiority of the postWWII Pax Americana and the paranoid Cold War years that followed. The space explorers in "And the Gods Laughed" and the carnival troupe in "Nothing Sirius" both stumble upon seemingly placid, simplistic alien cultures that they corrupt and exploit, only to find themselves made victims of their own naïveté. But Brown's forte, as Barry Malzberg observes in his introduction, is the short-short used by numerous pulp magazine editors as filler. In "Reconciliation," a bickering married couple forsakes their anger as nuclear holocaust fills the sky. No more than a few paragraphs, "The End" reverses itself in midsentence as a scientist discovers how to make time go backward. About a third of the 111 stories collected here are 200-word wonders in which people get exactly what they want and live long enough to regret it. In the most famous of these, "The Answer," a machine and its inventor pay the ultimate price for demanding to know if God exists. Not all of Brown's visions were dark: "Arena," later adapted as a Star Trek episode, and "Letter to a Phoenix" conclude that, in Malzberg's words, "humanity may be hopeless but it is absolutely unassailable." Gimmicky, sardonic, and sharply twisted: short, snappy gifts to contemporary fantasy that are still worth reading, if only to know how well, if not how often, Brown caught the brass ring.
- New England Science Fiction Association, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Nesfa's Choice Series
- Edition description:
- 2002 Printing
- Product dimensions:
- 6.46(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.05(d)
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