The Science Fiction of Mark Clifton

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Overview

This collection of the best short stories of Mark Clifton makes these fine tales readily available for the first time in two decades.

Winner with Frank Riley of the 1955 Hugo Award for They’d Rather Be Right, Clifton has for a variety of reasons unrelated to the quality of his writing all but disappeared from the aware­ness of today’s science fiction audience. Never a prolific writer he had published only about twenty-five short stories before his death in 1963. But with those ...

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Overview

This collection of the best short stories of Mark Clifton makes these fine tales readily available for the first time in two decades.

Winner with Frank Riley of the 1955 Hugo Award for They’d Rather Be Right, Clifton has for a variety of reasons unrelated to the quality of his writing all but disappeared from the aware­ness of today’s science fiction audience. Never a prolific writer he had published only about twenty-five short stories before his death in 1963. But with those stories and his three novels he irrevocably altered the course of contemporary science fiction.

Almost single-handedly he introduced the full range of psy­chological insights to the commonly occurring themes of the genre—alien invasion, expanding technology, revolution against political theocracy, and space exploration and coloniza­tion—to ever more truthfully portray how humanity would react to a future that could be either mindless or intellectually stunning.

With his first published story, “What Have I Done?” Clifton initiated the theme of a starkly realistic world in which, at its best, humanity is inalterably vile—a theme that became an in­extricable part of all his subsequent works. In his later works Clifton occasionally clothed his bitter indictment in the garb of comedy.

The stories collected here include “What Have I Done?” “Star, Bright,” “Crazy Joey,” “What Thin Partitions,” “Sense from Thought Divide,” “How Allied,” “Remembrance and Re­flection,” “Hide! Hide! Witch!” “Clerical Error,” “What Now, Little Man?” and “Hang Head, Vandal!”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Indeed, Clifton’s proficiency ranks him among the best sf writers of the fifties… A debt of gratitude is owed to Malzberg and Greenberg for letting us see the work of a writer who had the field buzzing in the early to mid-fifties.”—Timothy R. Sullivan, Conference on the Fan­tastic, Boca Raton, Florida

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809309856
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 12/8/1980
  • Series: Alternatives
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.25 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2008

    A reviewer

    Mark Clifton is the greatest science fiction writer ever. After reading his collection, I pretty much gave up on sci-fi since, in comparison to his work, so much in the genre seemed contrived and devoid of substance. His background was in personel which provided him with the opportunity to interview 250,000 people in his career. This comes accross brilliantly in all the characters which populate his stories, everyone of them infused with a richness and truth that is rare in all forms of fiction. His works are perfect examples of the medium, meaning that they could not be told in any form other than sci-fi. Please give him a try. If you do pick up the collection, then I highly recommend the last two stories, 'What Now, Little Man?' and 'Hang Head, Vandal!' The former story impressed me with the most profound sense of the meaning'and meaninglessness' of life that I have ever encountered in literature. He is such an underated and unknown master of sci-fi, it would really be great for some of you to discover him as I did. And if you like what you see, then you might want to try one of his few novels, 'When They Came from Space.' Don't let the cheesy title fool you. It's a wonderful satire and contains an inspired debate on the differences between faith in science and faith in miracles.

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