"Why I Left Harry's All-Night Diner", Copyright ©1987 by Lawrence Watt Evans; "Jeffty Is Five", Copyright ©1977 by Harlan Ellison; "The Nine Billion Names of God", Copyright ©1953, Renewed 1981 by Arthur C. Clarke; "The Crystal Spheres", Copyright ©1984 by David Brin; "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas", Copyright ©1973 by Ursula K. LeGuin; "Huddling Place", Copyright ©1944 by Street & Smith Publications, Inc., Renewed 1972 by Clifford D. Simak; "That Only a Mother", Copyright ©1948 by Judith Merrill; "Fermi and Frost", Copyright ©1985 by Davis Publications, Inc.; "Tangents", Copyright ©1986 by Omni Publications International Ltd.; "Bears Discover Fire", Copyright ©1990 by Davis Publications Inc., "Allamagoosa", Copyright ©1955 by Street & Smith Publications, Inc.; and "Twilight", Copyright ©1935 by Street & Smith Publications; Copyright (P)1998 by NewStar Media, Inc.
The only quibble I can find with this collection is the title. This is a great collection of sci-fi short stories, but it's a reach to call it a collection of the greatest of the 20th century. The majority of the stories were published within only the last 20 years or so. However, I still recommend this collection enthusiastically because of the inclusion of "Jeffty is Five", "The 9 Billion Names of God", "Alamagoosa", and "Why I Left Harry's All Night Hamburgers". Overall, a nice introduction to the short story format of sci-fi.
I too must admit surprise at the number of very low reviews. I've been an Audible subscriber more than 3 years now. This was one of the first books I bought. I was first introduced to science fiction in the 80s by reading endless anthologies. This, in audiobook form, is an excellent set of stunning short stories.
1) Jeffty Is Five by Harlan Ellison (read by Harlan Ellison)-A Hugo (1978)/Nebula (1977) winner about a very weird form of time travel/alternate realities.
2) Twilight by John W. Campbell, Jr.-originally published in 1934 under the pseudonym Don A. Stuart. One of the fathers of the "Golden Age of SF" & a prominent anthology/magazine editor.
3) The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin-1974 Hugo winner exploring the tension between a just & a happy society.
4) Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson-Hugo (1991)/Nebula (1990) winner.
5) The Crystal Spheres by David Brin-Hugo winner (1985).
6) That Only a Mother by Judith Merril-Canadian/American SF writer.
7) Allamagoosa by Eric Frank Russell-Hugo winner (1955). Military comedy. Anyone who has dealt with bureaucracy should appreciate this form-ticking SNAFU.
8) Tangents by Greg Bear-Hugo (1987)/Nebula (1986) winner.
9) The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke-Hugo winner (1954).
10) Huddling Place by Clifford D. Simak-Grand Master.
11) Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers by Lawrence Watt Evans (read by Will Wheaton)-Hugo winner (1988) exploring other realities & the axiom, "You can never go home again."
12) Fermi and Frost by Frederik Pohl-Grand Master & Hugo winner (1986) here for nuclear winter & Armageddon.
Out of the 12 stories, 9 are Hugo winners for best short story in their year & 3 won both awards. So while these stories, when examined over the last several decades, might not be the "greatest" ever, they were certainly "great" in the years they were published & many still stand today as fine examples of well-crafted SF short stories. Enjoy!
Any story anthology that includes "The Nine Billion Names of God" by Arthur C. Clarke is worth your time. From the first time I read this story a thousand or so years ago, it has stayed with me and been something I have always remembered. This is the first time I've encountered this in any audiobook, and would recommend this one simply for the joy this one piece of it will bring.
However, this anthology includes some other really remarkable stories which a sci-fi junkie will remember - but that are very accessible to anyone. Some of the best wordsmiths around are included, with some of their best stories. Some of the really outstanding ones include "Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson and "Tangents" by Greg Bear. However, there are no stinkers in the whole set.
The production values are above average - a variety of narrators and they give it lots of energy in their delivery.
Overall a worthwhile investment in time. And a must-have for the true sci-fi junkie.
Likes resting his eyes...
A fine collection of stories better called Classics rather than the greatest.
However one nagging feature of this recording is that there is less than a 1 second gap between tracks! This eats up that essential pause needed after such calibre of tale for reflection.
Other than that I really enjoyed hearing these again.
Reading the one-star reviews I can only think:
What a shame that some people think that a candy bar is good food and upon encountering an exquisitely succulent steak, spit it out and warn everyone away from it. "It doesn't have any sugar, it doesn't fizz, it isn't even dyed flourescent green. What crap. It's so boring!"
Happily though, I don't have to worry about the passers-by actually missing out on anything. I've read all these stories before, most several times, because they have appeared in several publications and anthologies over the years and probably will continue to. So any actual fan who's young or just new to the scene but who can appreciate excellence, will almost certainly encouter them many times in other places regardless of audible.com or these reviews.
A very enjoyable book of short science fiction stories. Well worth a read, but I am not sure how they got into the list of the greatest of the 20th century. That said, I would be very happy to recommend this book if you are a lover of Sci-Fi.
Some really good stories here, but a bit optimistic with saying they are the greatest. However, well worth a listen, especially if you are new to the genre
A couple of classic stories -- Arthur Clarke, Le Guin, but some painful duds.
Overacting, especially loud to soft variations (turn it up, turn it down) and cloying enactments of children's parts (not that they weren't cloying to begin with. The wise child in SF is a deeply annoying stereotype.)
Back when I was a kid, there was a somewhat cruel trick that you used to play on kids who weren't quite cool enough to be in your group. (Of course, I discovered it by having it played on me). One of the cooler kids would tell a joke for which there was an intentionally nonsensical punchline. After the punchline was delivered, everyone in on the prank would laugh heartily causing the victim to (usually) laugh along with them as if they understood the joke. At which point, they would be asked to explain the joke which, of course, they could not.
That's how I felt about most of the stories here. I found the writing (and, for the most part the performances, very good) But the stories endings always seemed to fall off a cliff. Like the author just ran out of gas, or had to go somewhere and didn't have time to complete the story. Of course, "True" sci-fi fans will take exception to my analysis and insist that I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate the brilliance. Or they will (As they have) list all the awards a story has received. To that, I will simply mention an older "No Soap the Radio" version: The Emperor's New Clothes.
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