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Publisher's Summary

Watch out - the Earth just fell into a dark sun's orbit! Or maybe you'd rather visit a theme park called Hell? These are just two of the strange and unnerving tales you'll find in this collection of great science fiction and fantasy stories. Take your imagination into futuristic and mystical worlds where gravity can kill and humans become walking biochip labs. See the world through the eyes of a four-legged creature in Susan Shwartz's "Critical Cats", and meet an electronic storyteller in Isaac Asimov's "Someday".

The other stories include Greg Bear's "Blood Music," Ben Bova's "The Man Who Hated Gravity", Arthur C. Clarke's "Breaking Strain", Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air", Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "Sing" and "Story Child", Dan Simmons's "Vanni Fucci Is Alive and Well and Living in Hell", Connie Willis's "Ado", and Jane Yolen's "Green Messiah."

"Vanni Fucci Is Alive and Well and Living in Hell" Copyright © by Dan Simmons; "Blood Music" Copyright ©1983 by Greg Bear; "Ado" by Connie Willis Copyright © Asimov's SF Magazine, January, 1988; "The Man Who Hated Gravity" by Ben Bova Copyright ©1989 by Davis Publications; "Story Child" Copyright ©1990 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch; "Someday" by Isaac Asimov Copyright ©1956 by Royal Publications; "A Pail of Air" Copyright ©1951 by Galaxy Publishing Corporation, Renewed 1978 by Fritz Leiber; "Breaking Strain" Copyright ©1949 by Arthur C. Clarke; "Critical Cats" Copyright ©1991 by Susan Shwartz; "Green Messiah" Copyright ©1988 by Jane Yolen; "Sing" Copyright ©1987 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch; Copyright (P)1991 Dove Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Noah
  • New York, New York
  • 08-25-10

Cute stories, clunky format

The stories in this anthology are not the most mind-blowing or the most exciting I've read, but they are generally very solid - my favorites were Susan Schwartz's "Critical Cats," Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air," and Isaac Asimov's "Someday." Arthur C. Clarke's "Breaking Strain" and Dan Simmons' "Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell" are also strong. In general, the stories in this anthology are cute rather than brilliant. The narrator is good.

The format, however, is kind of annoying, since the audiobook chapters do not begin and end where the stories begin and end; thus, it is impossible to go to the beginning of a story. I'm not sure why they divided the chapters this way. Also, the anthology is a little short for the price.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Donna
  • Taylorsville, UT, United States
  • 01-01-07

Worth double the price

This is a rare collection of science fiction stories, and the readers are great! I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys being entertained by great fiction.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Travis
  • Palo Alto, CA, USA
  • 06-13-05

4 Great Stories, the rest are interesting

4 stars for "Critical Cats", "Breaking Strain", "Vanni Fucci" and "Ado" because they each combine an interesting story with good characters. The other stories are interesting but didn't draw me in as much.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Benjamin
  • Whitinsville, MA, USA
  • 12-20-02

Vanni Fucci . . .

Without a doubt - this book is worth "the price of admission" purely for "Vannic Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell" - a tongue planted firmly in cheek look into a morning religious talk show.

"Vanni Fucci gave God the fig... twice."

Pure brilliance!

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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awesome collection

This was one of the best audio short story collections I've had the pleasure of listening to.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Inverness, IL, United States
  • 02-14-12

Good stories, mixed performances and odd format

Does anybody know who the performer is on the first story, Blood music by Greg Baer? Sounds like Ray Manzarek but I am not aware of him doing such things.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Poor production quality

Nice short stories, a good selection of good authors; however I really strongly recommend against downloading because the audio fidelity in the file changes dramatically during playback. Not like, it constantly does so, which would be me thing, but about halfway through each story there is a pointless break with 5sec of music, then the story resumes with 10x less quality audio, which persists for 15-20 minutes until another break comes up.
Made it *really* frustrating to listen to on a long car trip as I had to keep turning it comically loud in some parts, which of course would wake up my copilot. Not cool.

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  • James
  • PUEBLO, CO, United States
  • 07-03-14

Great short stories

great short stories, when I purchased it I didn't realize I had read it on paper, narration was not very good

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  • wck
  • Newark, NJ, United States
  • 08-30-11


Wonderful set of stories. This will keep you going for a while - really enjoyed it.

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Would expect it would be rated GP

What did you like best about Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy? What did you like least?

Mildly entertaining, would probably allow my Grandson to listen to it when he gets to be about 11 or 12 years old. The few stories I listened to had a hard time holding my interest, never finished listening to all the stories.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something heavier.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

I don't care for high pitched voices, I listen to relax and high pitched voices rattle my nerves. I didn't listen to all the narrators.

Was Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy worth the listening time?

Not in my opinion, but I didn't listen to all the stories, only a few and when I listened to a couple that were narrated by a couple of ladies with high pitched voices, I didn't dare listen to any of the others.

Any additional comments?

May try to listen again in the future, what I did listen to seemed to me, to have been written for a more juvenile audience. I will certainly skip over the high pitched voices if I do listen again.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-01-17

An enjoyable colleciton

Any additional comments?

I thought this was a good collection of stories, even a bit unsettling at times. There's a good variety and a lot of stories I didn't think I'd like that I ended up quite enjoying. The narration is superb, with a special mention to "Blood Music" which was done so well that is sort of messed me up for the day.

The formatting of the stories is odd, I don't think the Audible chapters line up with the chapters of the story, and there's this weird spooky interlude music that makes it feel like an audio drama. It's not that a big a deal but still worth mentioning. Not sure if I would have been happy paying a full credit for it but I had a £5 voucher and for that the book was a steal.

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  • thomas
  • 02-20-17

Mixed quality

Mixed bag with some gems in there, but to be expected from a collection like this.