More Christopher Anvil

War Games

Christopher Anvil, © 2008
stories originally published 1957-1972
Baen Books 2008 hardcover

science fiction short story collection

Baen books has been reprinting Anvil’s work in a set of collections edited by Eric Flint. This is the seventh such collection. In this one we have 18 stories which were originally published between 1957 and 1972.

Anvil (the pseudonym of Harry C. Crosby) has long been a personal favorite, since I began reading his stories in Astounding Science Fiction in the 1950s. Droll, eminently readable, sometimes humorous, sometimes thought-provoking but always entertaining, Anvil’s short stories are a delight.

This collection shows the influence of the cold war on science fiction of the time. The “bad guys” in these stories, with one exception, aren’t aliens. It’s Russians, or Communists,  who pose the threat in these stories, but that doesn’t make them any less  enjoyable to read, except for the restrictions of one set of bad guys and of staying on Earth. That may make this the weakest set in the reprint series, but it’s still worthwhile reading, especially if, like me, you’re a fan of this author.  About the only things I could wish for here are an introduction and a few of the original interior illustrations. So far as I can tell, the cover illustration here, by the way, seems to have no basis in any of the stories.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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11 Responses to More Christopher Anvil

  1. George Kelley says:

    I loved those Christopher Anvil stories as a kid. I’m glad they’re being reprinted, but the collections aren’t chronological, they’re haphazard…like the covers.

  2. Richard says:

    They’re not really haphazard, George, they are just being collected topically instead of in straight chronological order, since He wrote different series scattered over the years. I like the way they are doing them, especially with all the Pandoras Planet stories in two volumes, then the Aline – Human stories in two more, and so forth. This is the weakest set, but that’s because Anvil’s take on the cold war is the least interesting to me.

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    My husband would love these. He’s been disappointed ever since the Commies stopped being the bad guys in literature and movies. Although now with the Russian mob, they are making a return as a “people.” Witness Cold Souls and Eastern Promises.

  4. Jeff S. says:

    I’ve become more and more interested in the works Baen has been reissuing.

    I don’t believe I’ve read any of Mr Anvil’s work. If I have a chance to pick up some of his best stories sometime what we you suggest I look for? Thanks.

  5. Carl V. says:

    To the best of my knowledge I have not read a Christopher Anvil story, something I obviously need to correct. One of the many things I love about 50’s and 60’s era science fiction is how the cold war influenced the writing, be it obvious or not. Like Jeff, I would echo the question of where to start with his short stories.

    As for Baen, I certainly respect them for the reprints they are doing, I just wish they would go a different route with their cover art. With the exception of a few of the Honor covers I generally find myself unimpressed with their work. The Heinlein reprints aren’t bad other than the graphics still have that ‘Baen’ look about them. It makes them recognizable, I’ll give them that, but doesn’t inspire me to pick up an unknown (to me) author like other companies’ cover art does.

  6. Richard says:

    Jeff – I’d suggest you pick up either Interstellar Patrol or The Trouble with Aliens.

  7. Richard says:

    I agree with you about the art, but the work they are doing with the writers is great. Christopher Anvil’s stories had been out of print for decades, about the only way to read them was to find the old issues of the magazines they were published in, such as Astounding Science Fiction and Galaxy. Thus I forgive them the covers. They are also reprinting a lot of Poul Anderson’s good stuff, such as the Flandry stories and the “Polesotechnic League” stories, which they are doing complete in three volumes. I have them in hand.

  8. Bill Crider says:

    I’m really appreciative of what Baen’s doing with their collections of older SF. Some of them, by the way, are free for Kindle users.

  9. Bill Crider says:

    I just checked. Interstellar Patrol is one of the freebies.

  10. Carl V. says:

    thanks for the advice on where to start with Anvil.

    I love it when any publisher reprints out of print material, it is great for the fans and for those of us who hear about some story and then can’t track it down without paying some high price on ebay.

    One of the things I like about Hard Case Crimes is that they are reprinting older material as well as new stuff.

    I still wish for different Baen cover art though. 🙂

  11. Jeff S. says:

    Richard – Thanks for the Anvil suggestions. I appreciated the links as well because I had never been over to the Baen website. I just spent the last 20 minutes looking around there and found the Baen free library. Very cool.

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