ffb: The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus

this is the 124th in my series of posts on forgotten or seldom read books

The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus ed. by Brian W. Aldiss Penguin 1973 mass market paperback

The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus

One of several covers this omnibus had.

This is the paperback I got at River City Books that I wrote about a while back (here). It’s a lot of book, a lot of science fiction and a lot of it quite good science fiction, especially for a buck. I’d read almost all of these stories, one time or another, one place or another, some of them back when I was a regular reader of Astounding Science Fiction, later Analog. Some of them I read in other collections I had or got from the library. I probably have several of them in other books on my shelves. But it’s nice to have them all between one set of covers.

This omnibus collects three earlier collections:
Penguin Science Fiction (1961)
More Penguin Science Fiction (1963)
Yet More Penguin Science Fiction (1964)

So you get three books in one. The three Penguin SF books combined here were never intended to be focused collections, instead each was more of an overview volume. You could hand this omnibus to someone and say “Read this and you’ll have a pretty good overview of SF short fiction of the Fifties and early Sixties.” and you’d be right.

Take a gander at the table of contents and you’ll see this is a pretty darn good collection. Sure, you’ve probably read many of them before, but that doesn’t take the fun, or punch, out of them.

Introduction – Brian W. Aldiss in
“Sole Solution “ by Eric Frank Russell (Fantastic Universe Apr ’56)
“Lot “ by Ward Moore (F&SF May ’53)
“The Short-Short Story of Mankind “ by John Steinbeck (Lilliput Nov ’55)
“Skirmish “ by Clifford Simak (Amazing Dec ’50)
“Poor Little Warrior! “ by Brian W. Aldiss ( ss F&SF Apr ’58
“Grandpa” James H. Schmitz (Astounding Feb ’55)
“The Half Pair” Bertram Chandler (New Worlds Nov ’57)
“Command Performance” Walter M. Miller, Jr. (Galaxy Nov ’52)
“Nightfall” Isaac Asimov (Astounding Sep ’41)
“The Snowball Effect” Katherine MacLean (Galaxy Sep ’52)
“The End of Summer” Algis Budrys (Astounding Nov ’54)
“Track 12” J. G. Ballard (New Worlds Apr ’58)
“The Monkey Wrench” Gordon R. Dickson (Astounding Aug ’51)
“The First Men” Howard Fast (F&SF Feb ’60)
“Counterfeit” Alan E. Nourse (Thrilling Wonder Stories Aug ’52)
“The Greater Thing” Tom Godwin (Astounding Feb ’54)
“Built Up Logically” Howard Schoenfeld (F&SF Fall ’50 as “Retort”
“The Liberation of Earth” William Tenn (Future May ’53)
“An Alien Agony” Harry Harrison (New Worlds Sep ’62)
“The Tunnel Under the World” Frederik Pohl (Galaxy Jan ’55)
“The Store of the Worlds” Robert Sheckley (Playboy Sep ’59
“Jokester” Isaac Asimov (Infinity Science Fiction Dec ’56)
“Pyramid” Robert Abernathy (Astounding Jul ’54)
“The Forgotten Enemy” Arthur C. Clarke (King’s College Review Dec ’48)
“The Wall Around the World” Theodore R. Cogswell (Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’53)
“Protected Species” H. B. Fyfe (Astounding Mar ’51)
“Before Eden” Arthur C. Clarke (Amazing Jun ’61)
“The Rescuer” Arthur Porges (Analog Jul ’62)
“I Made You” Walter M. Miller, Jr. (Astounding Mar ’54)
“The Country of the Kind” Damon Knight (F&SF Feb ’56)
“MS. Found in a Chinese Fortune Cookie” C. M. Kornbluth (F&SF Jul ’57)
“The Cage” Bertram Chandler (F&SF Jun ’57)
“Eastward Ho!” William Tenn (F&SF Oct ’58)
“The Windows of Heaven” John Brunner (New Worlds May ’56 as “Two by Two”)
“Common Time” James Blish (Science Fiction Quarterly Aug ’53)
“Fulfillment” A. E. van Vogt (New Tales of Space and Time, ed. Raymond J. Healy, Holt, 1951)

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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11 Responses to ffb: The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus

  1. Todd Mason says:

    I’d certainly pick it up, if it was presented to me…I’ve read only about half of those. Nice mix of consensus classics and mildly obscure bits, some of the latter by major writers, some of the former by folks mostly remembered for these stories.

  2. Todd Mason says:

    Hm. Looking at the list again, that last is mostly true of “Built Up Logically”…

  3. Pingback: ffb: The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus | Todd DeanTodd Dean

  4. macavityabc says:

    Some unfamiliar titles there. I guess I need to check this one out.

  5. Like Todd, I’ve read about half of these stories. But I want to read the rest! I’ll have to find a copy of this omnibus edition. What a bargain for a buck!

  6. I’m pretty sure I have a copy of this. GOtta make sure this evening.

  7. Richard says:

    Todd, that was my assessment when I looked up the TOC before I hunted it out. Budrys was sure right about this one. As for Howard Schoenfeld, who has even heard of him these days?

  8. Jerry House says:

    Aldiss has always amazed for his versatility as a writer, editor, and critic. The three volumes that make up this omnibus are among the first five that he edited; the other two — INTRODUCING SCIENCE FICTION (1964) and BEST FANTASY STORIES (1961) — show the same quality and thought of selection.

  9. Thanks, Richard, I’ll be looking out for this Omnibus.

  10. Richard says:

    Bill, George, Charles, this is a darn good collection of stories and cheap copies are available. Algis Budrys said it was great when it came out and it still is.

  11. Richard says:

    Jerry, Aldis was, some think, a better editor than writer, though I’m not sure I’d agree.

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