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Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century
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Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century

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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  669 ratings  ·  48 reviews

An overview of the best science fiction short stories of the 20th century as selected and evaluated by critically-acclaimed author Orson Scott Card.

Featuring stories from the genre's greatest authors:

Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, George Alec Effinger, Brian W. Aldiss, William Gibson &

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Hardcover, 422 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Ace Hardcover
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(showing 1-30 of 1,479)
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Matthew
Well, I finally finished it going about 1 story a day. "sandkings," "call me joe," "all you zombies--," "tunesmith," "dark they were, and golden-eyed," "repent harlequin," and "inconstant moon" are probably my favorites in this collection. Overall a wonderful collection. A must read for everyone. I would highly recommend this book to others.

Another compilation book to tackle, another batch of individual reviews. My review of the book overall is subject to change with each story read.

1. "Call me...more
Dore' Ripley
Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game, collects together a fine group of short science fiction from the Golden Age, New Wave and Media Generation. New readers of the genre will get a good grounding in Golden Age science fiction with stories like Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe," a story that explores what it means to be human (literally. Theodore Sturgeon's "A Saucer of Loneliness" presents an updated look at a message in a bottle.

The New Wave contains Harlan Ellison's classic "Repent, Harlequin!" Said...more
Jesse Jones
I love this book. It was used as one of the textbooks for a sci-fi literature class I took and it has been one of my favorites ever since. My copy is taped together with love due to the amount of travel it's gone through with me.

It contains masterworks by some of the best writers in sci-fi and is a great starting point for finding your next favorite author or book.

There are so many great stories here that I have repeated to many friends in rote fashion - they are that memorable.

I can't recomme...more
Osmyska
The Golden Age
Poul Anderson - Call me Joe ***** perfect!
Robert A. Heinlein - All You Zombies—" ***
Lloyd Biggle, Jr. - Tunesmith ***
Theodore Sturgeon - A Saucer of Loneliness***
Isaac Asimov - Robot Dreams ***
Edmond Hamilton - Devolution ****
Arthur C. Clarke - The Nine Billion Names of God ***
James Blish - A Work of Art *
Ray Bradbury - Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed ***

The New Wave
Harlan Ellison - "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman **
R.A. Lafferty - Eurema's Dam **
Robert Silverberg - Pass...more
Kelly
I had never really read much science fiction before this, much less enjoyed short stories. I guess I've always imagined the genre as the stereotype: the cold, hard-calculated science that I couldn't possibly comprehend. Instead, I found that there is variety, soft and hard, some dealing with music, some with loneliness, etc. This book has a good selection of stories that has made me want to dive further into science fiction. I had to read a few stories out of this for class: I ended up reading t...more
Dan
That is quite the grandiose title. Unfortunately, the book does not live up to it. There are definitely some great stories in here. My favorite is probably "The Road Not Taken" by Harry Turtledove. But there are also plenty of so-so stories. There were a couple that were awful. I had to force myself to finish those. The introduction to each story is a very dry history of the author's works that adds nothing to the enjoyment of the book. In looking back over the list of stories in this book, I wa...more
Rafal Jasinski
Zbiór opowiadań arcymistrzów science-fiction, choć niekoniecznie "arcydzieł", zarówno gatunku, jak i dorobku poszczególnych pisarzy. "Selekcjoner" podszedł do sprawy dość subiektywnie i posłużył się kluczem doboru raczej mniej powszechnie znanych - ale, zważywszy na nagrody, jakimi je obsypano, uznanych - krótkich form mistrzów fantastyki naukowej. Oczywiście, gusta pozostają gustami, ale w kilku przypadkach do zaszczytnego miana arcydzieł, niektórym z zamieszczonych tu opowiadań, co nieco, brak...more
Todd
Extremely uneven book. The knowledgeable reader can probably sense the uneveness by scanning the table of contents and will be able to fairly predict which stories are masterpieces and which ones aren't.

The collection is divided into three eras of stories and for my money, the middle or 'New Wave' era comes off the best- Every story in this section is great, but particularly the ones by Ellison, Aldiss, Le Guin and Niven. The beginning section or 'The Golden Age' has quite a few grand stories as...more
Ris
Masterpieces is, as the title suggests, a collection of science fiction short stories from the 20th century. The book breaks the stories down into eras: the Golden Age, New Wave, and the Media Generation.

Card's anthology does a very good job at sampling from both across eras and across sub-genres of science fiction in order to provide the introductory reader with a wide variety. There's both hard, extremely technological science fiction short stories alongside dystopian and social commentaries....more
Fiona
A very worthy collection of science fiction stories - most of which I'm slightly ashamed to say I hadn't read previously, given how many classics are present - ranging from 'The Golden Age' up to more contemporary stories. In any anthology, there are going to be hits and misses for most readers, and this was no exception for me, but the hits made it well worth the time invested, and there were definitely more hits than misses.

The stories are separated into three chronological sections: 'The Gol...more
Rin
Dla fanów sf być może pozycja obowiązkowa, a może lista opowiadań, które i tak wszyscy już dawno znają. Dla mnie, jako fanki fantasy było to ciekawe doświadczenie. Poleciłabym każdemu fanowi fantasy, który dotrze do momentu, w którym nie chce się ograniczać do gatunku lub najzwyczajniej w świecie zapragnie drobnej odmiany. Poleciłabym nawet osobom, które nie mają z tymi dwoma gatunkami nic wspólnego, jako że niektóre opowiadania dotyczą problemów tak społecznych jak i jednostki - coś co może (ch...more
Laura
There is a vast disconnect between the tenor of Orson Scott Card's novels and what he clearly enjoys in short stories. The stories in this collection are almost unilaterally depressing. Some off them are good, but all are depressing.

I made it about halfway through the comprehensive collection of Card's own short stories before I gave up in the face of the horror, sadness and hopelessness found within. Maybe he directs all of his efforts in "literature" toward the short story form, but I maintai...more
Joseph Schlesinger
Damn you, Neil Gaiman! You got me interested in R. A. Lafferty, so my search for some of his stories led me to this anthology, which includes "Eurema's Dam." Other prominent sci-fi & fantasy writers of the 20th century are well represented. I knew this was a classy collection when I skimmed the table of contents & saw Robert Heinlein's "All You Zombies--," one of my favorite short stories. (But not THE favorite--that would be Joseph Conrad's "Youth," tho' that's hardly science fiction.)...more
Adrik
Vários bons momentos de sci-fi.
Call me Joe prenuncia Avatar.
Gostei muito da invasão frustrada dos Roxolani em The road not taken.
Andrew
Orson Scott Card has great taste in science fiction. Amazing collection.
John S
Overall, its very good collection of stories. Unfortunately, like most collections, there are definitely going to be a few stories that will not enjoy at all. A few of my favorites in here are Harry Turtledove's "The Road Not Taken," Gibson and Swanwick's "Dogfight," Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," and Asimov's "Robot Dreams." In my opinion, the collection is worth the price for those stories alone. If you like reading science fiction or short stories at all you'll...more
Andrea
This was a great collection of science fiction short stories. I liked almost all of them, and they were all thought-provoking. Some were clever, some were scary, some were funny, some were only too true. George R. R. Martin's "Sandkings" stands out as one of the ones that most affected me. Heinlein's "All You Zombies" is a classic that I think I had read before, or at least heard about. "Tunesmith" and "Tourists" I also liked. Anyone who has even the tiniest smidgen of interest in science fictio...more
Jota Houses
Un recorrido simpático por algunas de las historias representativas de la Ciencia Ficción. Para pasar el rato.
Michael
Some of the stories in this book are outstanding and deserve the title "Masterpieces," but some of them aren't quite at that level. Mostly I feel like this book is a "who's who" of Science Fiction, which sometimes presents the author's best story, but others just feel like a story by an influential author. The introductions are informative, and tell us why we are reading anything by this author, but some of the stories didn't feel worthy of the title of the book.
Jacob
A pretty good collection of short stories. Normal collections have a lot of ups and downs, and it's fortunate if you find more than two stories you like a lot. Since this is supposed to be some of the best, it should have more and does. All of the stories are readable.

Card's introductions to each author are a bit long and dry, but if you're interested in tracking down more material from that author they should be quite useful.
julia
As Anthologies go, it's quite good. I loved the first two parts of the book. Several of the stories were quite good, and reminded me why I like science fiction in the first place. Alas, I did not get to the third, more recent section of the book (i.e. more recent authors), so I have to put 'stopped reading' on my status, but I did finish many of them. And liked them.
Lindsey
This is a very interesting book, with tons of differents Sci-Fi storys from the 20th century. Some of the older ones are pretty strange, but others are good reads if you want something you could just pick up. Orson Scott Card wrote the introduction, but there aren't any shorts by him... There is a very interesting one by Isacc Asimov, or whaterver that guy's name is...
Erik
Out....standing! My favs here: “Call me Joe” “All You Zombies” “Tunesmith” “A Saucer of Loneliness” “Robot Dreams” “A Work of Art” “Dark They Were and golden Eyed” “The One Who Walk Away From Omelas” “Inconstant Moon” “Dogfight” “Snow” “Rat” “Bears Discover Fire” “Tourists.” Add Dozois 20 years of Best of the Best to this and you have some great stuff.
Eremite
I'm not sure how to give a star rating to an anthology with a bunch of different authors. I thought some of the stories were good, some were bad and some were in between (or both). But I trust that Orson Scoot Card chose each for a good reason and I feel like I was taken on a good tour of the Best Science Fiction of the Century.
Jenni V.
Overall, a great collection of sci-fi stories. My personal preferences caused me to lose steam at the end with the more recent stories (all the ones from the 80's seemed so bleak and hopeless), but the majority of the earlier ones were very good, and "Tunesmith" was one of the best short stories I've ever read.
Octavio Botana
Menudos descubrimientos hay aquí: Heinlein, Terry Bisson, Karen Joy Fowler, John Kessel, Theodore Sturgeon, pero sobre todo Harlan Ellison. El de Arthur C. Clarke es tremendo también.
Recomiendo leerlo en un espacio extraño. El mío ha sido la playa, y ha funcionado extremadamente bien como entorno. Muy recomendable.
Brian Berns
This is a fine collection, but I bought it for a single story: Sandkings by George R. R. Martin, which is one of the best short stories of any genre that I have ever read. Gripping, horrifying, perfectly structured. I've re-read this story several times now over the years and it only gets better each time.
Taylor
Alright, I am changing my review. I put the last one in right after I finished my least favorite story. When I went through and looked at them again I realized how many of the stories I really enjoyed. So this is now a 4.37 star review. really liked some of the stories (Sandkings).
Ben
There are some great stories in here, enough for any SF fan to drool over. My favorites, in no particular order: Inconstant Moon, Robot Dreams, The Nine Billion Names of God, "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktock Man, Sandkings, Rat, The Road Not Taken, A Clean Escape, One.
Suzanne
My favorite genre of fiction and my favorite format!

I especially enjoyed "Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed" by Ray Bradbury, "The Road Not Taken" by Harry Turtledove and "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin (one that has stuck with me for a long time.)
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th...more
More about Orson Scott Card...
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet, #2) Ender's Shadow (Ender's Shadow, #1) Xenocide (The Ender Quintet, #3) Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet, #4)

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