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The Best of L. Sprague de Camp

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  124 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
This contains: Hyperpilosity; Language for Time Travelers; The Command; The Merman; Employment; The Gnarly Man; Reward of Virtue; Nothing in the Rules; The Hardwood Pile; The Reluctant Shaman; The Inspector's Teeth; The Ameba; The Guided Man; Judgment Day; A Gun for Dinosaur; The Emperor's Fan; Two Yards of Dragon; and The Little Green Men.
Mass Market Paperback, 362 pages
Published May 1978 by Del Rey (first published 1978)
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Nov 07, 2015 Richard rated it liked it
This volume provides a generous collection of the science-fiction and fantasy of L. Sprague de Camp. There is also a non-fiction essay on language, three poems, and a short auto-biographical "Afterword".
The tone of most of the stories is lightly satiric and humorous but "Judgement Day" is a powerful and very dark piece indeed.

Personally, I think that the author's work is at its best in the collaborations with Fletcher Pratt. Nonetheless, though the quality of the individual selections is variab
Jul 16, 2014 Mike rated it liked it
De Camp is always pretty solid, and this collection of some of his stories (plus one famous essay about how English might change over the coming centuries) is pretty good. My favorites would be "The Command" and "Hyperpilosity" (two very early sci-fi pieces) and "The emperor's fan" and "Two yards of dragon," two later fantasy tales. "Hyperpilosity" is a satirical story, perhaps most interesting because De Camp describes a prion-based disease long before prions were even known to exist. "The comm ...more
John W
A collection of short stories by L Sprague De Camp with a forward by Poul Anderson.


"L. Sprague de Camp — Engineer and Sorcerer" by Poul Anderson
"Language for Time Travelers"
"The Command"
"The Merman"
"The Gnarly Man"
"Reward of Virtue" (poem)
"Nothing in the Rules"
"The Hardwood Pile"
"The Reluctant Shaman"
"The Inspector's Teeth"
"The Guided Man"
"The Ameba" (poem)
"Judgment Day"
"A Gun for Dinosaur"
"The Emperor's Fan"
"Two Yards of Dragon"
"The Little
Oct 29, 2011 Samuel rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I smiled, I giggled, I learnt. De Camp's short stories are unlike any other, no matter whether he attempt horror, fantasy or science fiction, the result is always similarly whimsical. In reality I feel that these stories should be quizzically frowned at, or shrugged off as juvenile and absurd, but it's hard to do so. Despite utter madness such as mankind becoming hairy and liking it, an intelligent bear saving the world, or the reanimation of a mammoth fossil, these stories are all tongue-in-che ...more
Keith Davis
Nov 26, 2009 Keith Davis rated it it was amazing
De Camp was a master of a special style of short story that was published in the pulp magazines of the Forties and Fifties. These are humorous stories in which one element of fantasy or speculative science gets introduced into the everyday world and the consequences are logically worked out. For example, what if a virus caused all its victims to grow fur, or what if dryads turned out to be real. I love this type of story, but very few writers attempt this style anymore.
May 27, 2010 Charles rated it liked it
Shelves: read-and-gone
I can't compare to much other stuff he's written. I'd read Lest Darkness Fall, and maybe one other book by him.

The stories were pretty hit and miss. A couple were great. Some were ok. A couple didn't really have anything in them. I wouldn't say any were BAD, at least.

It was a light read-after reading The Brothers Karamazov, that was my main concern.
Norman Felchle
Nov 13, 2014 Norman Felchle rated it really liked it
Good solid old time SF. A lot of stories from the 30's including, "Employment" from 1939. About bringing back pre-historic creatures through their DNA.
An idea like that would make a good movie.......
Tom Fredricks
Jan 10, 2014 Tom Fredricks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
This collection was remarkable for the out of the box and humorous nature of the stories. I also especially enjoyed De Camp's dialogue. He takes pains to write in the vernacular of whatever character he's speaking for.

Excellent collection of stories, well worth the read.
Sep 29, 2007 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DeCamp was a contemporary of Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein, etc, who got his start in John Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction magazine, as most of 'em did. This is a collection of his short stories. They range from entertaining to mildly profound.
The Best of L. Sprague De Camp by L. Sprague de Camp (1978)
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Lyon Sprague de Camp, (Pseudonym: Lyman R. Lyon) was an American science fiction and fantasy author and biographer. In a writing career spanning fifty years he wrote over one hundred books, including novels and notable works of nonfiction, such as biographies of other important fantasy authors.He was widely regarded as an imaginative and innovative writer and was an important figure in the heyday ...more
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