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A Pail of Air

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  132 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Reprint of 1964 paperback.

Contains the short stories:
A Pail of Air (1951)
The Beat Cluster (1961)
The Foxholes of Mars (1952)
Pipe Dream (1959)
Time Fighter (1957)
The 64-Square Madhouse (1962)
Bread Overhead (1958)
The Last Letter (1958)
Rump-Titty-Titty-Tum-TAH-Tee (1958)
Coming Attraction (1950)
Nice Girl with Five Husbands (1951)
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published December 1st 1976 by Amereon Limited (first published 1951)
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Mar 17, 2016 EggSalad rated it really liked it
A classic story -- found on I remember reading this as a kid and thinking about it for days. Holds up pretty well.
Jane Olsen
May 11, 2014 Jane Olsen rated it really liked it
This review is just for the story, "A Pail of Air," which I read in the outstanding collection, Tomorrow's Children, edited by Isaac Asimov.

This is a fascinating story that captures one facet of the science-fiction response to the advent of nuclear weapons and the possibility that human beings could in fact destroy their own planet. Although this story envisions a different cause, the "post-apocalyptic" scenario easily follows any armageddon-type event. I love some of the writing and the way the
Aug 08, 2016 Tim rated it it was amazing
I've always found Fritz Lieber's works enjoyable and since they date back to before I was born (even with me being OLD LOL), I've been reading them spread out over more than four decades - his sword and sorcery books when I was a wee lad. I know this isn't for everyone and some less than others. To really embrace the old, classic SF from the 50's you have to first get past the Hollywood idea of SF being about technology and predicting the future - something it was never intended to. Rather, it i ...more
Dec 26, 2012 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dated sci-fi. It can either be charming or cringe-worthy. Most of this is unfortunately the latter. Although there are a few gems in here too. Probably the best is the opening and title story, A Pail of Air. Much more timeless than the others, and much more engaging. As a short story, I would rate it 4. As a collection, I would rate it 2.
Aleksandar Trapara
May 20, 2013 Aleksandar Trapara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, antiwar
This story clearly attempts to fall into the category of hard science fiction, but a few scientific inaccuracies make it a bit flawed, even for the fifties.

I like the overall idea -- the 'Big Jerk' event during which the Earth was ejected from its system by an extinguished nomad star or maybe a black hole, so the temperatures dropped to the point where the planet's atmosphere freezes. Some details are pretty elaborate -- long-distance radio communications are rendered impossible since the ionosp
Jul 20, 2016 Claudia rated it it was ok
I think of this story as a very well written sci-fi short story. Alas well written texts can still fall far from the mark because of scientific flaws and inaccuracies. And that's what happened with this text. It speaks of a sun who stopped shining....and a moon that went away and somehow Earth was still in place. We know that's not correct. And that destroys your ability to like this text. It's unfortunate. I'd liked to have given it more stars. But 2 stars it is. And it is too much.
 ✍ K.D.
I looked every where for A Pail of Air after hearing about it on the radio. I thought the synopsis was fascinating and couldn't wait to read it. Well, after finally coming across a copy, and reading the very short story, I felt highly disappointed. Here's why:

After a rogue planet, or black hole, or something, pulls earth out of its orbit, it freezes. Now, I read this a few years ago, so I can't remember exactly what happened, but I'm assuming they had no air, because the ozone and everything was
David Allen
Leiber's first collection, from 1964, shows off his inventive ideas and sophisticated prose, among the genre's best. Four of these 11 tales were later in The Best of Fritz Leiber, which is a good batting average. Two stories deal amusingly with Beat culture and another, the longest, is about a chess tournament against a computer.
Aug 08, 2013 Malcolm rated it liked it
Note: this is a review only of the story "A Pail of Air", which I read online (it's out of copyright or used by permission).

An interesting short story, well told from the perspective of a young person who lives with his father, mother, and sister on an Earth that has been pulled away from the sun by a passing black hole or dwarf star.

It's creepy at times, nearly going into horror. It probably could be criticized for being a bit loose with the scientific details, which might very well be a big i
Ken Buhmeyer
Jul 30, 2016 Ken Buhmeyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Science Fiction?

Sure, but catastrophe could happen on Earth.
Well written, suspense, insight. Elements of Lost Horizon, and Space genera stories.
We should investigate world survival mechanisms more than we do.
(Only read the short story of this title via Project Gutenberg)
Aug 18, 2016 Hentai rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it a lot, but was expecting some kind of punch in the end that didn't came. But maybe thats a good thing.
Frank Rosenblat
Mar 12, 2013 Frank Rosenblat rated it it was amazing
Excellent classic short science fiction. A short, imaginative story which I've frequently remembered for years after reading it.
Feb 25, 2011 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
An excellent post apocalyptic short story, one of my faves.
Alberto Martín de Hijas
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Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr. was one of the more interesting of the young writers who came into HP Lovecraft's orbit, and some of his best early short fiction is horror rather than sf or fantasy. He found his mature voice early in the first of the sword-and-sorcery adventures featuring the large sensitive barbarian Fafhrd and the small street-smart-ish Gray Mouser; he returned to this series at variou ...more
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