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The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  170 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Featuring more than sixty groundbreaking short stories by modern science fiction's most important and influential writers, The Ascent of Wonder offers a definitive and incisive exploration of the SF genre's visionary core.From Poe to Pohl, Wells to Wolfe, and Verne to Vinge, this hefty anthology fully charts the themes, trends, thoughts, and traditions that comprise the ch ...more
Paperback, 992 pages
Published August 15th 1997 by Orb Books (first published 1994)
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Paul Bryant
Nov 01, 2008 Paul Bryant marked it as sf-anthologies-to-finish
Contains one of PB's Classic SF Stories:

"Mimsy were the Borogoves" by Henry Kuttner and maybe also by his wife C L Moore too (1943)

Imagine if Lewis Carroll had been around to collect on the copyright to Jaberwocky and Alice and so forth - literature's best-loved paedophile would have been RICH RICH RICH but would also probably have been in JAIL JAIL JAIL.

This story is great - kids discover a box of gorgeous new toys which have fallen out of the future. The toys begin to educate the kids which is
Dec 10, 2012 StrangeBedfellows rated it liked it
This was my textbook in a literature class on science fixture. It's a good choice for a general survey of science fiction, especially in a compare/contrast sort of way. It really does illustrate the evolution of sci-fi, particularly the development of common themes. The stories within include a lot of classic, well-known tales. Some were better than others. On a whole, most of the stories were not ones I would have read outside of a class setting, which is why I rated this at only 2 1/2 stars. R ...more
Chris Moriarty
May 01, 2011 Chris Moriarty is currently reading it
I've been 'currently reading' this and its companion volume, Hard SF Renaissance, for years. It's a wonderful overview of the genre. Highly recommend it, both to fans who want to delve into the history of the genre and to writers who want to read the best of the best in order to hone their craft.
Feb 09, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, short story fans
There are so many sci fi surveys on the market it would be almost impossible to read them all. That said, David Hartwell is one of the best anthologists out there. Focusing on "hard" science stories was a wise move, I think. My only complaint, and the reason I couldn't stick that extra star up there on the rating, was because many of the stories contained here were already in my other sci fi anthologies. Still, if you don't already own a large number of anthologies, and you're looking for someth ...more
Feb 02, 2008 Angel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science_fiction
At the time, this was the third Hartwell anthology I had read. It presents stories that have a solid foundation in sciences and math, which the editors define as hard scifi. It had creative, interesting, and very readable stories. My impression back then, this was like sipping a fine wine, as opposed to other light scifi books, which would be like sipping a cola or water. You can have them all in the end, and I do read the lighter stuff too. I do recommend this one.
my oldest brother gave me this book as a birthday present when i was a senior in high school, and i couldn't sleep soundly for months afterwards. seriously, i felt like a scared toddler shaking in diapers after reading this story called "The Xi Effect," in which all the light in the world goes out. it's hard for me to judge this book on a scale measuring how much i liked it, because all i remember is being utterly terrified.
What a tome! It's a pretty interesting narration of the history of sci-fi. It's just a little too ambitious - let's not start with Nathaniel Hawthorne. The breadth makes an interesting collection but unless I plan on being marooned on Ellfive Prime, I'll stick to volumes with a readable typeset. I'm not 30 anymore, y'know?
Oct 05, 2008 Velveeta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very nice compilation spanning the entire time of hard scifi. good mix of the extremes of the genre as well - for instance: william gibson's johnny mnemonic has very little real 'hard science' in it, but is still a hard scifi story and worthy of inclusion.
recommended for all fans of scifi and those interested in the progress of scifi in the 20th century.
Sep 05, 2010 Quizaya rated it liked it
Went to the sci fi museum in seattle and resolved to read everything there was about the history and evolution of sci fi. So much out there and so little time. Am about 4/5 of way through. Basically a collection of short stories, some I have read, some I have not.
Nov 11, 2008 Avdi rated it it was amazing
What a great collection of stories. Worth it just for "All mimsy were the borogroves" and Kipling's "With the Night Mail", but there's so much more quality material here
May 25, 2010 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Must read! A must, must, must if you want to dip your toe into Science Fiction. Must. Must, I said!
Jul 15, 2013 Martin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This an essential collection for any fan of science fiction, new or existing
Nov 16, 2011 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Some of the best science fiction in the world. I've literally read the covers off this collection - and it's hardbound!
Feb 06, 2012 Hazel marked it as to-read
I really shouldn't be adding anything more to my to-read list; and certainly not something that's going to take time and concentration. Greedy girl!
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David Geddes Hartwell was an American editor of science fiction and fantasy. He worked for Signet (1971-1973), Berkley Putnam (1973-1978), Pocket (where he founded the Timescape imprint, 1978-1983, and created the Pocket Books Star Trek publishing line), and Tor (where he spearheaded Tor's Canadian publishing initiative, and was also influential in bringing many Australian writers to the US market ...more
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