Stephen's Reviews > From These Ashes: The Complete Short SF of Fredric Brown

From These Ashes by Fredric Brown
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Jun 27, 11

bookshelves: on-deck-next, collected-works-of, short-fiction, 2000-2005, science-fiction
Read from February 07 to June 26, 2011

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I’ll be a while reading through this HEFTY collection of well over 100 science fiction short stories, but the thought of it makes me smile and gives me a full on happy. Fredric Brown was a true artist of the short fiction format. Often called the O. Henry of science fiction because of his penchant for the “trick ending,” Brown’s stories are simply delightful to consume. Always well-written, they alternate between “toe tapping” fun to “nail-biting” suspense and most of the stories also have something clever or insightful to say about the human condition.

With so many entries in the collection, I think it would be a novel in itself to try and do a detailed review of each story. Therefore, I am simply going to breakdown the stories I have read so far a place them in one of four groups (according to my level of appreciation for them) and then toss a blurb about the story (this will of course be revised as I get through more of the stories).

THE SUPERBEST

Armageddon: A smart, funny story about a little boy and the end of the world.

The New One: An original, imaginative story about the power of belief.

Paradox Lost: Simply brilliant short piece about sanity, insanity and dinosaurs.

The Weapon: Genius and very powerful piece about War.

Arena: Brown’s most famous story (thanks to the Star trek episode of the same name). Selected as one of the top 20 all time SF Short Stories of All Time).

THE EXCELLENTNESS

Runaround: A beautiful, poignant story about the last T-Rex as seen through the dying creatures on eyes.

Not Yet the End:A great ending highlights this comical tale about aliens, monkeys and man’s place in the universe.

The Angelic Angleworm: Smart, meaningful and humorous novelette with another classic ending.

The Geezenstacks: One of FB’s more famous pieces about a family of dolls that are much more than they appear.

THE VERY GOODIE TO THE BARELY GREAT

Etaoin Shrdlu: Another great ending highlights this tale of a sentient linotype machine.

The Hat Trick: Terrific, intelligent story about the inability of people to “see” the fantastic.


THE RESTEST**So far these have been at least decent.

Star Mouse Not a bad story about a smart little critter, but my least favorite so far.

Daymare Neat novelette about a Martian policeman investigating a very bizarre murder.


**TO BE CONTINUED
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Jakob (last edited Jun 26, 2011 05:43PM) (new) - added it

Jakob Here's a great (audio) compilation for you to check out if you have the chance: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/86...


Stephen Thanks, Jakob. That looks like an all star line up. I will have to see if it is available on audible.com.


message 3: by Lea (new)

Lea Dang it, Stephen -- now you're making me want to read SF?! You're too persuasive -- and these are just blurbs!


Stephen Lea wrote: "Dang it, Stephen -- now you're making me want to read SF?! You're too persuasive -- and these are just blurbs!"

Lea, even if you don't read a lot of SF, I have a feeling you might appreciate Fredric Brown. He is not spaceships and laserbeams. He is SF like Twilight Zone was SF; just short, well written stories with a "fantastic" element to it and a great ending that has something to say about who we are. Nothing hardcore here, more like a nice stroll through a literary meadow with a few funny aliens appearing to spice things up. I'll stop now because I'm gushing. :)


An Odd1 We both rated Armageddon 5*, YES. (I'm a wimp on horror.) Fredric spoils me for other authors.
Your review says "to be continued" but I found the hard way, over 20K char too big for GR. I don't know if there is a limit on comments, but if you want to post a bigger review, or a link somewhere, after mine on my blog, you're welcome to do so.
http://aneyespy.blogspot.com/2012/03/...


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