Tee Jay's Reviews > The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology

The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction by Gordon Van Gelder
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Jun 24, 2010

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bookshelves: short-story-collection, science-fiction
Read in June, 2010 — I own a copy

The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is the most recent anthology to be published by the magazine bearing the same name. It is not a bad short-story collection, although I have to say that the first half is much better than the second. Some stories really have a lasting effect, like "Flowers for Algernon," while others, for a selection celebrating 60 years of publication, are really just so-so. One of the latter that immediately comes to mind is Ursula Le Guin's "Solitude," a feminist sexual-political diatribe layered in allegory a.k.a. Speculative Fiction. I'm also not big on unicorns, so story Beagle's story "Two Hearts" was kind of a dud.

I also think that Stephen King's "The Gunslinger" was a poor selection, not because it was bad (The Dark Tower is one of my favourite stories of all time) but rather because it just was not a good fit. Essentially, the selection in The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology is only the first chapter of the novel called The Gunslinger and so I don't think including such a limiting part of the book does the story any justice. Furthermore, it wastes pages that could have otherwise gone to a story more deserving. Nonetheless, although the second half of the collection is so-so, the very last story in the anthology by Ted Chiang, "The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate," might be the best story in the whole collection. It is great.

So all in all, the stories in this anthology are a little too overtly political, and a little too dark to make it great.
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Reading Progress

04/14/2010 page 161
33.89%
06/21/2010 page 279
58.0% "About to start "The Dark.""
06/21/2010 page 297
62.0% "Very interesting story, "The Dark.""
06/22/2010 page 329
69.0% "Halfway through Ursula Le Guin's story. So far this story is just so-so."
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