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The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume II B

(The Science Fiction Hall of Fame)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,196 ratings  ·  54 reviews
This volume is the definitive collection of the best science fiction novellas between 1929 to 1964 and contains eleven great classics. There is no better anthology that captures the birth of science fiction as a literary field.

Published in 1973 to honor stories that had come before the institution of the Nebula Awards, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame introduced tens of th
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Mass Market Paperback, 559 pages
Published January 1st 1976 by Avon Books (first published 1973)
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Ted
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, classics, have
3 1/2

This contains eleven novellas, advertised as the Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time. But (leaving aside the issue of what is a novella, what a short story) that can’t be right. Even though the selections were chosen by polling the SF Writers of America, the problem is that the book was published in 1973, and contains no selections individually published after 1961. All but one of the stories was published after 1946.

So what we really have is great SF novellas from the period 1947
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Stephen
I have not read all the stories in this collection, so this review will cover only those I have read so far (and I will update periodically as I read more over them):

THE MIDAS PLAGUE by Frederic Pohl (4.5 stars): Great novella about the "consummerism" gone wild. In a future where cheap energy and robot workers have made the production of consumer products "easy and cheap" the "poor" are forced to spend all their time in constant consumption in order to keep pace with the robots' extravagant prod
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Rasheed
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Martian Way (1952) by Isaac Asimov 5/5
Earthman, Come Home (1953) by James Blish 5/5
Rogue Moon (1960) by Algis Budrys 3/5
The Specter General (1952) by Theodore Cogswell 5/5
The Machine Stops (1909) by E.M. Forster 5/5
The Midas Plague (1954) by Frederik Pohl 4/5
The Witches of Karres (1949) by James H. Schmitz 5/5
E for Effort (1947) by T.L. Sherred 5/5
In Hiding (1948) by Wilmar H. Shiras 5/5
The Big Front Yard (1958) by Clifford D. Simak 5/5
The Moon Moth (1961) by Jack Vance 4/5
Ross
Nov 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scifi Fans, pulp fans
Some really excellent novellas in this volume, including one of my favorites (Rogue Moon). There were a couple that I completely glossed over and some others that were interesting in premise but I didn't like the execution. Given that most of them were written before 1950, I think that's to be expected, however.
Jerry
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a collection, this is interesting; not sure I’d call them the “greatest science fiction novellas of all time” in the way that the same series collects the best science fiction short stories.

Isaac Asimov’s The Martian Way starts out as a standard, moderately clumsy early fifties science fiction adventure. Quickly transforms into a beautiful description of working in space, and the real interactions of real people.

The description of the journey to Saturn is alone worth the read.

James Blish’s Ea
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Michael Tildsley
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable collection of science fiction novellas that completes the previous volume, IIA. Personally, I feel that it is a stronger collection than its predecessor. I thoroughly enjoyed several of the stories herein. Of the ones that I didn't care for as much, it can be said that each had a memorable, crafty, or unique issue that they focused upon.

I was particularly struck by the intriguing world-view of "The Machine Stops," as well as the visionary qualities of its author. Although it
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Jeffrey Dannaldson
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
These books changed my life. Without picking up the best short stories and novellas volumes in the early 1980s, I doubt I would have become the ravenous SF fan I became. The selection of stories and novellas is impeccable. READ IT.
Craig
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This second volume of classic novellas may be even better than the first. Great stuff from Pohl and Theodore Cogswell, favorites from Algis Budrys and Clifford Simak, the original Karres story by James H. Schmitz, Blish and Asimov... you can't go wrong with this collection.
Williwaw
Oct 03, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Gotta read this foundational series before matriculating to status of genuine sf geek. Two volumes down, one to go!
Scott Diamond
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: f-scifi-fantasy
3.5 Stars It is not surprising that some of these stories are great. What is surprising is that not all of these stories are great. As noted in the intro these are twenty-two novellas published from 1895 to 1962 which were selected by vote of the Science Fiction Writers of America. And yet a number of these stories were pretty bad. Were the choices really that limited? Do tastes vary that much? I thought they were interesting from a historical perspective but didn't meet my expectations.
Audra
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The odd thing about this book is that the stories were presented almost exactly in order from the ones I liked the best to the least. The Martian Way is brilliant. Moon Moth was still interesting, but difficult to read through, since the main character was so obnoxious. Overall, I liked these, but probably wouldn't reread.
James
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
A collection of the best SF novellas of the past 80 years. Some of my favorites from this collection include Algis Budrys's "Rogue Moon", E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops", and T. L. Sherred's "E For Effort".
Charles
Jul 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Good stories, of Novella length, but not as good as Volume IIA.
Michael
??? childhood: ‘in hiding’ inspiration for ‘x-men’...
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Jul 18, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: sci-fi
Volume II (Parts A and B) are "The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time".
Johnathan
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lot of the books drop you into the action right away. They either require a second or third reading or some background information for you to get an understanding of the background.

The Martian Way - 4/5 Martians and other colonies suddenly learn they are being cut off from further supply shipments from earth. They brazenly go on a chance expedition to recover a new source of essential supplies. It hasn't aged as well as the other books but it's spirit is unquestionable.

Earthman, Come Home (195
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Erin
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
This Volume is the weakest of the three. I was not interested in a majority of the stories in this compilation, and I found it difficult to finish.

Four stories stood out to me: Martian Way by Isaac Asimov, Earthman Come Home by James Blish, E for Effort by T. L. Sherred, and In Hiding by Wilmar H. Shiras. These stories saved this from being two stars. I particulary enjoyed the political quibble in Martian Way and feel it's somewhat in relevant today's political climate.

Other stories had potent
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Jim
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume 2B (1973) edited by Ben Bova, contains eleven science fiction novelettes and novellas. These stories aren’t as famous as the twenty-six short stories in Volume One, but if you read enough short science fiction, you’ll know Volume 2A and 2B contain among the best longer science fiction stories written before 1965.

• “The Martian Way” (1952) novelette by Isaac Asimov
• “Earthman, Come Home” (1953) novelette by James Blish
• “Rogue Moon” (1960) novella by Algis
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Brent Gaisford
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book deserves a four not because all the stories are good - far from it. But a few are wonderful, and overall it’s a very interesting view into a kind of short sci fi stories that don’t get written much anymore.

Here are the notably good stories:
The Spectre General by Theodore Cogswell, incredibly funny with very likable characters.

E for Effort by T L Sherred, for a grim take on the government and the desire of those in power to preserve that power, told with via an interesting device I’ve n
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Mark
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
This collection, edited by Ben Bova, is actually broken into two books. This volume contains eleven short novels and the other has thirteen.

The first story, "The Martian Way," by Isaac Asimov, has me dumbfounded. Not because it's confusing or intricate, but because I can't understand how this story is the one chosen to represent the work of possibly the greatest science-fiction writer of all time. It's a counter-environmentalist piece about Martian scavengers who heroically journey to Saturn's r
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Mike
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Volume 2B of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame contains 11 novellas from before the age of the Nebula Award. All were published between 1909 and 1961. Because of their age they suffer from the fact technology has moved on since they were written, but that doesn't distract from the stories, most of which were excellent and those that weren't were very good. The plots seem to be very original. A number of the stories had me thinking had I ever heard of anything similar, but I simply couldn't.

The Au
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Ken Abel
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great collection of stories. Hard to choose a favorite. I'd definitely recommend The Machine Stops just because it was written in 1909! If it were written in the 60s I would have thought it was good, but looking back on it from 2020 over 100 years later, I can't believe how relevant it remains. On the other hand, The Midas Plague, although very funny doesn't have that biting satire anymore. The plot extrapolated the consumerism of the 1950s forward, to where Keeping up with the Joneses is a full ...more
Nihal Vrana
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was the weakest link in the collection, with few "meh" novellas (I particularly don't understand what is the big deal about Rogue Moon, this is the second time I read it and I still find it pretentious, messy and without much meat). That said, it naturally had some gems The Specter General and The witches of Karres were both very entertaining. I think that novellas are the hardest form to write in no matter what genre and as I do not enjoy them much, this was not that enjoyable to read. Nev ...more
P.
Novellas should be the new short story. It's much more satisfying to read a collection of novellas, and also easier to abandon one if it doesn't interest you (because why stop reading a short story, it will end soon anyway). I didn't abandon any of these. They were all interesting in different ways. Some were incredibly macho (Rogue Moon) so I couldn't stop reading just to see how much the author would pile on. Some were funny and sly and invigorating (The Witches of Karras). They all had premis ...more
Richard
I have enjoyed many short stories, and recently I have been trying to catch up on the Foundation series by Asamov, I had this book because the first story in this tomb is a precursor to the foundation series. That story was amazing, and then I found many more of these stories are great. There were a couple I was not as fond of, but I still enjoyed them as stories, and as with all good science-fiction, almost every story will give everyone something to think about at the end of each stories.
Alessandro Speciale
This is a mixed bag. There is only true masterpiece, The Machine Stops, but what a story it is. One of the most chilling and fascinating things I read in a long, long time. There's some good stories (Moon Moth, Rogue Moon, Specter General) and some frankly mediocre ones (Martian Way, Witches of Karres). All in all, a decent selection of classic science fiction but the "greatest sci-fi novellas of all time" these are not
Ryan
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great novellas, although I tend to prefer short stories, selected by the Nebula (SFWA) people. Good audio performances. A couple of these were merely ok, most were very good, a couple great. I love this series, and would like try listen to Vol 3 once it comes out as an audiobook someday.

THE MIDAS PLAGUE by Frederic Pohl was probably my favorite.

This (and 2-A) aren't as good as the Short Story collection in Vol 1, but still in my "5 stars" territory.
Heber
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy all these each time I read it. Particular favorites are.. Honestly, I'd be listing half the novellas there if I did. They're all amazing. Each one paints a picture of a reality that a person can relate to but eventually tweaks it just enough to send the mind thinking and imagining over the differences.
Anurag Shrivastava
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
the Martian way
‌Rogue moon
‌E for effort
‌the witches of karres
‌in hiding - the best so far
‌the big front yard - great concept.. But scientific details are missing.. Would have loved to know more about the details of how.felt like it has been left hanging in the air a little bit
‌the moon moth for the brilliant ideas of masks and musical instruments for speaking
William
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
More great novellas from great writers. So many of these stories have moved on and had their ideas become cliche but they are worth reading. This collection is a labor of love, a way to get recognition for stories that were written before the Nebulas were developed and they are a great collection. If you love classical science fiction, give this and its previous volume a good read.
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Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1953, while attending Temple University, he married Rosa Cucinotta, they had a son and a daughter. He would later divorce Rosa in 1974. In that same year he married Barbara Berson Rose.

Bova is an avid fencer and organized Avco Everett's fencing club. He is an environmentalist, but rejects Luddism.

Bova was a technical writer fo
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Other books in the series

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame (5 books)
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume II A (The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, #2A)
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume III: The Nebula Winners
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume IV

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