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The World Treasury of Science Fiction

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  344 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Table of contents

Introduction 1988 essay by David G. Hartwell
Harrison Bergeron 1961 story by Kurt Vonnegut Jr
Forgetfulness 1937 story by John W. Campbell Jr
Special Flight 1939 story by John Berryman
Chronopolis 1960 story by J.G. Ballard
Triceratops 1974 story by Kono Tensei
The Man Who Lost the Sea 1959 story by Theodore Sturgeon
On the Inside Track 1986 story by Karl Michael
Hardcover, 1112 pages
Published March 1st 1989 by Little Brown & Company (Boston) (first published January 1989)
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Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, have
This is probably the best science fiction anthology that I have seen.

Its attractions are many.

1. The Introduction by David Hartwell

In his Introduction, Hartwell presents an overview history of science fiction writing, starting in 1929 with Hugo Gernsback’s coinage of the term from a previous term, “scientific romance”. In the first issue of Amazing Stories, he defined it as “charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision.”

Most of the action in the 1930s occurred in the
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
As good a collection of fine sf as you are likely to find, there are very few clunkers here. It is, however, a product of a different era of science fiction and the preponderance of white, male, primarily European voices is a bit of a shock from the perspective of current publishing. Since the most recent story was published in 1986 and the earliest, by the venerable John W. Campbell, in 1937 this is not surprising but it does leave some of the stories and styles feeling quite dated. A World ...more
Dec 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
God, where to begin? My parents sent me and my sister this book in a care-package during a summer music program in 1990, and I don't know that I've ever loved a book more. If I could, I'd give this one six stars; maybe seven.

Part of what makes this book so amazing is that this is where I first discovered so many of my favorite authors: Larry Niven, John Varley, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Heinlein (okay, he's not a favorite, but I think this book has one of his best). And even the writers I've
Elizabeth Wallace
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I read a LOT of short story collections, and I think the reason why is that I'm hoping that SOME day I'll find a collection as good as this one. Reading it always brings me back to music camp, where my Mom sent a copy in a care package for my sister and I. It was my first look at Kurt Vonnegut ("Harrison Bergeron") and Larry Niven ("Inconstant Moon") and John Varley ("The Phantom of Kansas") and Frederik Pohl ("The Gold At the Starbow's End") and way too many more to mention, all of them ...more
Erik Graff
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
This may be the best collection of science fiction I've yet to encounter. It includes not only a chronological range of classic sf stories and novellae by established writers from several countries, but also stories written by well-known authors not usually associated with the genre. All the stories are, in my opinion, good to excellent. I recommend this as a gift for friends who have never gotten interested in the genre.
At long last, after taking around two years to read, I finally finish reading the 1,077 page long World Treasury of Science Fiction; it now holds the record for “longest length of time” that it took to read it (in actuality it was less than that, due to graduate school distractions. But it would still hold the record either way). But man oh man what an incredible anthology! If I could give it six stars instead of five I would, for this is, without a doubt, the best introduction to science ...more
Dr. Awkward
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This absolute unit of a book left me with very mixed feelings.

A broad range of stories with an equivalent range of sources and authors. The editorial comments were heavily biased towards a very particular literary approach; not necessarily a negative, but may sometimes color your view of a story before you start reading it. I almost gave three rather than four stars for this reason, but the actual quality of stories on the whole was high enough to merit the fourth.

All in all, worth the read for
"Forgetfulness," by John W. Campbell (1938): 7.5
- Nothing too compelling in this early do-they-know-it’s-earth tale.
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
This is a massive, wide-ranging collection of science fiction pieces, compiled by Hartwell, the long-time editor of the "Year's Best SF" & "Year's Best Fantasy" serieses, a couple of which I have read and enjoyed. There can be no question regarding his ability to identify first-rate imaginative writing. The pieces in this collection run the gamut of SF from the 1930s or 1940s up to 1989, and a number of them are by foreign scribes, mostly from Europe, along with the expected Americans and ...more
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

I've read hundreds of science fiction anthologies over the years. I never expect to read more than two or three memorable stories per collection; the rest are always second-rate filler. Not this time.

I picked this anthology up at a public library sale of discontinued books, which means it's likely out of print, and that's too bad. It's a 1,000-plus page collection of short stories and novellas, featuring many of the great science fiction authors and several less familiar
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
An exhaustive (and exhausting) survey of world science fiction, this book was a very uneven read. Some stories fascinated, some bewildered (and not in a good way), and the rest fell somewhere in between. A lot of recognizable names were included, but the stories selected were not always among their best known. And there were a lot of authors that this reader was completely unfamiliar with. One stand out in the bunch was an Italian, Italo Colvino. The editor included two of his stories, one of ...more
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Being a complete newbie to the Sci-Fi genre (I read mostly fantasy) I picked this up at the library. I didn't notice at the time that the book was only one year younger then I am, and the majority of the stories were quite a bit older then the publication date of this collection. I enjoyed a few of the stories in it, but not enough that I would recommend this to anyone. I'm not sure whether it was the age of the writing, and that I'm simply not a fan of the styles at the time, or if the stories ...more
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Pretty hit and miss. A lot of translations, and quite a few "space adventure"-type stories.

Here's my favorites:
Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The Man Who Lost the Sea, Theodore Sturgeon
The Men who Murdered Mohammed, Alfred Bester
The Phantom of Kansas, John Varley
Inconstant Moon, Larry Niven
The Gold at Starbow's End, Frederik Pohl
Stranger Station, Damon Knight
Second Variety, Philip K Dick
Vintage Season, Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (though it could be shortened by 80% and be much better for
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
52 short stories, not all good but definitely worth reading. Some of the standouts for me was: Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut (which I remember reading in high school English); The Blind Pilot by Nathalie-Charles Henneberg; Two Dooms by C.M. Kornbluth; Ghost V by Robert Sheckley; Inconstant Moon by Larry Niven; Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury; Second Variety by Philip K. Dick; Party Line by Gerard Klein; Vintage Season by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore; The Way to Amalteia by Arkady and Boris ...more
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What a great book. Already read a John Campbell Jr. which is so hard to find & Forgetfulness is a total knockout. Then the original story that Star Trek was based on, no doubt, named Special Flight by none other than John Berryman himself, very early hard SF. What a treasure & I'm going to take my time with this monster. It's a thick and heavy book of shorts & novellas
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it
It is good and worth the read.

The issue is somehow the sum is less than the parts. Why include authors who represent the fact that, say, Scandinavian SF is derivative? Is it relevant that Chip Delany was a gay black man in the 1960's? Its purpose may have been more encyclopedic than entertainment, but that wasn't the possibility that attracted me in the first place.
Rift Vegan
Oct 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007
Some good stories here. Unfortunately almost every single one of them were written by men, for men, about men. Occasionally a female character would show up, and she would be a cardboard cutout, just getting in the way of the men. Unworthy to be called a "World" Treasury and I'm glad it went out of print so quickly!
4/20/11: "Pairpuppets" (1974) by Manuel van Loggem
4/21/11: "The Lens" (1977) by Annemarie van Ewyck
10/21/14: "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" (1956) by Jorge Luis Borges
10/21/14: "Zero Hour" (1947) by Ray Bradbury
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-read
an excellent collection of scifi from around the world - truly!
authors from continents as diverse as asia and arabia are represented to great enjoyment and effect.
a huge book but no struggle to read!
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Something for everyone is this selection of tales. Easy to read and imagine.
Rena Sherwood
If you just read one anthology of science fiction in your life, make this one it. Sublime. As it's name implies, it includes authors from around the world instead of just North America and the UK.
Tyler Malone
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A Sun-sized book of science fiction that includes the most renowned of sci-fi authors, as well as a few that readers would not expect to see.
Don Gubler
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Some very good stuff here and some mediocre. Choose wisely.
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
A wide variety of stories from authors around the world. Contains the amazingly good story "The Fifth ahead of Cerberus" that introduced me to Gene Wolfe.
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the best collection of Sci-Fi Short stories i've ever read. Every single story, even the ones that seemed boring at first, ended up being amazing.
The World Treasury of Science Fiction by David Hartwell (1989)
Christopher O'Brien
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Some excellent and inspiring stories from all over. This was a gift from my family from years ago. I've been reading the stories off an on since 2006. Recommended!
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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 ...more