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The Best of C. M. Kornbluth

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  212 ratings  ·  17 reviews
· An Appreciation · Frederik Pohl · in
· The Rocket of 1955 · vi Escape Aug ’39
· The Words of Guru [as by Kenneth Falconer] · ss Stirring Science Stories Jun ’41
· The Only Thing We Learn · ss Startling Stories Jul ’49
· The Adventurer · ss Space Science Fiction May ’53
· The Little Black Bag · nv Astounding Jul ’50
· The Luckiest Man in Denv [as by Simon Eisner]
Mass Market Paperback, 312 pages
Published December 12th 1976 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1976)
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 ·  212 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of C.M. Kornbluth, but found this in one of the "Little Free Libraries" around town and noted the introduction by Frederik Pohl. The stories were all decidedly science fiction, but in that way that doesn't require aliens or interstellar travel. Stories set in bars and dirty apartments. Gritty stuff. What really resonated with me was this voice, from the 50s, sounding the alarm on societal concerns that seem so modern and urgent today, especially our ability to amuse ourselves ...more
Surprisingly, all of the stories were of mediocre quality with the exception of The Little Black Bag. I listened to an old audiobook edition so perhaps it was the poor quality of the recording which was partly blame.
2.5 stars

This rating and review is specifically for the story Reap the Dark Tide. I'm not going to rate the whole book based on just this one story so I'll keep my rating here within my review and leave the book without one.

For our book club this month we are reading four classic short stories and Reap the Dark Tide is one of them. I found this story at first to be pretty boring, but it did get better as it went on. A whole section of humanity has taken to the seas on a fleet of ships and hasn't
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first read The Best of C. M. Kornluth more than 30 years ago and loved it. I haven't been back to it since because I was worried I might not enjoy it as much but I need not have worried. I loved it again.

The book and each story have an introduction from his friend Frederik Pohl. All the stories were written between 1941 and 1958, the year he died. Most, if not all the stories as set on Earth and written in a style that seems a little dated today but you have to take that into account. I think
Sep 05, 2007 rated it liked it
One of several books I've been juggling over the past month, The Best of C.M. Kornbluth is very good, if somewhat depressing science fiction. Think Philip K. Dick with a 50's sensibility and a bit more wry humour. Like Dick, his career was also cut short, but by death, not mental illness.

Kornbluth's best-known works - "The Marching Morons" and "The Little Black Bag" - posit a future where intelligence has been bred out of humanity for the most part, and the super-brains are run ragged caring for
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, sci-fi
I've not read very much of Cyril Kornbluth's work but this collection won me over. Kornbluth's writing is humorous, sarcastic and revels in the stupidity of the human species (in one or two stories, the idea that stupid people are outbreeding the intelligentsia are actively explored). Kornbluth collaborated with Fred Pohl extensively in his fairly short life and Pohl's introductions to the stories show a warmth to his friend and offer some interesting notes on the stories themselves. Definitely ...more
I had previously rated this 4 stars, have now raised it to 5. The reason? Not only the best-known stories like "The Little Black Bag" and "The Marching Morons", or even the Irving Klaw-inspired world of "Shark Ship", but the way that these stories have stuck with me over the years. I first read this when it came out in the '70s, have re-read it once or twice since, and many of these stories are ones that come to mind regularly.
Ericpegnam Pegnam
its hard to rate a book of short stories but the best of these stories are as good as any fantasy/science fiction from the 50's. Kornbluth has a very cynical view of mankind but he dramatizes his dramatizes his cyncism he isn't preachy. He's a bit like Ambrose Bierce in that way.

Died to early, worth reading marching morons, little black bag and the mindworm are the best of the bunch.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
I had never read Kornbluth before but was highly impressed with stories like "Little Black Bag" and "Gomez." Kornbluth does a great job at characterization. His characters feel like real people. I also enjoyed the not-so-subtle points of many of these stories. Great read! Highly recommend!
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here is an overlooked writing talent. I'm obsessed now. Totally my kind of thing.
Steve Rainwater
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
A collection of C. M. Kornbluth's best short stories as collected and introduced by frequent collaborator, Frederik Pohl.

I like Kornbluth and these are some of his best stories but I find it's difficult to read this many in quick succession. He often expresses a very cynical and depressing outlook that wears after a while. Though, to be fair, there are a few optimistic stories to found here. They are all well-written and make you think, which is all you can ask for from any short story.

Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not all of his stories were hits, many of them still resonate today. In particular, 'The Marching Morons' is clearly a predecessor to the sadly prophetic Idiocracy, and my personal favorite "It happened at 10 on TV (or whatever)" actually made me laugh out loud, with my favorite new mantra: "Poop Poop Poopy."
Jon Latham
Apr 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't care for it. Too hard to follow.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, read-in-2017, sci-fi
Found a worn copy of this book at a garage sale.
The short stories are not just about spaceships (contrary to what the cover art implies), so I was positively surprised.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C.M. Kornbluth’s short stories include what are probably the most modern-sounding stories in the Classic Science Fiction library. Partly this is because he eschews the heavy use of modifier language that was common in fiction—both literary and genre—of the time.

Partly it is because he goes beneath the surface of the day’s problems to reach the timeless core. In The Silly Season, he examines how easy it is to not just use the media to spread fake news, but to anesthetize the media and the public
6/15/12: "Two Dooms" (1958)
5/12/13: "The Words of Guru" (1941)
Dec 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Book OK, but in general I wasn't a big fan. It is a collection of short stories. I liked Gomez and Two Dooms. Several were OK and a few were boring.
Víctor Raygoza
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Jul 31, 2007
D Edward
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Cyril M. Kornbluth was born and grew up in Inwood in New York City. As a teenager, he became a member of the Futurians, the influential group of science fiction fans and writers. While a member of the Futurians, he met and became friends with Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Donald A. Wollheim, Robert A. W. Lowndes, and his future wife Mary Byers. He also participated in the Fantasy Amateur Press ...more