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The Best of Lester Del Rey by Lester del Rey
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Lester del Rey's the kind of writer I might've read in my early teens (but didn't) & then decided that he represented the kind of SF that all SF seemed to me to be at the time: sortof interesting but not that well written or experimental. I wd've then moved on - remembering him w/ some affection but not in any hurry to read more.

Now that I'm 44 yrs past my early teens, del Rey still strikes me that way but I've read so many other things by now that I can respect del Rey just for being what he was: a somewhat generic, but still inspired, SF writer.

The history of SF, in the US at least, seems to be often grouped in periods determined by the tastes of the influential magazine & anthology editors of the time. In this case, del Rey falls fairly firmly in the John W. Campbell / Astounding Science Fiction era. These stories range from 1938 to 1964.

There're alotof robots. I like del Rey's robot stories. But even more important to me personally, there's alotof picking away at the religious fanaticism of the ilk that I grew up w/. "For I am a Jealous People!" was one of my favorites here. Extraterrestrials attack Earth w/ the apparent intention of wiping out humanity. Why? It's discovered that they, in fact, worship the same GOD that the Reverend Amos Strong, the protagonist, but that GOD is on their side & has instructed & empowered them to wipe out humanity, the great sinner. Ha ha! What a moral dilemma for the reverend!

These stories contain much of the content that helped shape the ethics & concerns of young boys (primarily but not entirely) growing up in the 40s, 50s, & 60s - humanity wiping itself out w/ atomic warfare (or whatever), eg. & I was right there w/ them.
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