Compilation of science fiction short stories highly recommended on Reddit. Edited by Robert Silverberg, its contents were 'chosen by vote of the membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America'[1] and intended to award fiction from before the inception of their Nebula Award.

This volume was to be the first, covering stories below 15,000 words (42.9 standard pages).

After many stories were nominated and the votes were counted, Silverberg chose the stories that would be included. The top 15 were automatically included, and were:

  1. Isaac Asimov, Nightfall
  2. Stanley G. Weinbaum, A Martian Odyssey
  3. Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
  4. Theodore Sturgeon, Microcosmic God and Murray Leinster, First Contact (tied)
  5. (tie)
  6. Roger Zelazny, A Rose for Ecclesiastes
  7. Robert A. Heinlein, The Roads Must Roll, Lewis Padgett, Mimsy Were the Borogoves, Fritz Leiber, Coming Attraction, and Tom Godwin, The Cold Equations (tied)
  8. (tie)
  9. (tie)
  10. (tie)
  11. Arthur C. Clarke, The Nine Billion Names of God
  12. James Blish, Surface Tension
  13. A. E. van Vogt, The Weapon Shop and John W. Campbell, Twilight (tied)
  14. (tie)
  15. Fredric Brown, Arena

Although apparently Arthur C. Clarke's The Star came 15th but he'd already got one higher up. The lower ranking stories were not guaranteed inclusion as Silverberg felt the need to exclude some in favour of others that would not have made the cut.

Bought it on the 10th of February 2013 using the voucher Darren and Sandra got me for Christmas 2011.


First readthrough (April-July 2013)Edit


My paperback version mentioned above.


I took it to Florida in April 2013 and read the first couple of stories there, but left it then until the beginning of June after reading The Lifecycle of Software Objects. Finished it towards the end of July.

I was largely unimpressed, to the point of being seriously disappointed, but there were a couple of good reads. I think in general I may have been thinking of it in the wrong context, the stories are from very early in the modern era of science fiction. However, I do suspect that this collection has lost a lot of its presumed original charm in the 50 years since it was compiled.

My favourites were Mimsy Were the Borogoves and Microcosmic God.



Reading RecordEdit

Previous book: Ted Chiang, The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Simultaneous books: Hikaru no Go, HPMoR, HPCC

Next book: Robin Hobb, The Farseer

Links and referencesEdit

  1. The book's introduction, written by Silverberg.