Friday, August 26, 2011

4 for the Future, edited by Groff Conklin (1959)

In this science fiction anthology, 4 for the Future (1959), Groff Conklin, the prolific sci-fi editor (and possessor of an excellent name) brings together strong stories by Poul Anderson ("Enough Rope," 1953), Theodore Sturgeon ("The Claustrophile," 1956), Henry Kuttner ("The Children's Hour," 1944), and Eric Frank Russell ("Plus X," 1956).

While the stories run the gamut from an alien-filled space opera to a quiet story of love in a separate dimension, all four of the stories focus less on technology or exploration, and more on the humanness of the characters and the power of thinking your way out of a tight spot.

All four of these stories were very strong, but I particularly liked the family drama of personalities at the core of Sturgeon's "The Claustrophile," and the light touch of Henry Kuttner's very literary "The Children's Hour." The 1940s and 1950s are my favorite era of science fiction, and this collection doesn't disappoint. Also includes adorable anachronisms like an ink well tipping over in a futuristic office. If you like science fiction, you will like this.

[Equally awesome back cover available here if you are into that kind of thing.]

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