This Genre Anthology traces an outline of Science Fiction trends, from the earliest attempts during the 19th century, through the Golden Age of science fiction, to the New Wave Science Fiction. Leslie A Fiedler, editor of this collection, published it in 1975. Each of the three sections contains an additional (but brief) explanation for the purpose of selecting these stories to represent their era in this volume.
Works published in this Anthology:
- Introduction by Leslie A Fiedler
- "The Crystal Egg", by H. G. Wells (1897)
- "Unprofessional", by Rudyard Kipling (1930)
- "The Conversation Of Eiros And Charmion", by Edgar Allan Poe (1839)
- "The Tartarus Of Maids", by Herman Melville (1855)
- "Three Thousand Years Among The Microbes" (excerpt), by Mark Twain (1966)
- "The Colour Out of Space", by H. P. Lovecraft (1927)
"The Golden Age"
- "The Cold Equations", by Tom Godwin (1954)
- "Helen O Loy", by Lester del Rey (1938)
- "It's a Good Life", by Jerome Bixby (1953)
- "Resurrection", by A. E. van Vogt (1948)
- "The Green Hills of Earth", by Robert A. Heinlein (1947)
- "Liar!", by Isaac Asimov (1941)
- "The Nine Billion Names Of God", by Arthur C. Clarke (1953)
- "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains", by Ray Bradbury (1950)
- "Mother", by Philip José Farmer (1953)
- "The Muse", by Anthony Burgess (1968)
- "Nine Lives", by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)
- "Repent Harlequin Said The Ticktockman", by Harlan Ellison (1965)
- "Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi Precious Stones", by Samuel R. Delany (1968)
- "The Second Inquisition", by Joanna Russ (1970)
- "Plan For The Assassination Of Jacqueline Kennedy", by JG Ballard (1966)
This Anthology provides examples of:
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Ursula K. Le Guin's "Nine Lives": The story is about his attempt to come to terms with being an individual after the rest of his "siblings" are killed (the clones having been bred and raised as Single-Minded Twins).
- Apocalypse How: Arthur C. Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names Of God": The lamas believe that when they have finished recording all of the names of God, their purpose will be done. The computer engineer figures they mean the end of the earth, but they really mean the end of everything.
- Clocks of Control: Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman": A ruthless dystopian government is led by a figure known as the Master Timekeeper or the "Ticktockman". Under the Ticktockman's rule, everyone is perpetually bound to an incredibly strict schedule every day, and failing to follow this schedule is punishable by death, which the Ticktockman carries out by stopping one's heart.
- Grail in the Garbage: H. G. Wells's "The Crystal Egg": The titular sculpture turns up in a obscure second-hand store before being lost again, at least as far as the narrator and reader are concerned.
- Imported Alien Phlebotinum: H. G. Wells's "The Crystal Egg": The narrator speculates that the titular sculpture was sent from Mars to allow that planet's inhabitants to (evidently idly) view life on Earth.
- Long Title:
- Samuel R. Delany's "Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi Precious Stones": For the curious, those semi-precious stones are used by the underworld as a sort of universal codeword. The stone is changed periodically - hence the name.
- Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman"
- The Namesake: Arthur C. Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names Of God": The title refers to every name that could conceivably be used to refer to God.
- One-Word Title:
- Opposite-Sex Clone: Ursula K. Le Guin's "Nine Lives": Earth is in a sorry state, and most people suffer from inborn defects; to remedy the situation, the best people are cloned. Usually the donors are male, since it allows to easily clone both sexes, and mixed-sex groups of clones are proven to function better. The story explores the reaction of normal humans who have to work with a "ten-clone" created from a genius who died young. And then how the sole survivor reacts to the death of his nine siblings. Among other things it's mentioned that clones routinely share sleeping bags and sex seems just as natural for them as breathing.
- Pygmalion Plot: Lester del Rey's "Helen O'Loy": An endocrinologist and a roboticist have a bet as to whether a robot could be made to act like a real woman. The endocrinologist insists no robot could duplicate the complex biological system that created emotions, the roboticist insists it could. The roboticist wins when the endocrinologist not only has to admit that Helen has human-like emotions, but eventually marries her. (The roboticist, who narrates the story, eventually admits to the audience that he fell in love with her as well.)
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Lester del Rey's "Helen O'Loy": The whole point is an attempt to make a robot indistinguishable from a human woman. It succeeds.
- Robotic Spouse: Lester del Rey's "Helen O'Loy": A medical student (Phil) and a mechanic (Dave) modify a household robot to have emotions. While Phil is away, Dave activates Helen, who learns about love (from watching soap operas!). When Phil comes back home, Dave has already fled from her affections, but changes his mind and marries her. On his death, Helen requests that Phil shut her down and bury her with Dave.
- Rogue Drone: Ursula K. Le Guin's "Nine Lives": The story is about his attempt to come to terms with being an individual after the rest of his "siblings" are killed (the clones having been bred and raised as Single-Minded Twins).
- Screw Yourself: Ursula K. Le Guin's "Nine Lives": A set of ten clones, five male and five female, join someplace where there were already two normal people working. When the clones have sex with each other, one of the non-clones says, "Oh, let them have their damned incest!" and the other says, "Incest or masturbation?" (The clone-sex wasn't a major plot point, just a part of showing how the clone-group couldn't relate properly to outsiders.)
- The Shangri-La: Arthur C. Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names Of God": The Tibetan lamasery is accessible by air, and in a subversion of typical expectations, has been embracing the way technology can be used to assist in their worship. They've even hired a couple of computer engineers to program a printer to output every name of God.
- Single-Minded Twins: Ursula K. Le Guin's "Nine Lives": 10 clones who were essentially one being. When nine of them died in an accident, the survivor considered himself "nine-tenths dead" and nearly lost his will to live.
- Themed Aliases: Samuel R. Delany's "Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi Precious Stones": The protagonist/narrator was an orphan, saddled with the name Harold Clancy Everet. Turning to a life of crime, he never used that name again. His aliases, however all have the initials HCE. Indeed, he is identified by that to the reader, i.e. we are introduced to each alias and know it is him by those initials. The initials H.C.E. are also a reference to Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.