First published in 2001 by editors Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg. This Genre Anthology contains fifteen Science Fiction stories that were first published in 1964, ranging in length from Short Story to Novelette. The introduction describes "the world outside reality" first, marking significant historical events, sports trivia, and literary publications. The "real world" is the science fiction and fantasy pop culture, the New Wave of Science Fiction. This book bridges an apparent "gap" between Isaac Asimov Presents: The Great Science Fiction Stories, Volume 25 (1963) and Worlds Best Science Fiction 1965.note
Works in this anthology:
- "Outward Bound", by Norman Spinrad
- "The Kragen", by Jack Vance
- "The Master Key", by Poul Anderson
- "The Crime And The Glory Of Commander Suzdal", by Cordwainer Smith
- "The Graveyard Heart", by Roger Zelazny
- "Purple Priestess Of The Mad Moon", by Leigh Brackett
- "The Last Lonely Man", by John Brunner
- "Soldier, Ask Not", by Gordon R. Dickson
- "A Man Of The Renaissance", by Wyman Guin
- "The Dowry Of Angyar", by Ursula K. Le Guin
- "When The Change Winds Blow", by Fritz Leiber
- "The Fiend", by Frederik Pohl
- "The Life Hater", by Fred Saberhagen
- "Neighbor", by Robert Silverberg
- "Four Brands Of Impossible", by Norman Kagan
Robert Silverberg Presents: The Great Science Fiction Stories (1964) provides examples of:
- Biography: Each story is prefaced by a short description of why this story (from this author) was chosen to represent one of the fifteen best stories of the year along with a paragraph from Robert Silverberg's perspective.
- Depraved Homosexual: Cordwainer Smith's "The Crime And The Glory Of Commander Suzdal": It's not clear if the once-human klopts are depraved because they are homosexual, or because of the social, psychological, and hormonal disruptions brought about by their need to become a monosexual culture (the alternative is dying out).
- Eternal Love: Roger Zelazny's "The Graveyard Heart": This story features a couple who achieve their long-lasting relationship through science rather than supernatural forces: they're members of a group that put themselves into cryogenic stasis for years at a time, only coming out of it to throw a huge party, and going back into stasis afterwards.
- Gendercide: Cordwainer Smith's "The Crime And The Glory Of Commander Suzdal": The settlers of an isolated planet nearly lose all the women to a virus or mutation which "turned femininity carcinogenic". A few surviving women actually turn themselves into men through massive testosterone injections and manage reproduction through embryonic implantation. Over the centuries their memories of womanhood and eventually the Earth itself are twisted into monstrous hatred. Then Commander Suzdal shows up in his scout ship...
- Homosexual Reproduction: Cordwainer Smith's "The Crime And The Glory Of Commander Suzdal": When the planet Arachosia was originally settled, a bizarre happenstance, in the author's words, "rendered femininity carcinogenic". The end result is a monosexual society of beings neither truly male nor truly female, incapable of conventional reproduction and with an abiding hatred of normal humans.
- Human Popsicle: Roger Zelazny's "The Graveyard Heart": This story features group of people who spend a year in cryonic preservation, then come out of it for a single day to throw a huge party, and going back into stasis to repeat the cycle.
- Mister Seahorse: Cordwainer Smith's "The Crime And The Glory Of Commander Suzdal": The once-human klopts reproduce by implanting a lump of cells in the gut and give birth by C-section.
- One-Word Title: Robert Silverberg's "Neighbor"
- Time Dilation:
- Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Dowry Of Angyar": This story (later incorporated into the novel Rocannon's World) features Semley going on a quest to recover the lost heirloom of the title, and meeting a group of dwarf-like creatures who promise to help her get it back. What she doesn't realise is that they've taken it to another planet, eight light-years away, and thanks to relativity, what seems like a short trip to her is actually 16 years.
- Cordwainer Smith's "The Crime And The Glory Of Commander Suzdal": By traveling through non-space, Suzdal and his ship subjectively experiences thousands of years. Even stranger, when the ship heads back to Earth, "time winds up" and the ship comes back as if only a few objective years have passed, making it an Inverted Trope example. And this is only some of the wacky Time Travel hi-jinks in this tale.