The magic of anthologies is the opportunity they provide for readers to pick and choose what they want to spend their valuable time and money on while enjoying fantastic stories without the long commitment required in novel length works. Anthologies also give readers a chance to discover new authors (or maybe some old ones) they may not have noticed otherwise.
Beginning in January of 2013, I began a periodic series of reviews, looking at each dynamic entry in the 1969 Belmont publishing edition of The Best of Amazing. First published two years earlier in 1967 by Doubleday, the works in this collection originally stem from the pages of the pulp publication Amazing Stories Magazine. Loaded with early works of some of the biggest names in science fiction, it is the ideal read for entry level readers looking for a snippet of the genre that has influenced fandom with “scientifiction” for decades.
Thanks to the return of Amazing Stories Magazine and via their exciting website http://amazingstoriesmag.com/ (go check it out, sign up for a free membership), I was able to post reviews of each The Best of Amazing short story along with many of the images from their original publications including the spectacular cover art that accompanied the stories. Having edited the classic magazine in the mid sixties, iconic Joseph Ross (a.k.a. Joseph Wrzos) selected all of the stories for this anthology. Ross clarified his choices by interpreting the debatable gap between science and literature in the book’s forward:
“What is a science-fiction story anyway if it’s not a literary exploration of some scientific idea, an imaginative try at predicting what impact science can have on man, on society, on the very quality of life on this planet?”
The selections in The Best of Amazing are definitive examples of the “literary exploration” described by Ross. Here is a list of the stories included in the anthology along with links to the individual reviews posted on Amazing Stories Magazine:
The Lost Machine by John Beynon Harris (First published in the April1932 issue of Amazing Stories)
The Worm by David H. Keller, M.D. (First published in the March 1929 issue of Amazing Stories)
The Runaway Skyscraper by Murray Leinster (Published in the June 1926 issue of Amazing Stories)
Marooned Off Vesta by Isaac Asimov (First published in the March 1939 issue of Amazing Stories)
Anniversary by Isaac Asimov (First published in the March 1959 issue of Amazing Stories)
The Metal Man by Jack Williamson (First published in the December 1928 issue of Amazing Stories)
Pilgrimage by Nelson S. Bond (First published in the October 1939 issue of Amazing Stories)
Sunfire by Edmond Hamilton (First published in the September 1962 issue of Amazing Stories)
Try to Remember by Frank Herbert (First published in the October 1961 issue of Amazing Stories)
The Best of Amazing is a unique anthology loaded with early works by some of the most prolific authors in the industry and representative of the standards set by Amazing Stories Magazine. If you’re not familiar with their work, this is a fantastic place to start. If you are, well you just might discover something new. The Best of Amazing is what fandom is all about.