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May Books 5) Backdrop of Stars

5) Backdrop of Stars, edited by Harry Harrison

I picked up this collection (first published in 1968, though I got the 1975 paperback) in Dublin the other month, and Ken MacLeod, no less, commended my choice, saying that it had made quite an impression on him when he first read it. A baker’s dozen of stories by well-established authors (Aldiss, Anderson, Asimov, Ballard – they are printed by alphabetical order), some of which go some way to challenging comfortable political preconceptions (though one – L. Sprague de Camp’s “Proposal” – is I fear serious rather than satirical in its anti-feminism). It also struck me that a lot of the stories were really about death; the very first, Aldiss’ “Judas Danced”, is about an execution and the last, Mack Reynolds’ “Retaliation”, is a post-nuclear holocaust vignette (with a sting in the tale – the viewpoint characters, for whom the author has developed our sympathy, are Russians not Americans). Anyway, a good collection.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
blue_condition
May. 10th, 2007 12:02 pm (UTC)
> Mack Reynolds

Now there's a forgotten author - Tough, sensible Afrocentrism in the John W Campbell years! - a good writer, with a surprisingly left-wing viewpoint given his target market.

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