Monday, June 01, 2009
The Great Short-Story Collection Purge, Part 4
Virtual Unrealities: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester
Bester is responsible for two cornerstones of classic Science Fiction: The Demolished Man and The Stars, My Destination, both of which are now over 50 years old. Age isn't necessarily a bad thing. The impact and quality of these novels cannot be denied. I've read and enjoyed them greatly. Yet I'm not so taken with Bester's short fiction and I can't really explain why.
I read the opening story, "Disappearing Act," and thought it was (like all Bester stories) well-written, clever and humorous. I started a second story (also clever and well-written) I'd never read, but didn't finish it. Some of Bester's short fiction I already have in other anthologies, especially "Fondly Fahrenheit." Good, innovative stuff, but I'm not convinced this is a collection I'll want to keep.
The Verdict = Purge It.