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.


John said...

I feel the same way about an Arthur C. Clarke collection I have. His works are seminal, but often emphasize ideas at the expense of all else.

I'm enjoying following your purge here. I think I'm going to employ a similar tactic when I take up my effort to read all of my owned-&-unread books next week.

Andy Wolverton said...

Thanks, man. It's proving to be a pretty efficient way of purging: read two stories and decide. Wish I'd done this years ago.

John said...

I'm sure Cindy does, too.

Andy Wolverton said...

No doubt!