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rogerloranbailey

Readings and Ramblings

This is Readings and Ramblings. It is readings because this is a site for blogging about books and I intend to do that. It is ramblings because I might want to write about something else now and then.

Earthmen and Strangers

Earthmen and Strangers - Robert Silverberg,  Damon Knight,  Algis Budrys,  Harlan Ellison,  Arthur C. Clarke,  Eric Frank Russell,  Randall Garrett,  Poul Anderson,  Isaac Asimov This is an anthology of science fiction stories originally published in the 1950s and the book itself was published in 1966. I apparently read it for the first time not too long after that publication date of 1966. Now I have just reread it for the first time since then while helping to prepare it for addition to the Bookshare.org collection. I am surprised at two things. One is how well I remember it after all this time. There were some stories that I have thought of many times when reading more recent science fiction even though I did not remember where I read them. I have just been reminded that they came from this book. The other surprise is the naivete of the stories that were being written back in the 1950s. When I first read them I did not have the impression that they were naive. In fact, I had the impression that they were cutting edge and very well written. There has been a lot of science fiction written since that time, though, and written by some very sophisticated and capable writers. I suppose I got used to the better science fiction and had to go back to the old stuff to be reminded of what it was really like. I am not saying it was bad though. I very much enjoyed rereading this book and it makes me want to delve into some other old science fiction. Nevertheless, science fiction has done some growing up.
The theme of this anthology is encounters by humans with extraterrestrial beings. That is a common theme to the point of ubiquitousness from the beginning of the genre and continues today. The quaintness comes in by how similar to humans these extraterrestrials are for the most part. That is part of what I mean by saying that the stories tend to be naive. On the other hand, two of the stories do a better job of conveying extreme difference than contemporary science fiction. Those two are "Stranger Station" and "out of the Sun.
All in all this was a very good read.