This is an interesting anthology, edited by one of the great classic SF anthologists, and another of my favourites, Groff Conklin.
TITLE: POSSIBLE WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION
EDITED BY: Groff Conklin
SUB-CATEGORY: Short Fiction
FORMAT: Hardback, 256 pages
PUBLISHER: Grayson & Grayson, Ltd, London, 1952.
Introduction by Groff Conklin
PART ONE: THE SOLAR SYSTEM
- “Operation Pumice” by Raymond Z. Gallun (Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1949)
- “Enchanted Village” by A. E. Van Vogt (Other Worlds Science Stories, July 1950)
- “Lilies of Life” by Malcolm Jameson (Astounding Science Fiction, January 1945)
- “Asleep in Armageddon” by Ray Bradbury (Planet Stories, Winter 1948)
- “Not Final!” by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1941)
- “Moon of Delirium” by D. L. James (Astounding Science Fiction, January 1940)
- “The Pillows” by Margaret St. Clair (Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1950)
PART TWO: THE GALAXY
- “Propagandist” by Murray Leinster (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1947)
- “Hard-Luck Diggings” by Jack Vance (Startling Stories, July 1948)
- “Space Rating” by John Berryman (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1939)
- “Limiting Factor” by Clifford D. Simak (Startling Stories, November 1949)
- “Exit Line” by Samuel Merwin, Jr. (Startling Stories, September 1948)
- “The Helping Hand” by Poul Anderson (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1950)
The theme of this anthology is “Possible Worlds”, mankind’s possible future exploration of space, and the worlds and lifeforms he might encounter “out there”. The book is divided into two sections. The first, containing seven stories, deals with possible worlds within the solar system. The second section, comprised of six stories, takes us out to encounter worlds and life out in the galaxy.
There are quite a few familiar names here from the many anthologies I’ve collected over the years. Anderson, Asimov, Vance, Simak, Van Vogt, Leinster, Bradbury and Gallun. The others – Merwin, St. Clair, Jameson, Berryman and James – aren’t familiar to me at all. I either don’t know them at all, or have met them so infrequently that they don’t register in my fading memory. As for the stories, however, only the Van Vogt, Asimov, Bradbury and Leinster ring a bell. I don’t recall the others at all. Maybe I’ve read some or all of them at some point in the distant past, but I just don’t remember them. So it should be fun making my way through this anthology, given that I really love vintage SF from this era.
We’ve got thirteen stories in all, the oldest from 1939, the newest from 1950. They are culled from a range of SF magazines from that period – unsurprisingly there’s a large contingent (six stories) from Astounding, and the rest are spread around Startling Stories (three stories), Thrilling Wonder Stories (two stories), and one story each from Planet Stories and Other Worlds Science Stories.
I’ve had this anthology in my collection for many years, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually read it. As I have a rather huge collection of many thousands of SF books, it’s not exactly on its lonesome there – so many books to read, not enough years left in my life to read ’em all. But at least this one has moved to the top of the list and will not remain unread before I shuffle off this mortal coil. 🙂