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The only quibble I can find with this collection is the title. This is a great collection of sci-fi short stories, but it's a reach to call it a collection of the greatest of the 20th century. The majority of the stories were published within only the last 20 years or so. However, I still recommend this collection enthusiastically because of the inclusion of "Jeffty is Five", "The 9 Billion Names of God", "Alamagoosa", and "Why I Left Harry's All Night Hamburgers". Overall, a nice introduction to the short story format of sci-fi.
32 of 32 people found this review helpful
I too must admit surprise at the number of very low reviews. I've been an Audible subscriber more than 3 years now. This was one of the first books I bought. I was first introduced to science fiction in the 80s by reading endless anthologies. This, in audiobook form, is an excellent set of stunning short stories.
1) Jeffty Is Five by Harlan Ellison (read by Harlan Ellison)-A Hugo (1978)/Nebula (1977) winner about a very weird form of time travel/alternate realities.
2) Twilight by John W. Campbell, Jr.-originally published in 1934 under the pseudonym Don A. Stuart. One of the fathers of the "Golden Age of SF" & a prominent anthology/magazine editor.
3) The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin-1974 Hugo winner exploring the tension between a just & a happy society.
4) Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson-Hugo (1991)/Nebula (1990) winner.
5) The Crystal Spheres by David Brin-Hugo winner (1985).
6) That Only a Mother by Judith Merril-Canadian/American SF writer.
7) Allamagoosa by Eric Frank Russell-Hugo winner (1955). Military comedy. Anyone who has dealt with bureaucracy should appreciate this form-ticking SNAFU.
8) Tangents by Greg Bear-Hugo (1987)/Nebula (1986) winner.
9) The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke-Hugo winner (1954).
10) Huddling Place by Clifford D. Simak-Grand Master.
11) Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers by Lawrence Watt Evans (read by Will Wheaton)-Hugo winner (1988) exploring other realities & the axiom, "You can never go home again."
12) Fermi and Frost by Frederik Pohl-Grand Master & Hugo winner (1986) here for nuclear winter & Armageddon.
Out of the 12 stories, 9 are Hugo winners for best short story in their year & 3 won both awards. So while these stories, when examined over the last several decades, might not be the "greatest" ever, they were certainly "great" in the years they were published & many still stand today as fine examples of well-crafted SF short stories. Enjoy!
73 of 75 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of the 20th Century? What did you like least?
Favourite Story was the Crystal Spheres - it sounds mystical, but it's not at all - and it still holds up to today
What did you like best about this story?
Most of the stories were timeless.
Which character – as performed by David Ackroyd and Wil Wheaton – was your favourite?
Don't really recall either narrators - they sounded more like they were recorder 20+ years ago.
Was The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of the 20th Century worth the listening time?
Definitely worth listening to, if anything for quick bite sized stories - good for 1 hour road trips.
Any additional comments?
The audio quality is TERRIBLE. It sounds like a recording of a telephone call through a radio on a cassette tape. I found a lot of the more unusual names and words impossible to hear clearly, which is kinda important for science fiction.Performance and stories 5/5Audio Quality 0/5