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A Wilderness of Stars edited by William F. Nolan


Not so long ago, when space was still unvanquished, science fiction found rich fields for exploration in tales of the conquest of new worlds and galaxies. Now the moon is within reach, journeys to distant planets are no longer just wild surmise, and sf writers too are discovering fresh doors into the expanding universe. It is this last development that makes the present anthology so exciting, for the stories which it contains revolve around the challenge that faces man in the virgin worlds that are likely soon to be within his reach. How will he adapt to this new environment? Will he destroy it, as we are destroying our present earth, or will be learn, as Shelly Lowenkopf puts it in his thoughtful introduction, to leave something for the generations to come? 'This collection of stories is particularly significant,' he writes, 'because it raises issues we cannot escape, exposes us to problems we have not yet solved, and brings us headlong into our own destiny while we still have something to do about it.'

Each of the nine contributors has a fresh and challenging approach to this problem, and together they make a brilliant group. There is an early Ray Bradbury, I, Mars, which appears between covers for the first time in twenty years. In Sunjammer Arthur Clarke is at his best, scientifically informative and precise in style. Robert Sheckley is represented by Carrier, an extremely effective novelette about a future society orientated to psi abilities, while Poul Anderson's Ghetto, also of novelette length, is both exciting and written with real warmth. In North Wind Chad Oliver uses to good effect his specialised knowledge of anthropology to weave an in-depth study of an alien society, and Charles Fritch's The Castaway is extraordinarily effective on the basic theme of life and the hereafter. Ray Russell and William Nolan contribute stories of equal impact. The anthology is framed within two brilliant tales by Walter Miller - The Lineman, a powerful 20,000-word novella staged on the cold, cratered surface of Luna, and Death of a Spaceman, which handles its difficult theme with humour and poignancy.

Apart from the Arthur Clarke and the Bradbury, none of these stories has ever before appeared in an anthology. They make a fine collection, marked by clarity of style, originality of theme and an appealing sense of freshness. This is a volume no sf enthusiast can afford to miss. 

The Lineman - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
I, Mars - Ray Bradbury
Sunjammer - Arthur C. Clarke
The Better Man - Ray Russell
Carrier - Robert Sheckley
The Castaway - Charles E. Fritch
Ghetto - Poul Anderson
Happily Ever After - William F. Nolan
North Wind - Chad Oliver
Death of a Spaceman - Walter M. Miller, Jr.


Publisher (Year): Gollancz (1970)
Binding (ISBN): 1st edition hardback (0-575-00540-8)
Cover Art: n/a

Condition: Good. Moderate rubbing and several small tears to edges and corners of dust jacket, 1cm tear to rear dust jacket top edge, dust jacket price clipped,

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