STRANGE GIFTS Edited by Robert Silverberg

Robert Silverberg is known for his prolific career writing science fiction. Silverberg was also a masterful editor of science fiction collections. One of these SF collections from 1975 is Strange Gifts. In this themed anthology, each story presents a “gifted” character that disrupts the status quo. For example, in Philip K. Dick’s “The Golden Man,” mutants are hunted down by a Government agency. But some humans try to help the mutants survive. The Golden Man presents a huge problem for the Government because of his powers. Alfred Bester’s “Oddy and Id” follows the pattern with children with awesome powers. Silverberg’s own “To Be Continued” explores what it would be like to be able to live thousands of years. What problems would a vastly increased life-span present? The most surreal story in Strange Gifts is “Humpty Dumpty Had A Great Fall” where a child is able to tap into alternate dimensions. Kris Neville’s “Bettyann” explores what it would be like for an alien child to be raised as a human. All in all, I enjoyed these stories of strangeness. Perfect Summer reading material! GRADE: B+
Robert Silverberg. Introduction 11
Dick, Philip K. The golden man. (IF, April 1954) 13
Dickson, Gordon R. Danger-human! (Astounding Science Fiction, December 1957) 49
Lafferty, R. A. All the people. ( Galaxy Magazine, April 1961) 71
Bester, Alfred. Oddy and Id. (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1950) 84
Gold, H. L. The man with English (STAR SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, 1953) 102
Silverberg, Robert. To be continued. (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1956) 113
Long, Frank Belknap. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. (Startling Stories, November 1948) 128
Neville, Kris. Bettyann. ( New Tales of Space and Time, 1951) 158

11 thoughts on “STRANGE GIFTS Edited by Robert Silverberg

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I know I’ve read most of these stories in other places. The exception being the Frank Belknap Long which I would expect to be the most dated.

  2. Patti Abbott

    You’re captured my interest here. None of them sound too much about the technology of the future.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    I will read any of Silverberg’s anthologies because he usually picked good stories and his introductions were always worth reading. Don’t know this one.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, Robert Silverberg produced about a dozen good SF anthologies for Thomas Nelson in the Seventies. I pick them up whenever I find them. STRANGE GIFTS was one of the better anthologies in this series.

  4. Todd Mason

    Yes, most of RS’s Thomas Nelson anthologies were aimed at YA readers, but that didn’t stop anyone from (particularly in paperback reprints) soft-pedaling that aspect, so that adult readers might pick them up…as they had an interesting mix, usually, of chestnuts and rarities that would be accessible to new readers of sf of any age, and engaging for veteran readers..

    1. george Post author

      Todd, you’re right about the YA aspects of Silverberg’s Thomas Nelson anthologies. Most of the stories are from the 1950s before the more controversial NEW WAVE movement.

      1. Todd Mason

        Though he also put together a few original-fiction anthologies for Nelson that didn’t shy away from “New Wave” approaches and concerns…CHAINS OF THE SEA comes to mind. I still have my young- teen-years purchase of the Dell Laurel Leaf edition around here somewhere….picked up even before I started buyin the new issues of fiction magazines at 13yo.

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