When I went to College in the 1960s, there were no Science Fiction courses. Fast forward a few decades and you’ll find colleges and universities started offering courses in Popular Culture: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mysteries, TV shows, movies, etc. By chance, I came into possession of Garyn G. Robert’s “textbook” for college SF courses, The Prentice Hall Anthology of Science Fiction and Fatnasy. It was published in 2001 and became the Gold Standard for SF textbooks for years. Like most textbooks, The Prentice Hall Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy takes an historical approach. There are plenty of good stories in this 1000+ page volume. There’s also a lot of clutter. But copies are available online for a pittance. If you’re looking for an comprehensive survey of SF and fantasy, this textbook presents a lot of material. GRADE: B+

“Foreward” by Jack Williamson
Introduction: “Stories for the Millennium: Science Fiction and Fantasy as Contemporary Mythology.”
Enduring Traditions of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe.
The Mortal Immortal: A Tale, Mary W. Shelley
The Fall of the House of Usher, Edgar Allan Poe.

Stories of the Fantastique, Tales of the Quest.
Dark Fantasy.

Edgar Allan Poe, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and Stephen King—and Traditions Before, Between, and Since.
Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Old Nurse’s Story, Elizabeth (Cleghorn) Gaskell. No. 1 Branch Line: The Signalman, Charles (John Huffam) Dickens. The Ghost in the Cap’n Brown House, Harriet Beecher Stowe. The Body Snatcher, Robert Louis Stevenson. The Damned Thing, Ambrose Bierce. Dracula’s Guest, Abraham (“Bram”) Stoker. The Monkey’s Paw, W(illiam) W(ymark) Jacobs. The Colour Out of Space, H(oward) P(hillips) Lovecraft. The Three Marked Pennies, M(ary) E(lizabeth) Counselman. Catnip, Robert Bloch. The Lottery, Shirley Jackson. To Serve Man, Damon (Francis) Knight. The Third Level, Jack Finney. The Howling Man, Charles Beaumont. Duel, Richard (Burton) Matheson. The Raft, Stephen (Edwin) King. Nightcrawlers, Robert R(ichard) McCammon.

High Fantasy.
Ancestorsand Disciples of Robert E. Howard and J.R.R. Tolkien.

The Gray Wolf, George MacDonald. The People of the Pit, A(braham) Merritt. Friend Island, Francis Stevens. The City of Singing Flame, Clark Ashton Smith. The Tower of the Elephant, Robert E(rvin) Howard. Riddles in the Dark, J(ohn) R(onald) R(uel) Tolkien. Smoke Ghost, Fritz (Reuter) Leiber, Jr. The Strange Drug of Doctor Caber, Lord Dunsany. The Anything Box, Zenna (Chlarson) Henderson. The Drowned Giant, J(ames) G(raham) Ballard. Red as Blood, Tanith Lee (Kaiine). The Malaysian Mer, Jane (Hyatt) Yolen. Troll Bridge, Neil (Richard) Gaiman. Thirteen Phantasms, James P(aul) Blaylock.


Jules Verne, Herbert George Wells, Hugo Gernsback, and the Early Days of Modern Scientifiction.
The Diamond Lens, Fitz-James O’Brien. The Clock That Went Backward, Edward Page Mitchell. An Express of the Future, Jules (Gabriel) Verne. The Star, H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells. The Ray of Displacement, Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford. A Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Eggs from Lake Tanganyika, Curt Siodmak. The Fate of Poseidonia, Clare Winger Harris. The Conquest of Gola, Leslie F(rancis) Stone. Shambleau, C(atherine) L(ucille) Moore. Robot Nemesis, E(dward) E(lmer) “Doc” Smith. A Martian Odyssey, Stanley G(rauman) Weinbaum. Robbie, Isaac Asimov. Jay Score, Eric Frank Russell. The Weapons Shop, A(lfred) E(lton) van Vogt. Arena, Frederic (William) Brown. Thunder and Roses, Theodore Sturgeon. That Only a Mother, Judith Merril. The Enchantress of Venus, Leigh (Douglass) Brackett. The Long Watch, Robert A(nson) Heinlein. There Will Come Soft Rains, Ray(mond Douglas) Bradbury. Invasion, Frank Belknap Long. The Harpers of Titan, Edmond (Moore) Hamilton. The Sentinel, Arthur C(harles) Clarke. Pictures Don’t Lie, Katherine (Anne) MacLean. The Lovers, Philip José Farmer. Mousetrap, Andre Norton. Fondly Fahrenheit, Alfred Bester. Exiles of Tomorrow, Marion Zimmer Bradley. Dust Rag, Hal Clement. Or All the Sea With Oysters, Avram (James) Davidson. The Store of the Worlds, Robert Sheckley. Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut (Jr.). Without a Thought, Fred(erick Thomas) Saberhagen. The Fiend, Frederik Pohl. We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, P(hilip) K(indred) Dick. Driftglass, Samuel R(ay) (“Chip”) Delany. The Jigsaw Man, Larry Niven. The Last Flight of Dr. Ain, James Tiptree, Jr. Seed Stock, Frank )Patrick) Herbert. Roommates, Harry Harrison. When It Changed, Joanna Russ. The Undercity, Dean R(ay) Koontz. Opening Fire, Barry N(orman) Malzberg. The Engine at Heartspring’s Center, Roger (Joseph) Zelazny. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card. Melancholy Elephants, Spider (Paul) Robinson. Burning Chrome, William (Ford) Gibson. Blood Music, Greg(ory Dale) Bear. Bloodchild, Octavia (Estelle) Butler. The Plague Star, George R(aymond) R(ichard) Martin. Remaking History, Kim Stanley Robinson. The Purchase of Earth, Jack Williamson.
How Science Fiction Got Its Name, Sam Moskowitz.
Fantasy and Science Fiction Film and Television.
Fantasy and Science Fiction Radio Series.
Fantasy and Science Fiction Comic Strips and Comic Books.
Fantasy and Science Fiction on the Internet.
Fantasy and Science Fiction Themes, Motifs, and Settings.
Cornerstone Studies and Anthologies of Fantasy and Science Fiction in Print Media.
Cornerstone Studies and Anthologies of Fantasy and Science Fiction in Nonprint Media.


  1. Todd Mason

    The first course I’m aware of was taught, I think, at the New School in Greenwich Village in the latest ’50s…and Dick Allen’s textbook anthology, SCIENCE FICTION: THE FUTURE, was a fine selection from 1970 or so (will look it up)…I think it was one of Scott, Foresman’s innovative series.

    I was looking forward to taking a course in 1979 at my New Hampshire high school, but we moved to Hawaii that spring…I did take a course at the University of Hawaii in 1982, initially, but the grad student who was teaching it didn’t know Pohl from a hole in the ground. Ended up dropping it and picking up a planetary astronomy course from a notable figure, who mocked sf courses when I sought the addition to his. Some days you can’t win.

    1. george Post author

      Todd, you certainly had a run a Bad Luck with those SF courses. Now, SF courses are a part of nearly every English Department.

    2. Todd Mason

      Science Fiction: The Future ed. Dick Allen (HBJ 0-15-578650-4, 1971, $3.75, 345pp, hc)
      ix · Preface · Dick Allen · pr
      1 · Introduction · Dick Allen · in
      7 · First Perspectives · Dick Allen · si
      9 · Advice to a Prophet · Richard Wilbur · pm The New Yorker Apr 4 1959
      11 · No Way Out, No Way Back · Time Magazine · ar Time 1969
      14 · The Human Race Has, Maybe, Thirty-Five Years Left · David Lyle · ar Esquire Sep 1967
      34 · Crab-Apple Crisis · George MacBeth · ss New Worlds Oct 1966
      42 · Earth’s Holocaust · Nathaniel Hawthorne · ss Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine May 1844
      59 · Alternative Futures: the Present as Future · Dick Allen · si
      61 · Poem Rocket · Allen Ginsberg · pm Poetry London-New York Sum 1960
      64 · The Country of the Blind · H. G. Wells · nv The Strand Apr 1904
      84 · Jachid and Jachidah · Isaac Bashevis Singer · ss 1961
      91 · They · Robert A. Heinlein · ss Unknown Apr 1941
      104 · The Artist · Kenneth Koch · pm 1962
      112 · The Balloon · Donald Barthelme · ss The New Yorker Apr 1966
      117 · The Future · Dick Allen · si
      121 · To the Chicago Abyss · Ray Bradbury · ss F&SF May 1963
      130 · Light of Other Days [Slow Glass] · Bob Shaw · ss Analog Aug 1966
      137 · Harrison Bergeron · Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. · ss F&SF Oct 1961
      143 · The Green Hills of Earth · Robert A. Heinlein · ss The Saturday Evening Post Feb 8 1947
      153 · Tithonus · D. M. Thomas · pm Penguin Modern Poets Nov 1968
      158 · The Machine Stops · E. M. Forster · nv Oxford and Cambridge Review Nov 1909
      184 · A Rose for Ecclesiastes · Roger Zelazny · nv F&SF Nov 1963
      215 · “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman · Harlan Ellison · ss Galaxy Dec 1965
      225 · Day Million · Frederik Pohl · ss Rogue Feb/Mar 1966
      230 · History Lesson · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Startling Stories May 1949
      238 · from The Time Machine [Time Machine] · H. G. Wells · ex The New Review Jan 1895 (+4)
      243 · Theories · Dick Allen · si
      245 · Starting Points · Kingsley Amis · ar 1960
      263 · Social Science Fiction · Isaac Asimov · ar Modern Science Fiction, Reginald Bretnor, Coward-McCann 1953
      291 · Science Fiction, Morals, and Religion · Gerald Heard · ar Modern Science Fiction, Reginald Bretnor, Coward-McCann 1953
      307 · The Boredom of Fantasy · Arthur Koestler · ar 1955
      312 · The Imagination of Disaster · Susan Sontag · ar 1965
      325 · The Future of Prediction · John P. Sisk · ar Commentary 1970
      334 · Topics of Writing and Research · [Misc.] · ms
      339 · Suggestions for Further Reading · [Misc.] · bi

      1. george Post author

        Todd, I have a copy of Science Fiction: The Future edited by Dick Allen around here somewhere. But Roberts’ book is three times its size!

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    No courses when you and I were young, so I found what I did on my own. This looks like a BIG book all right.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, same here. No SF or movie courses when I went to College. However, I did take a film course for my PhD. sequence. I wrote a paper on PSYCHO.

  3. Rick Robinson

    It’s certainly a varied anthology, though not surprisingly I wonder at many of the selections. I wonder what criteria the editors were using when selecting one story and not another? As you say, a lot of clutter. Interesting selection.

  4. wolf

    And in the 50s I got problems at school because I was reading too much SF, Fantasy and other “crap” like Westerns and Karl May’s stories about Indians and the Wild West instead of learning Latin and History …
    But since I was the school’s best pupil in maths and science they didn’t throw me out – just gave me a stern warning which I kind of ignored, just had to be better prepared for the tests so I again got “sufficient” results for those courses that I wasn’t really interested in …

    During most of my school days we only read stuff from authors who were dead at least a hundred years, omly at the end some contemporary authors were studied – but Science Fiction or Fantasy? No way …

  5. Steve Lewis

    A lot of classics in this book, along with some that I’d call “historical relics.” And some I don’t know. Not many, but a few, I bought this book when it first came out, but I don’t think I’ve opened it since it first arrived in the mail. It looks like maybe I should!

    1. george Post author

      Steve, my copy of THE PRENTICE HALL ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY came from a table of old textbooks with the sign FREE BOOKS!

  6. Garyn G. Roberts

    Read the introductions and headings for each story reprinted here.

    This will, I hope, provide some explanation as to why each story was selected. Selection was a careful process, and the final collection represents about 40% of the final stories selected by the editor–that’s me. Due to length of the already large volume with small font and blown out margins, many stories had to be left out.

    At any rate, the intro by Jack Williamson is worth the price of admission.

    Never thought every reader would like every story in the volume, but I hope you find some treasures.

    Often this is at least partially a matter of taste.

    I have often signed the book: “Ignore the editor, the stories are great.” I stand by that, and wish you all great Science Fiction.

    1. george Post author

      Garyn, I’d rather praise the Editor for doing a great job! THE PRENTICE HALL ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY includes plenty of wonderful stories.


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