FORGOTTEN BOOKS #424: A TREASURY OF GREAT SCIENCE FICTION Edited by Anthony Boucher


Readers of a certain age will remember A Treasury of Great Science Fiction. It was everywhere in the Sixties and Seventies. Published in 1959, the two-volume set became a mainstay of the Science Fiction Book Club. For a lot of SF readers, this was the anthology that got them started. I’ve seen sets of A Treasury of Great Science Fiction for decades. But once the 1990s arrived, Anthony Boucher’s SF anthology became more scarce. It’s been a decade since I’ve seen a set in a thrift store or used bookstore. A Treasury of Great Science Ficiton offers four full-length novels, 12 novelettes, and 8 short stories in two 500+ page volumes. I’d call that a bargain! GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
VOLUME I
RE-BIRTH by John Wyndham
THE SHAPE OF THINGS THAT CAME by Richard Deming
PILLAR OF FIRE by Ray Bradbury
WALDO by Robert A. Heinlein
THE FATHER-THING by Philip K. Dick
THE CHILDREN’S HOUR by Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore
GOMEZ by C. M. Kornbluth
THE (WIDGET), THE (WADGET), AND BOFF by Theodore Sturgeon
SANDRA by George P. Elliott
BEYOND SPACE AND TIME by Joel Townsley Rodgers
THE MARTIAN CROWN JEWELS by Poul Anderson
THE WEAPON SHOPS OF ISHER by A. E. van Vogt
VOLUME II
BRAIN WAVE by Poul Anderson
BULLARD REFLECTS by Malcolm Jameson
THE LOST YEARS by Oscar Lewis
DEAD CENTER by Judith Merril
LOST ART by George O. Smith
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY by Arthur C. Clarke
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON by Robert A. Heinlein
MAGIC CITY by Nelson S. Bond
THE MORNING OF THE DAY THEY DID IT by E. B. White
PIGGY BANK by Henry Kuttner
LETTERS FROM LAURA by Mildred Clingerman
THE STARS MY DESTINATION by Alfred Bester

20 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #424: A TREASURY OF GREAT SCIENCE FICTION Edited by Anthony Boucher

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I got these when I joined the SF Book Club at the age of about 13, way back in 1961. A lot of reading for the buck. Especially like The Stars My Destination and Re-Birth among the 4 novels. Among the shorter stuff I have always liked The Father Thing by Dick and The Widget The Wadget and Boff by Sturgeon. A lot of the stories I don’t remember after all these years, but A lot of them I have reread.

    Reply
  2. Bill Crider

    What a great anthology. I’ve had my copy for so many years that I can’t remember just when I got it. Wonderful stuff.

    Reply
  3. Jeff Meyerson

    Absolutely. You used to see them everywhere. There must still be a lot of copies out there.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, there might be a lot of TREASURY OF GREAT SF copies, but I don’t see them anymore. They used to be in just about every thrift store I ever visited up to the 1990s. Now, they are extinct.

      Reply
  4. Todd Mason

    The ubiquity was furthered by all those SFBC copies….notable that Boucher, as a man as firmly planted in crime fiction as speculative fiction had no difficulty including the work of fellow amphibians more on the CF side of the river such as Deming and Rogers, contemporary/mimetic lungfish Elliott, and primarily historical fiction/YA writer Lewis.

    “Dead Center” was one of two stories Martha Foley snagged from F&SF for a BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES volume in the 1950s, Sturgeon’s “The Man Who Lost the Sea” being the other.

    Reply
  5. Rick Robinson

    A terrific set, one of my favorite anthologies at the time (I got it in 1961, I believe, from the SF Book Club). I still have the books, a little worse for rereading, on the shelf. I remember “The Father Thing” scared the hell out of me when I first read it.

    Reply
  6. wolf

    A collection of masterpieces!

    Probabl read the contents of those books already in German translations around 1960 – a friend of my mom worked in a small bookstore and I could read the books in the afternoon in the store …
    Those were the days!

    Reply
  7. Scott Cupp

    It’s a fabulous anthology. It was where I first read The Stars, My Destination and many other folks.

    Reply

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