FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #461: BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1949 Edited by Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty

I was born in 1949 so I thought it would be fun to see what the best Science Fiction stories in Bleiler and Dikty’s anthology revealed. I was familiar with Ray Bradbury’s “Mars is Heaven!” (part of his The Martian Chronicles. I was also familiar with “Ex Machina” by Lewis Padgett (aka, Henry Kuttner) which is one of the Gallagher stories about a genius who can solve any problem but only when he’s drunk. Henry Kuttner also wrote my favorite story in this anthology, “Happy Ending.” I also enjoyed “The Strange Case of John Kingman” by Murray Leinster about a man who has six fingers on each hand and has lived 162 years. All in all, I found Best Science Fiction Stories: 1949 a real treat. I’m tempted to review Best Science Fiction Stories: 1950 in a future FFB! GRADE: A-
Trends in Modern Science-Fiction, by Melvin Korshak
Preface, by Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty
“Mars is Heaven!”, by Ray Bradbury
“Ex Machina”, by Lewis Padgett
“The Strange Case of John Kingman”, by Murray Leinster
“Doughnut Jockey”, by Erik Fennel
“Thang”, by Martin Gardner
“Period Piece”, by J. J. Coupling
“Knock”, by Fredric Brown
“Genius”, by Poul Anderson
“And the Moon Be Still as Bright”, by Ray Bradbury
“No Connection”, by Isaac Asimov
“In Hiding”, by Wilmar H. Shiras
“Happy Ending”, by Henry Kuttner

19 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #461: BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1949 Edited by Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Good one. You should definitely do another one of these occasionally. I’ve been picking up the Asimov & Greenberg collections of ’40s and ’50s annual Best Stories, and obviously this would fit right in. I’ve read those same stories, plus the Brown for sure.

    1. wolf

      As a “war child” I started school in spring 1949 and btw we still had ration cards for food until the end of that year.
      Strangely enough the British had them longer though they had won the war!

      Back to the topic:
      I really enjoyed the SF of the war and the after war period (later collected all the magazines) – however some of it was obviously influenced by the Cold War and the fear of an atomic war destroying mankind or even Earth.
      Most of the stories in that collection I remember fondly, read them either in translations or in Englsih as a student – which was great for my work! In those days there weren’t too many Germans who could read write and talk good English/American.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, this volume was the first in about a dozen books Fleiler & Dikty edited in the late 1940s and 1950s. I have many of them and plan to review them for FFB this year.

  2. Cap'n Bob

    I don’t know if I read Mars is Heaven in text, but the EC Comics story is splendid! This looks a book I’d enjoy!

    1. george Post author

      Bob, there’s more where BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1949 came from. I have five or six more Bleiler & Dikty anthologies so you’ll be seeing more of these FFBs in the months ahead.

  3. Jim Harris

    Oh man, George, I envy you this read. And boy do I wish I had this anthology with that cover in fine condition.

    I was born in 1951, so we’re almost contemporaries. I thought Dan’s comment and your reply were hilarious.

    As you know, I’m working my way through the years of science fictions starting with 1939. When I get to 1949 I’ll have to find a copy of this Bleiler/Dikty anthology.

    1. george Post author

      Jim, I have a very nice copy of BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1950 with an even better dust jacket. You’ll see that post here in a few weeks!

  4. wolf

    Just looked at my book list and saw that I have an “Asimov selects best SF from 1949” – but it’s in Germany so I can’t say how it compares …


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