FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #469: THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1950 Edited by Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty

A few weeks ago I reviewed The Best Science Fiction Stories: 1949 and enjoyed the experience. (You can read my review here.) So I decided to read the next volume in Bleier & Dikty’s classic series, The Best Science Fiction Stories: 1950. Once again, I was transported back to my childhood when I first read these great anthologies. My favorite story in this book is Henry Kuttner’s clever “Private Eye.” In a world of complete surveillance, how do you commit a murder and get away with it? Kuttner shows how.

One of my favorite SF stories of all time is Clifford Simak’s “The Big Front Yard.” “Eternity Lost” shows Simak’s concern for immortality and human foibles. Many YEAR’S BEST SF anthologies don’t include two stories by the same writer. Bleiler & Dikty break that rule for Ray Bradbury. I’m a big fan of John D. MacDonald’s work, but he didn’t write much SF. “Flow” demonstrates JDM could write SF very well.

After reading The Best Science Fiction Stories: 1950 you’ll conclude 1950 was a very good year for SF. GRADE: A
A Sort of Introduction, by Vincent Starrett 9
Preface, by Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty 17
“Private Eye”, by Henry Kuttner 29
“Doomsday Deferred”, by Will F. Jenkins 66
“The Hurkle Is a Happy Beast”, by Theodore Sturgeon 85
“Eternity Lost”, by Clifford Simak 96
“Easter Eggs”, by Robert Spencer Carr 132
“Opening Doors”, by Wilmar H. Shiras 173
“Five Years in the Marmalade”, by Robert W. Krepps 218
“Dwellers in Silence”, by Ray Bradbury 237
“Mouse”, by Fredric Brown 253
“Refuge for Tonight”, by Robert Moore Williams 266
“The Life-Work of Professor Muntz”, by Murray Leinster 300
“Flaw”, by John D. MacDonald 316
“The Man”, by Ray Bradbury 326
About the Authors 343

19 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #469: THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1950 Edited by Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty

  1. wolf

    For a moment I was unsure – The Big Front Yard in 1950?
    But then I got it …
    Btw this also was one of my favourites, but generally I liked (and still like …) these authors like Simak, Kuttner, Leinster, Bradbury, Sturgeon – they were an important part of my growing up.

    I didn’t have too much money, but as a student at least I could visit libraries likethe America House and there also were a few SF fans in German publishing who started SF – and translated the greatest stories from English too.
    So we got cheap paperbacks at least …

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, these early BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES anthologies have gotten very pricey. I wish I’d bought them years ago when they were widely available…and cheap!

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    I like these older anthologies of SF stories, especially as I missed a lot of them the first time around. I have a bunch of them on the shelf. I did read a collection of JDM’s science fiction stories, and agree he did a pretty good job.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I’m a little surprised JDM didn’t write more SF. But once he struck gold with the Travis McGee series, there was no chance he was going to pursue a writing career in Science Fiction.

  3. Dan

    As far as having 2 stories by the same author, I note this includes stories by Murray Leinster & Will F. Jenkins.

  4. Rick Robinson

    This is a very good anthology, I would have enjoyed nearly every story, and I’m pretty sure I’ve read them all. As for Simak, I clearly remember the Kelly Freas cover of Astounding SF with “The Big Front Yard” on it, the salesman looked a little like Bing Crosby. I sure wish someone would reprint these Best Of anthologies for 1945 through 1960.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, I wish someone would reprint these BEST SF STORIES anthologies by Bleiler & Dikty, too. I have a number of them, but not all of them.

  5. Jerry House

    I have read and enjoyed all the Bleile/Dikty “Best of” anthologies, marginally more so than those Dikty edited alone. They paved the way for the more popular Judy Merril Best S-F series. (More popular, not necessarily better; Merril had the advantage of paperback editions which Bleiler/Dikty did not.) After Merril, then came the deluge.

    It’s probably because I’m an old fart, but those stories of the late Forties-early Fifties resonate with me.

    1. george Post author

      Jerry, these stories from the late 1940s and early 1950s resonate with me, too. Speaking of “The Deluge” of YEAR’S BEST SF anthologies, I’m about to start reading the first of a bunch of BEST SF from 2017. You’ll see those posts in a few weeks.

      1. Rick Robinson

        I still haven’t read all of the Best Of 2016 anthologies, George, and have some 2015 and some Clarkesworld anthologies to go as well. Sigh. There’s just not enough time.

    2. wolf

      The same goes for me – and my wife!
      I just looked at her part of our book collection again and marveled at how many of these early SF works were translated into Hungarian – though they surely didn’t pay much to the translators.

    1. george Post author

      Bob, these anthologies used to pop up in used bookstores all the time. But, now they’re scarce…and pricey! If I find a copy, I’ll send it to you.

  6. Jim Harris

    George, you’re making me want to spend a bunch of money! Sometimes I think I want to blow some of my retirement money on collecting first editions in very fine condition.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *