FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #513: THE GREAT SF STORIES #5 (1943) Edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg

The Great SF Stories #5 features FIVE stories by Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore. “Mimsy Were the Borogroves” (adapted as the movie “The Last Mimsy” in 2007) is one of the classic SF stories from this period. But my favorite story in this anthology is “The Proud Robot.” This is one of the “Galloway Gallegher” stories that Kuttner and Moore wrote that were later collected in Robots Have No Tails. Gallegher is a genius, but does his best work when he’s very, very drunk (not politically correct today). When Gallegher wakes up from one of his binges, he finds incredible technology that he invented “under the influence”–but he has no idea how it works or what it does. I love these clever tales and “The Proud Robot” is one of the best stories in the series.

I also enjoyed Leigh Bracket’s “The Hafling” and her husband’s fine short story, “Exile.” Once again, ASTOUNDING dominated the SF field and published the majority of the stories in this anthology. GRADE: A
1943 INTRODUCTION by Martin H. Greenberg and Isaac Asimov 7
“The Cave” by P. Schuyler Miller (ASTOUNDING, January 1943) 11
“The Halfling” by Leigh Brackett (ASTOUNDING, February 1943) 30
“Mimsy Were the Borogoves” by Lewis Padgett (aka, Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore) (ASTOUNDING, February 1943) 57
“Q.U.R.” by Anthony Boucher (ASTOUNDING, March 1943) 91
“Clash by Night” by Lawrence O’Donnell (aka, Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore) (ASTOUNDING, March 1943) 113
“Exile” by Edmond Hamilton (SUPER SCIENCE STORIES, May 1943) 172
“Daymare” by Fredric Brown (THRILLING WONDER STORIES, Fall 1943) 178
“Doorway into Time” by C. L. Moore (FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, September 1943) 219
“The Storm” by A. E. van Vogt (ASTOUNDING, October 1943) 238
“The Proud Robot” by Lewis Padgett (ASTOUNDING, October 1943) 271
“Symbiotica” by Eric Frank Russell (ASTOUNDING, October 1943) 306
“The Iron Standard” by Lewis Padgett (ASTOUNDING, December 1943) 352

20 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #513: THE GREAT SF STORIES #5 (1943) Edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    As the series progresses I am finding more stories that I am familiar with. Kuttner with 3 stories is a longtime favorite of mine.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, Kuttner and Moore dominated 1943 with their stories. Asimov and Greenberg picked five of their stories, but it could have easily been 10.

  2. wolf

    Those really were the Golden Days of SF, Astounding and of course John W campbell – before he went crazy.
    After reading your post I looked him up again on wiki:
    What a pity he became a Dianetics fan – after doing propaganda for the DEan Drive etc.
    As a mathematics and physics student in the 1960s I was especially disappointed by this …

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, Dianetics attracted plenty of people. John W. Campbell was looking for a new science of the mind (he loved the notion of telepathy).

      1. Todd Mason

        Yes, but also he was into dowsing, the Dean Drive, the Hieronymos machine (which would work just as well with a diagram of its components inside as the components…), and all sorts of other crackpottery.

      2. george Post author

        Todd, John Campbell was attracted to the off-beat and bizarre. As you so eloquently put it: all sorts of crackpottery.

  3. Jerry House

    A fantastic entry in the series, George, not a clunker in the lot. It’s interesting that there are FIVE (!) stories by Kuttner and/or Moore in this volume, about 40% of the stories! And with 8 out the 12 stories coming from ASTOUNDING there’s no doubt of Campbell’s influence as an editor.

    1. george Post author

      Jerry, I admire Asimov and Greenberg for including the stories they consider the “best” of the year even if five of them are by Kuttner and Moore. They did the same for Heinlein (four stories) in a previous anthology.

  4. Jeff Meyerson

    I am really enjoying this series too, though I only have a half dozen or so of the books. Kuttner is almost always good.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, even beer commercials warn views to “Drink Responsibly.” Back in the 1940s, few people realized the side-effects of massive alcohol consumption. It was all a Big Joke…until it wasn’t.

      1. Todd Mason

        More than you might think, George. My paternal grandfather was an alcoholic and it was a source of no little trouble in the household before his early death…in part due to the alcoholism and in part due to silicosis from his work in granite polishing sheds.

      2. george Post author

        Todd, I’m convinced many “alcoholics” were sick people trying to self-medicate with alcohol. We’re seeing the same thing today with people using marijuana to treat every aliment under the sun. There was also the myth back in the 1930s and 1940s that in order to be a “real” writer, you had to be able to consume massive amounts of alcohol. That ruined Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and many more writers.

      3. Todd Mason

        I have a hypothesis about that one, too, given how many writers are prone to alcoholism. A lot of writers also hear voices in their heads…not so much voices telling them to go bomb a church, but voices of people in their lives, voices of characters, etc. Alcohol, unfortunately, is often the quick fix to shutting those voices down when they get intrusive.

      4. george Post author

        Todd, your hypothesis makes sense to me. Alcohol and other drugs lend themselves to people who want to “self-medicate.” Of course, there are side-effects…

  5. Todd Mason

    If the volumes collected from years after Campbell gathered his stable together featured as much fantasy as some of the earliest volumes did, you’d certainly be seeing a fair amount of WEIRD TALES inclusions in these years, as well. ASTOUNDING was the best sf magazine in the early ’40s, in part because the Futurian magazines had no budgets and the editors were green kids, and in part because Ray Palmer wasn’t interested in profundity much, and Weisinger and the PLANET STORIES folks in those years weren’t exactly good at their jobs (and Mary Gnaedinger at FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES might have one new story per issue among the reprints, and it only occasionally an sf story, vs a fantasy or horror story). Most students of Moore and Kuttner figure the “Gallagher” stories were about as pure Kuttner as anything they wrote during their marriage…and they are fun. I think this was the first volume in this series I purchased.

  6. Pingback: The Great SF Stories Volume 5, 1943 | SF MAGAZINES

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