FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #606: THE GREAT SF STORIES #25 (1963) Edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg

After over two years of posting about The Great SF Stories series, I wrap things up today. My thanks to James Wallace Harris who inspired me to attempt this rereading back in 2018 of the 25 volumes by Asimov and Greenberg. So many great stories, so much knowledge shared by Asimov and Greenberg in their introductions to these stories!

I read John Brunner’s “The Totally Rich” back in 1963 and it blew my mind. Even today, with our Economy in shambles, the concept of the Totally Rich still is valid. With his novels, The Jagged Orbit and Stand on Zanzibar Brunner became one of my favorite SF writers. The most famous story in this anthology is Roger Zelazny’s classic “A Rose for Ecclesiastes.” Philip K. Dick’s “If There Were No Benny Cemoli” still bends my mind.

The Great SF Stories series ends on a sad note. Martin H. Greenberg says goodbye to his friend and anthology collaborator, Isaac Asimov, who died in April 1992 just few months before this anthology was published.

You’ll find a list of links to all my reviews of The Great SF Stories series below the Table of Contents. I hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews as much as I enjoyed writing them. GRADE: A


Introduction by Martin H. Greenberg – 9

  1. “Fortress Ship” by Fred Saberhagen (WORLDS OF IF, January 1963) – 13
  2. “Not in the Literature” by Christopher Anvil (ANALOG, March 1963) – 25
  3. “The Totally Rich” by John Brunner (WORLDS OF TOMORROW, June 1963) – 40
  4. No Truce with Kings” by Poul Anderson (MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, June 1963) – 68
  5. “New Folks’ Home” by Clifford D. Simak (ANALOG, July 1963) – 132
  6. “The Faces Outside” by Bruce McAllister (WORLDS OF IF, July 1963) – 160
  7. “Hot Planet” by Hal Clement (GALAXY, August 1963) – 170
  8. The Pain Peddlers” by Robert Silverberg (GALAXY, August 1963) – 194
  9. “Turn Off the Sky” by Ray Nelson (MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, August 1963) – 206
  10. “They Don’t Make Life Like They Used To” by Alfred Bester (MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, October 1963) – 254
  11. “Bernie the Faust” by William Tenn (PLAYBOY, November 1963) – 290
  12. A Rose for Ecclesiastes” by Roger Zelazny (MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, November 1963) – 319
  13. If There Were No Benny Cemoli” by Philip K. Dick (GALAXY, December 1963) -358



The Great SF Stories #1 (1939) :

The Great SF Stories #2 (1940):

The Great SF Stories #3 (1941):

The Great SF Stories #4 (1942):

The Great SF Stories #5 (1943):

The Great SF Stories #6 (1944):

The Great SF Stories #7 (1945):

The Great SF Stories #8 (1946):

The Great SF Stories #9 (1947):

The Great SF Stories #10 (1948):

The Great SF Stories #11 (1949):

The Great SF Stories #12 (1950):

The Great SF Stories #13 (1951):

The Great SF Stories #14 (1952):

The Great SF Stories #15 (1953):

The Great SF Stories #16 (1954):

The Great SF Stories #17 (1955):

The Great SF Stories #18 (1956):

The Great SF Stories #19 (1957):

The Great SF Stories #20 (1958):

The Great SF Stories #21 (1959):

The Great SF Stories #22 (1960):

The Great SF Stories #23 (1961):

The Great SF Stories #24 (1962):

The Great SF Stories #25 (1963):

The Great SF Stories #26 (1964):

25 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #606: THE GREAT SF STORIES #25 (1963) Edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg

  1. Jeff Smith

    Greenberg did do one more volume, the 1964 one, with Silverberg. The series didn’t continue beyond that.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, apparently the idea behind THE GREAT SF STORIES series was to provide “prequels” to Donald Wollheim’s THE WORLD’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION 1965 and the successive volumes.

  2. wolf

    Thanks again, George (and all the others here too …) for those wonderful memories!
    I grew up with SF in the late 50s and 60s and that was the main reason I invested a lot of time in learning English (besides wanting to understand the Blues and Rock music lyrics …).
    Starting with my studies in math and from in IT 1969 that really helped me in my career in IT – English was not deemed as necessary as today by many people.
    The only problem I have right now:
    Almost all of my books are in Germany but because of he Covid lockdown and moving house earlier this year I spend essentially all my time in Hungary – which of course is really great, but access to my books …

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, how sad that you are separated from your books! The latest Centers for Disease Control prediction for Fall 2020 is that the coronavirus pandemic will worsen. The U.S. had 1500 deaths yesterday.

  3. Steve Oerkfitz

    Very good collection. I would have read most of these in their original magazine appearance. A lot of my favorite writers here. Bruce McAllister is still writing. He was only 17 when his story was published.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, I’ve appreciated your comments on this series over the past couple of years. Like you, I read many of these later stories in Real Time as a teenager.

  4. Michael Padgett

    By ’63 I was in college and no longer reading the magazines but I’ve read a number of these stories elsewhere. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a set of these books. How difficult are they to find? And how pricey?

      1. Michael Padgett

        Thanks, Jerry. I just looked over the site and can’t believe I was unaware of it. I’m slipping.

      2. george Post author

        Jerry, ah–now I remember! It was Jerry House who told us that THE GREAT SF STORIES series is available at Luminist Archives! Thanks, Jerry!

    1. george Post author

      Michael, volumes in THE GREAT SF STORIES series vary in price. James Wallace Harris claims our reviews (he’s reading and posting about the series, too) has increased the prices. Someone told me the entire series is available online, but I forget who told me and where on the Internet it’s available.

  5. Jerry House

    It’s impossible to pick the best entry in this series, but #25 has to be close to the top. Asimov went out on a high note.

    1. george Post author

      Jerry, I remember my sense of sadness when I heard Isaac Asimov died. I’d been reading his work–both fiction and non-fiction–for decades. Then, later, when I found out the causes of Asimov’s death, it was even more tragic.

  6. Fred Blosser

    I was edging toward the SF magazines in 1963, but not quite there yet. By 1964, though, I was reading F&SF, where I first saw three of the stories in the Silverberg collection (Brackett, Kagen, Leiber), and either late that year or early 1965, ANALOG.

    1. george Post author

      Fred, I started subscribing to FANTASTIC and GALAXY in 1962. And, I was buying other issues of SF magazines on the magazine racks of local stores. By the mid-1960s, I was a hard-core SF reader!

  7. Rick Robinson

    I’ve read them all, some in the magazines, some in anthologies, and don’t think there’s a dud among them. Great series, and great series of posts on it, George. Thanks very much. Also, thanks to Jerry for mentioning the Luminist Archives, which I’d missed. I’ll be DLing some of those PDS, you can be sure.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, thank you for your kind words. Originally, I read THE GREAT SF STORIES volumes as they were published in the 1980s. Then, in 2018, James Wallace Harris motivated me to reread the entire series. It was fun and everyone who commented on those 26 posts made the experience all that much richer.

  8. Todd Mason

    And for the counters, this volume has four from F&SF, six from the GALAXY group of magazines, two from ANALOG and one from PLAYBOY.

    I read a number of these ca. 1978-80 in old paperbacks of the Judith Merrill annual, and other sources…but had to wait till I had the right back-issue of F&SF to read “Turn Off the Sky”…and eventually bought this volume of this series.

    Yes, since these were published by DAW Books, the non-overlap with Wollheim and Carr’s Ace volumes was Part of the Deal…sad that Asimov’s death dovetailed so neatly with that wrapping up. AIDS wasn’t sparing many then. While rather as rake (Asimov has been taking his deserved lumps for this in recent years), apparently he contracted the disease from a transfusion. I was working at my desk at Computer Sciences Corporation when the news came across on the radio.

    Glad you’ve had fun revisiting them, George.

    1. george Post author

      Todd, your insightful comments on many of the posts of THE GREAT SF STORIES added to the fun of the project. I’m kicking around some ideas for my next extravaganza.

  9. James W. Harris

    Congratulations, George. That was a huge project to finish. Looking forward to reading your reviews of the next anthology series. I’m still stuck back on 1953. I finished the Asimov/Greenberg volume, and the Bleiler/Dikty’s short story anthology, but I haven’t finished their short novel anthology. I’ve been distracted by a Facebook group. We’re started the Terry Carr series and are in the second volume. If you’re interested, join us here:

    1. george Post author

      Jim, thanks for the kind words. But I could not have attempted this 2-year project without your motivation! Thank you for that. I’ll try and dig out my Terry Carr series. Thanks for the link!


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