Friday, December 30, 2011

Forgotten Books: First Flight -- Edited by Damon Knight

"In a sense, the whole history of modern s.f. is contained in these ten first stories," says Damon Knight in his introduction. And who am I to argue with Damon Knight? All I know is that we should all be so lucky as to write a story anywhere nearly as good as these at any time in our careers.

It won't surprise you to learn that of the ten, eight first appeared in Campbell's Astounding. (The Anderson appeared in Space Science Fiction, and the Aldiss in Nebula Science Fiction.) This is another one of those books that anybody who's interested in the history of the genre should own, and cheap copies abound on the 'Net for those of you who'd like to own one (if you don't already).

3 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Actually, it was the Budrys that first appeared in Lester Del Rey's magazine SPACE SCIENCE FICTION...though Budrys would certainly go on to be a major star of ASTOUNDING. Kind of interesting to note who had and who hadn't published much fiction (or nonfiction) before these first sf items...Sturgeon had published mysteries, Van Vogt "true confessions," I can't imagine that was de Camp's first publication of any sort...

Todd Mason said...

Also, I'll have to ask around as to why F. N. Waldrop was credited as co-author of Anderson's "Tomorrow's Children" in its initial publication (in ASTOUNDING and also in first reprints) but not here nor in THE BOOK OF POUL ANDERSON...

zybahn said...

I went through a brief science fiction faze in my teens, mostly in the short form, & I credit this book for it. A few days during a steaming summer heat wave, when my best friend was on a trip with his family, I sat in the cool basement reading the expanded version of First Flight. My version included nearly twice as many stories, including Cordwainer Smith's "Scanners Live in Vain" and Edgar Pangborn's "Angel's Egg." I later learned that there was another expanded version with a few more stories. I suppose you can keep expanding upon this theme ad infinitum.