An Anthology of Modern Science Fiction
"Modern science fiction has come a long way from its early beginnigs in specialist American magazines of the early Thirties: its rapid growth and current world-wide popularity represents a literary phenomenon unique to the twentieth century. This collection brings together, for the first time, some of the best contemporary sf by American, British and Australian writers. As well as providing a valuable showcase for fine writing, Beyond Tomorrow will also serve as an introduction to a genre which, although enormously popular overseas, is still relatively unknown in Australia.
"The stories have been chosed to provide a broad spectrum of the field. ISAAC ASIMOV strikes the right note in his illuminating Foreword, and it is immediately followed by R.A. LAFFERTY, who in "Rainbird" reminds us of the absurdity of altering our past. In the poignant "The Man Who Came Early", POUL ANDERSON suggests that in the country of the blind the one-eyed man might not always be a king. "Nine Lives" by URSULA LE GUIN and "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" by CORDWAINER SMITH are unforgettable emotional experiences of the kind that only sf can provide. "Sundance" is a technical triumph for ROBERT SILVERBERG, and a literary trap worthy of John Fowles, while in "The Oh in Jose" BRIAN ALDISS offers us a timeless meditation on the art of storytelling. The contribution of the Australian writers is equally diverse. In "Takeover Bid", JOHN BAXTER has written a suspenseful tale of bureaucratic rivalry and strange goings on in the central Australian desert; CHERRY WILDER has created some delightful aliens in "The Ark of James Carlyle"; TONY MORPHETT has devised a zany garbage disposal unit that goes awry in "Litterbug"; and the melancholy and quiet dignity to be found in "A Song Before Sunset" by DAVID GRIGG and "Late" by A. BERTRAM CHANDLER serve to remind us - as does the closing story by J.G. BALLARD - of the poetic heritage of modern science fiction.
"But this is only a brief sampling of the riches that await you. Beyond Tomorrow is a collection of seventeen first-class sf stories, chosen by a specialist in the field. Read on!"
Foreword "The Bad News and the Good" - Isaac Asimov
"Rainbird" - R.A. Lafferty
"Nine Lives" - Ursula Le Guin
"Idiot Stick" - Damon Knight
"The Ark of James Carlyle" - Cherry Wilder
"The Commuter" - Phillip K. Dick
"The Oath" - James Blish
"Takeover Bid" - John Baxter
"Comes Now the Power" - Roger Zelazny
"Litterbug" - Tony Morphett
"Late" - A. Bertram Chandler
"Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" - Cordwainer Smith
"A Song Before Sunset" - David Grigg
"Sundance" - Robert Silverberg
"The Oh in Jose" - Brian Aldiss
"The Man Who Came Early" - Poul Anderson
"Call Him Lord" - Gordon Dickson
"The Garden of Time" - J.G. Ballard
Afterword - Lee Harding
First Paragraph from the Foreword:
I have some bad news for you and some good news.
The bad news is this. You may have missed the Golden Age of Science Fiction during all the twenty years that it was burning up the news-stands in the United States.
The good news is this. You can start having it now.
If any of you who are reading these words happened to have died in the Forties and Fifties (I suppose not many of you have) then the bad news is permanent. You've missed the Golden Age forever. For most of you readers, who are still alive, or have been born since, the good news is permanent. Just gobble up the Golden Age till your reading capacity is so full the stuff starts leaking out at the medulla oblongata.
First Paragraph from the Afterword:
No single volume could hope to do justice to the wide variety of science fiction now being published throughout the world. In Beyond Tomorrow I have brought together some of the finest contemporary writing from England and America, and combined it with a selection of Australian stories, demonstrating that there are a number of writers in this country already experienced in the difficult art of writing science fiction.
Recent years have witnessed an astonishing flowering of the genre in places as wide afield as Poland, Japan, Russia and South America, to mention only a few. Only a small proportion of this interesting new work has so far been made available in translation, and in some cases rights have proven difficult to obtain. These problems will be solved in time, and I like to think that future publications of this nature will include a representative selection of these important new voices.
From the Wren hardback edition, 1976.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2000-03 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Lee Harding page.
Last modified: October 7, 2003.