Great SF

The following list emerged from my reading of all 25 volumes of Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories. However, I caught the bug for SF stories long before this, and no doubt will continue—hopefully for a while yet.

The following list draws upon not only the Asimov & Greenberg series, but also T.E. Dikty and E.F. Bleiler’s Best Science Fiction Stories, Frederick Pohl’s Star Science Fiction, Judith Merril’s The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy and Year’s Best S-F, Donald Wolheim and Terry Carr’s World’s Best Science Fiction Series, and Robert Silverberg Presents The Great SF Stories 1964 (among others). I have also drawn stories from individual author collections.

I will continue to expand this list up until at least 1980 and perhaps a bit further. I also will extend it into the past before 1939. My main area of interest, however, is between 1950 and 1970.

My ratings are not abstractly objective, as none can be. It is, however, objectively subjective, which is a fancy way of saying that it really exists! I will no doubt change some of the ratings from time to time, depending on rereads and whim. Make of it what you will, let the ratings frustrate, amuse or what have you.

Highlighted titles indicate that a review is available elsewhere on my blog. Entries are listed alphabetically by author. In case of multiple author entries, said entries are listed alphabetically by title.

And yes. I have read every one of the following stories.

UPDATED: 8 February 2022


/ *** Top Shelf / ** Good / * Not bad /

For those interested you can see the Top Shelf picks alone here.


* Shambleau—C. L. Moore


* In the World’s Dusk—Edmond Hamilton


* The Sands of Time—P. Schuyler Miller


**Seeds of the Dusk—Raymond Z. Gallun


** The Strange Flight of Richard Clayton—Robert Bloch

** Pilgrimage—Nelson Bond

** Misfit—Robert Heinlein

** Rust—Joseph E. Kelleam

** Greater Than Gods—C. L. Moore

** Heavy Planet—Milton A. Rothman

** The Gnarly Man—L. Sprague De Camp

* Ether Breather—Theodore Sturgeon


* Playfellow—Isaac Asimov

** Farewell To The Master—Harry Bates (basis for The Day the Earth Stood Still)

** The Impossible Highway—Oscar J. Friend

* The Dwindling Sphere—Willard Hawkins

** Coventry—Robert Heinlein

** Requiem—Robert A. Heinlein

* Quietus—Ross Rocklyne

** Old Man Mulligan—P. Schuyler Miller


* Evolution’s End—Robert Arthur

** Nightfall—Isaac Asimov

** Adam and No Eve—Alfred Bester

* And He Built a Crooked House—Robert A. Heinlein

* By His Bootstraps—Robert A. Heinlein

* They—Robert A. Heinlein

*** Universe—Robert A. Heinlein

** The Rocket of 1955—C.M. Kornbluth

** The Words of Guru—C.M. Kornbluth

* Time Wants A Skeleton—Ross Rocklynne

** Jay Score—Eric Frank Russel

** Mechanical Mice—Eric Frank Russel (as Maurice A. Hugi)

*** Microcosmic God—Theodore Sturgeon

* Shottle Bop—Theodore Sturgeon


** Foundation—Isaac Asimov

* The Push of a Finger—Alfred Bester

* Barrier—Anthony Boucher

*** The Star Mouse—Frederic Brown

** Proof—Hal Clement

* QRM-Interplanetary—George O. Smith

** The Twonky—Lewis Padgett (aka C.L. Moore and Henry Kutner)

* Asylum—A. E. Van Vogt (I’m loathe to even give one star to Van Vogt)

* The Weapons Shop——A. E. Van Vogt

** Mimic—Donald A. Wolheim


* Q.U.R.—Anthony Boucher

** The Halfling—Leigh Brackett

** Daymare—Frederic Brown

* Exile—Edmond Hamilton

** Doorway Into Time—C.L. Moore

* Clash By Night—Lawrence O’Donnell

** Mimsy Were The Borogroves—Lewis Padgett

*** The Cave— P. Schuyler Miller

** Symbiotica—Eric Frank Russell


** The Veil of Astellar—Leigh Brackett

** Arena—Frederic Brown

* Sanity—Fritz Leiber

** No Woman Born—C.L. Moore

** City—Clifford D. Simak

*** Desertion—Clifford D. Simak

** Killdozer!—Theodore Sturgeon

* Far Centaurus—A.E. Van Vogt


* Blind Alley—Isaac Asimov

** Giant Killer—A. Bertram Chandler

* Pi in the Sky—Frederic Brown

* The Waveries—Frederic Brown

* What You Need—Henry Kuttner

* Wanted–An Enemy—Fritz Leiber

*** First Contact—Murray Leinster

** De Profundis—Murray Leinster

** The Power—Murray Leinster

* The Piper’s Son—Lewis Padgett


* Evidence—Isaac Asimov

** Lorelei of the Red Mist—Ray Bradbury and Leigh Brackett

** The Million Year Picnic—Ray Bradbury

*** The Last Objective—Paul A. Carter

** Loophole—Arthur C. Clarke

** Rescue Party—Arthur C. Clarke

* Technical Error—Arthur C. Clarke

** A Logic Named Joe—Will F. Jenkins (Murray Leinster)

* Absalom—Henry Kuttner

*** Vintage Season—Lawrence O’Donnell (CL Moore and Henry Kutner)

* Mewhu’s Jet—Theodore Sturgeon


* Little Lost Robot—Isaac Asimov

* Zero Hour—Ray Bradbury

* Hobbyist—Eric Frank Russell

*** E For Effort—T.L. Sherred

* Tiny and the Monster—Theodore Sturgeon

* Child’s Play—William Tenn

** With Folded Hands—Jack Williamson


** He Walked Around the Horses—H. Beam Piper

** Mars Is Heaven—Ray Bradbury

** A Child Is Crying——John D. MacDonald

* Ring Around The Redhead—John D. MacDonald

** That Only A Mother—Judith Merril

* (?) Dreams Are Sacred—Peter Phillips

* Late Night Final—Eric Frank Russell

* In Hiding—Wilmar H. Shiras

* Brooklyn Project—William Tenn

** Dormant—A.E. Van Vogt


*** Alien Earth—Edmond Hamilton

* Defense Mechanism—Katherine MacLean

** The Prisoner in the Skull—Lewis Padgett

** Manna—Peter Philips

** The Witches of Karres—James H. Schmitz

** The Hurkle Is A Happy Beast—Theodore Sturgeon


** Misbegotten Missionary—Isaac Asimov

* Oddy and Id—Alfred Bester

** A Subway Names Moebius—A. J. Deutsch

** The New Reality—Charles L. Harness

** Not With A Bang—Damon Knight

** To Serve Man—Damon Knight

*** The Little Black Bag—C. M. Kornbluth

** The Mindworm—C. M. Kornbluth

** The Silly Season—C. M. Kornbluth

*** Coming Attraction—Fritz Leiber

*** Spectator Sport—John D. MacDonald

** The Sack—William Morrison

*** Dear Devil—Eric Frank Russel

** Scanners Live In Vain—Cordwainer Smith


** The Quest For St. Aquin—Anthony Boucher

** Balance—John Christopher

** The Sentinel—Arthur C. Clarke

** I’m Scared—Jack Finney

** With These Hands—C.M. Kornbluth

* The Other Side—Walter Kubilius

*** A Pail of Air—Fritz Leiber

* Pictures Don’t Lie—Katherine MacLean

** Dune Roller—Julian May

*** Dark Benediction—Walter M. Miller, jr.

** Null-P—William Tenn

*** Bettyann—Kris Neville

*** Old Man Henderson—Kris Neville

* At No Extra Cost—Peter Philips

** The Rats—Arthur Porges

** The Inhabited Men—Margaret St. Clair

** Brightness Falls From the Air—Idris Seabright (Margaret St. Clair)

* The Two Shadows—William F. Temple

* The Men of the Ten Books—Jack Vance


** Hobson’s Choice—Alfred Bester

** The Conqueror—Mark Clifton

** What Have I Done?—Mark Clifton

** Defender Of The Faith—Alfred Coppel

*** What’s It Like Out There?—Edmond Hamilton

** Ararat—Zenna Henderson

** The Analogues—Damon Knight

*** Ticket To Anywhere—Damon Knight

*** The Altar At Midnight—Cyril Kornbluth

** The Moon Is Green—Fritz Leiber

** The Middle of the Week After Next—Murray Leinster

** Game For Blondes—John D. MacDonald

**Daughters of Earth—Judith Merril

** Conditionally Human—Walter M. Miller

* Dumb Waiter—Walter M. Miller

** It Takes A Thief/Big Joe and the Nth Generation—Walter M. Miller

** The Big Hunter—Walter M. Miller

* The Girls from Earth—Frank M. Robinson

* Fast Falls the Eventide—Eric Frank Russel

** I am Nothing—Eric Frank Russel

*** Cost Of Living—Robert Sheckley

** The Impacted Man—Robert Sheckley

*** Delay In Transit—F. L. Wallace


*** Sam Hall—Poul Anderson

** Disappearing Act—Alfred Bester

* Time Is The Traitor—Alfred Bester

** It’s A Good Life—Jerome Bixby

* Common Time—James Blish

** FYI—James Blish

** A Pound of Cure—Lester del Rey

** Idealist—Lester del Rey

*** The Defenders—Philip K. Dick

** Impostor—Philip K. Dick

*** Second Variety—Philip K. Dick

** The Big Holiday—Fritz Lieber

** The Journey—Murray Leinster

** Crucifixus Etiam—Walter M. Miller, Jr.

*** The Liberation Of Earth—William Tenn

** The Last Weapon—Robert Sheckley

** Warm—Robert Sheckley

** The World Well Lost—Theodore Sturgeon

** The Deserter—William Tenn


** Fondly Fahrenheit—Alfred Bester

* Balaam—Anthony Boucher

** The End Of Summer—Algis Budrys

** Breakfast at Twilight—Philip K. Dick

** The Father-Thing—Philip K. Dick

** The Golden Man—Philip K. Dick

*** The Last of the Masters—Philip K. Dick

** The Hunting Lodge—Randall Garrett

* The Cold Equations—Tom Godwin

** Anachron—Damon Knight

** The Test—Richard Matheson

** Dead Center—Judith Merril

** The Will—Walter M. Miller

** The Music Master Of Babylon—Edgar Pangborn

** The Midas Plague—Frederik Pohl

** Beast In The House—Michael Shaara

** The Holes—Michael Shaara

*** Short In The Chest—Margaret St. Clair

*** Down Among The Dead Men—William Tenn

** The Lysenko Maze—Donald A. Wolheim


** The Vanishing American——Charles Beaumont

** Nobody Bothers Gus—Algis Budrys

** Autofac—Philip K. Dick

** Captive Market—Philip K. Dick

** Foster, You’re Dead!—Philip K Dick

** The Mold of Yancy—Philip K. Dick

** The Cave Of Night—James E. Gunn

* Dance of the Dead—Richard Matheson

*** The Darfsteller—Walter M. Miller, jr.

*** The Tunnel Under The World—Frederik Pohl

* Allamagoosa—Eric Frank Russell

** The Game Of Rat And Dragon—Cordwainer Smith

* Guinevere for Everybody—Jack Williamson


*** The Country Of The Kind—Damon Knight

** Exploration Team—Murray Leinster

** Rite of Passage—Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore

** Brightside Crossing—Alan E. Nourse

** Compounded Interest—Mack Reynolds

** Horror Howce—Margaret St. Clair


** Let’s Be Frank—Brian W. Aldiss

* Call Me Joe—Poul Anderson

*** The Concentration City (aka ‘Build-Up)—J. G. Ballard

** Manhole 69 (1957)—J. G. Ballard

*** Omnilingual—H. Beam Piper

** The Tunesmith—Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

** Soldier—Harlan Ellison

*** Hunting Machine—Carol Emshwiller

*** Dio—Damon Knight

** The Education Of Tigress McCardle—C. M. Kornbluth

*** The Last Man Left In The Bar—C. M. Kornbluth

** The Lineman—Walter M. Miller

** The Wind Blows Free—Chad Oliver

* The Mile-Long Spaceship—Kate Wilhelm


** The Last Of The Deliverers—Poul Anderson

** Poor Little Warrior—Brian W. Aldiss

** Unwilling To School—Pauline Ashwell

** Tomorrow’s Gift—Edmund Cooper

** Or All The Seas With Oysters—Avram Davidson

* Helping Hand—Lester del Rey

** The Immortals—James E. Gunn

** Try And Change The Past—Fritz Leiber

** Unhuman Sacrifice—Katherine MacLean

** Wish Upon A Star—Judith Merril

** The Yellow Pill—Rog Phillips

*** The Big Front Yard—Clifford D. Simak

*** The Burning Of The Brain—Cordwainer Smith


** Adrift on the Policy Level—Chan Davis

* The Alley Man—Philip José Farmer

*** What Rough Beast—Damon Knight

** A Death In The House—Clifford D. Simak

** No, No, Not Rogov!—Cordwainer Smith

** The Man Who Lost The Sea—Theodore Sturgeon

* The Malted Milk Monster—William Tenn


** The Longest Voyage—Poul Anderson

*** Mind Partner—Christopher Anvil

** The Voices Of Time—J. G. Ballard

** The Fellow Who Married The Maxill Girl—Ward Moore

** The Day The Icicle Works Stopped Working—Frederik Pohl

* Make Mine… Homogenised—Rick Raphael


** Hothouse—Brian Aldiss

* Hiding Place—Poul Anderson

** Remember the Alamo—R.R. Fehernebach

* The Highest Treason—Randall Garrett

* Rainbird—R.A. Lafferty

*** The Ship Who Sang—Anne McCaffrey

* The King of the City—Keith Laumer

* The Quaker Cannon—Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

** The Stuff—Henry Slesar

** A Planet Named Shayol—Cordwainer Smith

** The Moon Moth—Jack Vance

** The Risk Profession—Donald E. Westlake


*** Shards (aka. Sector Green)—Brian Aldiss

** King’s Who Die—Poul Anderson

** The Cage of Sand—J. G. Ballard

** The Insane Ones—J.G. Ballard

** Thirteen to Centaurus—J.G. Ballard

** For Love—Algis Budrys

** Hang Head Vandal!—Mark Clifton

** Roofs of Silver—Gordon R. Dickson

* The Streets of Ashkelon—Harry Harrison

** Lambda 1—Colin Kapp

* The Ballad of Lost C’Mell—Corwainer Smith

* When You Care, When You Love—Theodore Sturgeon

** The Weather Man—Theodore L. Thomas


*** No Truce With Kings—Poul Anderson

* Not In The Literature—Christopher Anvil

** The Totally Rich—John Brunner

** If There Were No Benny Cemoli—Philip K. Dick

** The Walls—Keith Laumer

*** Hunter, Come Home—Richard McKenna

*** Turn Off The Sky—Ray Nelson (I’d love to read the unexpurgated version)

** Bernie The Faust—William Tenn

* Fortress Ship—Fred Saberhagen

*** To See The Invisible Man—Robert Silverberg

* The Pain Peddlers—Robert Silverberg

** New Folks Home—Clifford D. Simak

*** A Rose For Ecclesiastes—Roger Zelazny


* The Master Key—Poul Anderson

*** Oh, to be a Blobel!—Philip K. Dick

** Now is Forever—Thomas M. Disch

*** A Man of the Renaissance—Wyman Guinn

* Sea Wrack—Edward Jesby

* Four Brands of Impossible—Norman Kagan

* When the Change Winds Blow—Fritz Leiber

*** The Dowry of Angyar—Ursula Le Guin

* What happened to Sergeant Masuro?—Harry Mulisch

* Greenplace—Tom Purdon

* Outward Bound—Norman Spinrad

* The Life Hater—Fred Saberhagen

** The Crime and Glory of Commander Suzdal—Corwainer Smith

** A Niche in Time—William F. Temple

*** The Kragen—Jack Vance

* The Graveyard Heart—Roger Zelazny


* The Captive Djinn—Christopher Anvil

* Uncollected Works—Lin Carter

** “Repent, Harlequin!” Said The Ticktockman—Harlan Ellison

* The Decision Makers—Joseph Green

* The Good New Days—Fritz Leiber

** Traveler’s Rest—David I. Masson

* Masque of the Red Shift—Fred Saberhagen

* Apartness—Vernor Vinge


** Amen and Out—Brian W. Aldiss

* The Wings of a Bat—Paul[ine] Ash

** We Can Remember It For You Wholesale—Philip K. Dick

** Behold the Man—Michael Moorcock

*** Day Million—Frederick Pohl

** Light of Other Days—Bob Shaw

* Bircher—A. A. Walde

** For a Breath I Tarry—Roger Zelazny

** The Keys to December—Roger Zelazny


** Full Sun—Brian W. Aldiss

* The Billiard Ball—Isaac Asimov

** Driftglass—Samuel R. Delany

*** Faith of Our Fathers—Philip K. Dick

* The Number You Have Reached—Thomas M. Disch

** I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream—Harlan Ellison

** Ambassador to Verdammt—Colin Kapp

* The Man Who Never Was—R. A. Lafferty

** Handicap—Larry Niven

*** Hawksbill Station (novella)—Robert Silverberg

* Coranda—Keith Roberts

** The Man Who Loved the Faioli—Roger Zelazny


*** Passengers—Robert Silverberg

to be continued…

sf & critical theory join forces to destroy the present

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