Great SF

The following list emerged from my reading of all 25 volumes of Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories. Since completing the read through I have continued marking up stories, from both this period (1939-1963) and after. For each of the yearly entries, the first few stories rated will be from the Asimov-Greenberg collection. If there are stories after a separating line for any particular year, this indicates they are from other collections. I have drawn upon collections such as 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, for the period up till 1963. After that I have turned to Donald Wolheim and Terry Carr’s World’s Best Science Fiction Series (among others).

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 is 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.


/ *** 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

** The Gnarly Man—L. Sprague De Camp

** Greater Than Gods—C. L. Moore

** Heavy Planet—Milton A. Rothman

* Ether Breather—Theodore Sturgeon

** Pilgrimage—Nelson Bond

** Rust—Joseph E. Kelleam

** Misfit—Robert Heinlein


** Requiem—Robert A. Heinlein

* The Dwindling Sphere—Willard Hawkins

** The Impossible Highway—Oscar J. Friend

* Quietus—Ross Rocklyne

** Coventry—Robert Heinlein

* Playfellow—Isaac Asimov

** Farewell To The Master—Harry Bates

** Old Man Mulligan—P. Schuyler Miller


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

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

* Shottle Bop—Theodore Sturgeon

** The Rocket of 1955—C.M. Kornbluth

* They—Robert A. Heinlein

* Evolution’s End—Robert Arthur

*** Microcosmic God—Theodore Sturgeon

** Jay Score—Eric Frank Russel

*** Universe—Robert A. Heinlein

* Time Wants A Skeleton—Ross Rocklynne

** The Words of Guru—C.M. Kornbluth

** Adam and No Eve—Alfred Bester

** Nightfall—Isaac Asimov

* By His Bootstraps—Robert A. Heinlein


*** The Star Mouse—Frederic Brown

** Foundation—Isaac Asimov

* The Push of a Finger—Alfred Bester

* (?) Asylum—A. E. Van Vogt

** Proof—Hal Clement

* Barrier—Anthony Boucher

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

* QRM-Interplanetary—George O. Smith

* The Weapons Shop——A. E. Van Vogt

** Mimic—Donald A. Wolheim


*** The Cave— P. Schuyler Miller

** The Halfling—Leigh Brackett

** Mimsy Were The Borogroves—Lewis Padgett

* Q.U.R.—Anthony Boucher

* Clash By Night—Lawrence O’Donnell

* Exile—Edmond Hamilton

** Daymare—Frederic Brown

** Doorway Into Time—C.L. Moore

** Symbiotica—Eric Frank Russell


* Far Centaurus—A.E. Van Vogt

** The Veil of Astellar—Leigh Brackett

* Sanity—Fritz Leiber

** City—Clifford D. Simak

** Arena—Frederic Brown

*** Desertion—Clifford D. Simak

** Killdozer!—Theodore Sturgeon

** No Woman Born—C.L. Moore


* The Waveries—Frederic Brown

* The Piper’s Son—Lewis Padgett

* Wanted–An Enemy—Fritz Leiber

* Blind Alley—Isaac Asimov

*** First Contact—Murray Leinster

** The Power—Murray Leinster

** Giant Killer—A. Bertram Chandler

* What You Need—Henry Kuttner

** De Profundis—Murray Leinster

* Pi in the Sky—Frederic Brown


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

** Loophole—Arthur C. Clarke

** Rescue Party—Arthur C. Clarke

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

** The Million Year Picnic—Ray Bradbury

*** The Last Objective—Paul A. Carter

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

* Evidence—Isaac Asimov

* Absalom—Henry Kuttner

* Mewhu’s Jet—Theodore Sturgeon

* Technical Error—Arthur C. Clarke


* Little Lost Robot—Isaac Asimov

* Child’s Play——William Tenn

* Tiny and the Monster—Theodore Sturgeon

*** E For Effort—T.L. Sherred

** With Folded Hands—Jack Williamson

* Zero Hour—Ray Bradbury

* Hobbyist—Eric Frank Russell


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

** That Only A Mother—Judith Merril

* (?) Dreams Are Sacred—Peter Phillips

** Mars Is Heaven—Ray Bradbury

* Brooklyn Project—William Tenn

* Ring Around The Redhead—John D. MacDonald

** Dormant—A.E. Van Vogt

* In Hiding—Wilmar H. Shiras

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

* Late Night Final—Eric Frank Russell


** Manna—Peter Philips

** The Prisoner in the Skull—Lewis Padgett

*** Alien Earth—Edmond Hamilton

** The Hurkle Is A Happy Beast—Theodore Sturgeon

* Defense Mechanism—Katherine MacLean

** The Witches of Karres—James H. Schmitz


** Not With A Bang—Damon Knight

*** Spectator Sport—John D. MacDonald

*** Dear Devil—Eric Frank Russel

** Scanners Live In Vain—Cordwainer Smith

** The Little Bag—C. M. Kornbluth

* Oddy and Id—Alfred Bester

** The Sack—William Morrison

** The Silly Season—C. M. Kornbluth

** Misbegotten Missionary—Isaac Asimov

** To Serve Man—Damon Knight

*** Coming Attraction—Fritz Leiber

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

** The Mindworm—C. M. Kornbluth

** The New Reality—Charles L. Harness


** Null-P—William Tenn

** The Sentinel—Arthur C. Clarke

* Pictures Don’t Lie—Katherine MacLean

** I’m Scared—Jack Finney

** The Quest For St. Aquin—Anthony Boucher

** With These Hands—C.M. Kornbluth

*** A Pail of Air—Fritz Leiber

** Dune Roller—Julian May

*** Bettyann—Kris Neville

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

** The Inhabited Men—Margaret St. Clair

* The Other Side—Walter Kubilius

* The Two Shadows—William F. Temple

** Balance—John Christopher

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

* At No Extra Cost—Peter Philips

** The Rats—Arthur Porges

* The Men of the Ten Books—Jack Vance

*** Old Man Henderson—Kris Neville


** The Moon Is Green—Fritz Leiber

** What Have I Done?—Mark Clifton

* Fast Falls the Eventide—Eric Frank Russel

** Hobson’s Choice—Alfred Bester

*** Delay In Transit—F. L. Wallace

** Game For Blondes—John D. MacDonald

*** The Altar At Midnight—Cyril Kornbluth

** The Impacted Man—Robert Sheckley

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

*** Cost Of Living—Robert Sheckley

**Daughters of Earth—Judith Merril

** Defender Of The Faith—Alfred Coppel

** The Analogues—Damon Knight

*** Ticket To Anywhere—Damon Knight

** 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

** Ararat—Zenna Henderson

** The Conqueror—Mark Clifton

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

** I am Nothing—Eric Frank Russel

* The Girls from Earth—Frank M. Robinson


** The Big Holiday—Fritz Lieber

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

*** The Liberation Of Earth—William Tenn

** Warm—Robert Sheckley

** Impostor—Philip K. Dick

** The World Well Lost—Theodore Sturgeon

* Common Time—James Blish

* Time Is The Traitor—Alfred Bester

** It’s A Good Life—Jerome Bixby

*** Second Variety—Philip K. Dick

*** Sam Hall—Poul Anderson

** Disappearing Act—Alfred Bester

** Idealist—Lester del Rey

** The Deserter—William Tenn

** The Last Weapon—Robert Sheckley

** The Journey—Murray Leinster

** A Pound of Cure—Lester del Rey

** FYI—James Blish


** The Test—Richard Matheson

** Anachron—Damon Knight

*** Down Among The Dead Men—William Tenn

** The Hunting Lodge—Randall Garrett

** The Lysenko Maze—Donald A. Wolheim

** Fondly Fahrenheit—Alfred Bester

* The Cold Equations—Tom Godwin

** The Music Master Of Babylon—Edgar Pangborn

** The End Of Summer—Algis Budrys

** The Father-Thing—Philip K. Dick

* Balaam—Anthony Boucher

** The Holes—Michael Shaara

** Beast In The House—Michael Shaara

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

** The Midas Plague—Frederik Pohl

** The Will—Walter M. Miller

** Dead Center—Judith Merril

** The Golden Man—Philip K. Dick

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

** Breakfast at Twilight—Philip K. Dick


*** The Tunnel Under The World—Frederik Pohl

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

** The Cave Of Night—James E. Gunn

** Captive Market—Philip K. Dick

* Allamagoosa—Eric Frank Russell

** The Vanishing American——Charles Beaumont

** The Game Of Rat And Dragon—Cordwainer Smith

** Nobody Bothers Gus—Algis Budrys

** Foster, You’re Dead!—Philip K Dick

* Dance of the Dead—Richard Matheson

* Guinevere for Everybody—Jack Williamson

** The Mold of Yancy—Philip K. Dick

** Autofac—Philip K. Dick


** Brightside Crossing—Alan E. Nourse

*** The Country Of The Kind—Damon Knight

** Exploration Team—Murray Leinster

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

** Horror Howce—Margaret St. Clair

** Compounded Interest—Mack Reynolds


*** Omnilingual—H. Beam Piper

* The Mile-Long Spaceship—Kate Wilhelm

* Call Me Joe—Poul Anderson

*** Hunting Machine—Carol Emshwiller

** Let’s Be Frank—Brian W. Aldiss

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

** The Tunesmith—Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

** Soldier—Harlan Ellison

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

** The Wind Blows Free—Chad Oliver

** The Lineman—Walter M. Miller

*** Dio—Damon Knight


** The Last Of The Deliverers—Poul Anderson

** Poor Little Warrior—Brian W. Aldiss

** Or All The Seas With Oysters—Avram Davidson

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

*** The Burning Of The Brain—Cordwainer Smith

** The Yellow Pill—Rog Phillips

** Unhuman Sacrifice—Katherine MacLean

** The Immortals—James E. Gunn

** Unwilling To School—Pauline Ashwell

** Try And Change The Past—Fritz Leiber

* Helping Hand—Lester del Rey

** Tomorrow’s Gift—Edmund Cooper

** Wish Upon A Star—Judith Merril


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

*** What Rough Beast—Damon Knight

* The Alley Man—Philip José Farmer

* The Malted Milk Monster—William Tenn

** The Man Who Lost The Sea—Theodore Sturgeon

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

** Adrift on the Policy Level—Chan Davis


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

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

* Make Mine… Homogenised—Rick Raphael

*** Mind Partner—Christopher Anvil

** The Voices Of Time—J. G. Ballard

** The Longest Voyage—Poul Anderson


* The Highest Treason—Randall Garrett

** Hothouse—Brian Aldiss

* Hiding Place—Poul Anderson

*** The Ship Who Sang—Anne McCaffrey

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

** The Moon Moth—Jack Vance

** A Planet Named Shayol—Cordwainer Smith

* Rainbird—R.A. Lafferty

** Remember the Alamo—R.R. Fehernebach

** The Risk Profession—Donald E. Westlake

** The Stuff—Henry Slesar

* The King of the City—Keith Laumer


** The Insane Ones—J.G. Ballard

** King’s Who Die—Poul Anderson

** Hang Head Vandal!—Mark Clifton

** The Weather Man—Theodore L. Thomas

* The Streets of Ashkelon—Harry Harrison

* When You Care, When You Love—Theodore Sturgeon

* The Ballad of Lost C’Mell—Corwainer Smith

** Roofs of Silver—Gordon R. Dickson

** Lambda 1—Colin Kapp

** For Love—Algis Budrys

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

** The Cage of Sand—J. G. Ballard

** Thirteen to Centaurus—J. G. Ballard


* Fortress Ship—Fred Saberhagen

* Not In The Literature—Christopher Anvil

** The Totally Rich—John Brunner

*** No Truce With Kings—Poul Anderson

** New Folks Home—Clifford D. Simak

* The Pain Peddlers—Robert Silverberg (cliched end…)

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

** Bernie The Faust—William Tenn

*** A Rose For Ecclesiastes—Roger Zelazny

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


*** Hunter, Come Home—Richard McKenna

** The Walls—Keith Laumer


[Robert Silverberg Presents The Great SF Stories 1964]

* Outward Bound—Norman Spinrad

*** The Kragen—Jack Vance

* The Master Key—Poul Anderson

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

* The Graveyard Heart—Roger Zelazny

*** A Man of the Renaissance—Wyman Guinn

*** The Dowry of Angyar—Ursula Le Guin

* When the Change Winds Blow—Fritz Leiber

* The Life Hater—Fred Saberhagen

* Four Brands of Impossible—Norman Kagan


* Greenplace—Tom Purdon

** A Niche in Time—William F. Temple

* Sea Wrack—Edward Jesby

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

* What happened to Sergeant Masuro?—Harry Mulisch

** Now is Forever—Thomas M. Disch


* Apartness—Vernor Vinge

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

* The Decision Makers—Joseph Green

** Traveler’s Rest—David I. Masson

* Uncollected Works—Lin Carter

* Masque of the Red Shift—Fred Saberhagen

* The Captive Djinn—Christopher Anvil

* The Good New Days—Fritz Leiber


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

** Light of Other Days—Bob Shaw

** The Keys to December—Roger Zelazny

* Bircher—A. A. Walde

** Behold the Man—Michael Moorcock

*** Day Million—Frederick Pohl

* The Wings of a Bat—Paul[ine] Ash

** Amen and Out—Brian W. Aldis

** For a Breath I Tarry—Roger Zelazny


** Driftglass—Samuel R. Delany

** Ambassador to Verdammt—Colin Kapp

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

* The Billiard Ball—Isaac Asimov

*** Hawksbill Station—Robert Silverberg

* The Number You Have Reached—Thomas M. Disch

** The Man Who Loved the Faioli—Roger Zelazny

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

* Coranda—Keith Roberts

** Handicap—Larry Niven

** Full Sun—Brian W. Aldiss

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


to be continued…

UPDATED: 20 December 2021

sf & critical theory join forces to destroy the present

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