Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The concept behind Before They Were Giants is a great one: reprinting the first published stories by established SF writers along with a short text piece by each about the context in which their story was written, what they still liked about it, and what they would change today. A lot of the big names are here: Piers Anthony, Ben Bova, William Gibson, China Mieville, Larry Niven, and more. It turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to sample the work of several writers I had certainly heard of but never actually gotten around to reading, and it persuaded me to add a couple of books by those authors to my Amazon wish-list. My favourite stories in the collection were Spider Robinson's "The Guy with the Eyes" (the first appearance of Callahan's Place, a bar where people go to get things off their chest) and "Craphound" by Cory Doctorow (the tale of a vintage/retro collector with a SF angle). Of all the books in the Planet Stories line, this was probably the most enjoyable I've read, and the one that best achieved what I was hoping to get out of reading them: discovering some great stuff that I'd missed.