Tales From Super-Science Fiction, edited by Robert Silverberg, is shipping this week from Haffner Press.
Super-Science Fiction, launched during one of the cyclic sf booms of the 1950s, was notable for paying 2 cents a word, then a top rate — enough to lure contributions from legendary pros like Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Jack Vance, and newcomers on their way to being famous like Harlan Ellison and Donald Westlake.
Silverberg, who always does a great job editing story collections anyway, is the perfect choice for this assignment because he had multiple stories in nearly every issue of S-SF – often published under pen-names to help disguise how much material had come from one author. Silverberg reached his peak in the August 1959 issue with four stories published under four different pseudonyms.
The 400-page hardcover sells for $32. It has full-color endpapers showing covers from S-SF by Kelly Freas and Ed Emshwiller, and original interior illustrations by Freas. Here is the table of contents:
Introduction by Robert Silverberg
“Catch ‘Em All Alive” by Robert Silverberg
“Who Am I?” by Henry Slesar
“Every Day is Christmas” by James E. Gunn
“I’ll Take Over” by A.Bertram Chandler
“Song of the Axe” by Don Berry
“Broomstick Ride” by Robert Bloch
“Worlds of Origin” by Jack Vance
“The Tool of Creation” by J.F. Bone
“I Want to Go Home” by Robert Moore Williams
“Hostile Life-Form” by Daniel L. Galouye
“The Gift of Numbers” by Alan E. Nourse
“First Man in a Satellite” by Charles W. Runyon
“A Place Beyond the Stars” by Tom Godwin
“The Loathsome Beasts” by Dan Malcolm (aka Silverberg)
I’m gratified to see Robert Moore Williams represented, even if I don’t know this particular story. When I was in college he kindly allowed a friend and me to spend the afternoon interviewing him. Williams was an under-appreciated SF writer. The reason he was under-appreciated seems clearer in hindsight. One of the things he told us is that no SF editor would buy a too-literate story for his magazine, so “You have to stink ‘em up just right.” He was admirably frank. There was no pretense about the man.