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Old Sep 11 2009, 11:10 PM   #1
Becky's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Washington
Gender: F
Fan of: Fav character - Lunzie
Now Reading: Love reading Lanen's books too
Default Collecting Highlight (76) – TOP SCIENCE FICTION and TOP FANTASY by Josh Pachter

These two books are anthologies with stories by many of your favorite science fiction writers. In doing this highlight I found out some interesting things that I hadn't been aware of when I originally purchased my copies.

Our dear friend Hans will be interested to know (who am I kidding, he probably does know) that both books were published in Dutch first. Hargreaves doesn’t give much information since his info came from the British editions that mention their existence. There are also German editions that were published but Hargreaves says the German edition of TOP FANTASY was abridged into two paperbacks and doesn’t have Anne’s story in it. In the listing for TOP SCIENCE FICTION it says Anne's story is in the second of two paperbacks issued.

In reading over the dust jacket flaps I find that there was a book called TOP CRIMES available at the time this book was published. So I did some hunting and found there is a listing for TOP HORROR also! Maybe something I’ll have to keep in mind to purchase later on, but I don't see where there is an Anne story in either of these.

Ok, on to the details of the books this highlight is about..........

TOP SCIENCE FICTION was published in 1984 by J M Dent & Sons Ltd, London & Melbourne. This book contains stories selected and introduced by the authors themselves and were compiled and edited by Josh Pachter. ISBN 0-460-04647-0. Jacket illustration is by Graham Potts. Original price UK 8.95. The trade paperback edition was published by J M Dent & Sons in 1985. ISBN 0-460-02425-6 and the original price was UK 2.95. Bookfinder shows varied pricing for the hardcover and paperback editions, from $8-18.

Also on I found TOP SCIENCE FICTION listed as published by Littlehampton Book Services in 1984 for a hardcover and the paperback Everyman Ltd in 1985. Neither of these is mentioned in Hargreaves but the ISBN's match the Dent ones exactly.

TOP SCIENCE FICTION contains short stories by –

Brian Aldiss – All the World’s Tears
Isaac Asimov – The Last Question
Alfred Bester - The Men Who Murdered Mohammed
Ben Bova – A Small Kindness
Ray Bradbury – There Will Come Soft Rains
John Brunner – The Totally Rich
L Sprague de Camp – Internal Combustion
Terry Carr – Hop-Friend
Arthur C Clarke – Transit of Earth
Jack Dann – Going Under
Alan Dean Foster – Why Johnny Can’t Speed
Harry Harrison – Rescue Operation
Ursula K LeGuin – Mazes
Fritz Leiber – Endfray of the Ofay
Barry N Malzberg – A Galaxy Called Rome
Anne McCaffrey – The Ship Who Sang
Larry Niven – The Green Marauder
Doris Piserchia – A Typical Day
Frederick Pohl – Day Million
Robert Sliverberg – Capricorn Games
Brian Stableford – The Engineer and the Executioner
A E van Vogt – Film Library
Jack Williamson – The Cosmick Express
Connie Willis – Daisy, in the Sun
Gene Wolfe – In Looking-Glass Castle

Most of us have heard why Anne wrote The Ship Who Sang, but it’s here in print in this book……

“I got the idea for Helva, the ship who sang, in 1958, worked on it in 1959, and finally submitted the story to Bob Mills at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It was to become my third published story.

Later, my first royalty check from England read, correcting my English, ‘The Ship Which Sank’, though in terms of Helva my phrase is grammatically correct.

At the time of writing the story, I didn’t realize that it had come from my need to verbalize my grief over the death of my father, (Colonel the Honorable Doctor George Herbert McCaffrey served in three wars, contracting tuberculosis while Chief of the Finance Division for the UN Forces in Korea. He died six months later, in January 1954.)

The story uses emotion as a tool and, now, more than twenty years later, it still evokes a sense of grief in the reader. Each time I read it, I think to myself, ‘Hey, Dad, this one’s for you.’”

I think it’s great to have this introduction in Anne’s words available to read over now and then. And maybe help some of us along the way with our own grief.


TOP FANTASY was published in 1985, again by J M Dent & Sons Ltd, London & Melbourne. This book too contains stories selected and introduced by the authors themselves and were compiled and edited by Josh Pachter. ISBN 0-460-04659-4. Jacket illustration is by Thomi Wroblewski. Original price UK 9.50. The trade paperback edition was published by J M Dent & Sons in 1986 with an original price of UK 3.95. ISBN 0-460-02467-1. The current pricing I found on is $20-30 for a hardcover and $5-10 for the paperback.

TOP FANTASY contains short stories my many of the same authors but also some new ones –

Michael Avallone – The Man Who Walked on Air
J G Ballard – Report on an Unidentified Space Station
Barrington J Bayley – The Ship of Disaster
Michael Bishop - Collaborating
Robert Bloch – The Man Who Collected Poe
Ray Bradbury – The Fog Horn
Marion Zimmer Bradley – The Day of the Butterflies
Ramsey Campbell – The Depths
Terry Carr – Touchstone
Thomas M Disch – Let Us Quickly Hasten to the Gate of Ivory
Horace L Gold – Trouble with Water
Joe L Hensley - Harpist
Tanith Lee – Blue Vase of Ghosts
Ursula K Le Guin – The Wife’s story
Brian Lumley – The House of Cthulhu
John Lutz – The Real Shape of the Coast
Anne McCaffrey – The Smallest Dragonboy
Josh Pachter – Caves in Cliffs
Pamela Sargent – The Broken Hoop
Robert Silverberg – Dancers in the Time-Flux
Nancy Springer – Amends, A Tale of the Sun Kings
Karl Edward Wagner – Sing a Last Song of Valdese
Connie Willis – The Father of the Bride
Gene Wolfe – Kevin Malone

I found out about The Smallest Dragonboy being in this book in the Hargreaves bibliography, same as with Top Science Fiction.

Anne’s introduction to this story is great……

“This story was written at the behest of Roger Elwood, and first appeared in Rand McNally’s Science Fiction Tales in 1973. At the time, I was trying to write a story involving a girl from a seahold, a girl named Menolly, but the yarn wouldn’t write – so I turned to a boy of the Weyrs instead. Keevan, it was, who joggled my arm and asked, please, would I write about him?

For Keevan’s fortitude and courage I drew on my recollections of my younger brother, Kevin, who was afflicted with osteomyelitis at the age of thirteen. Keve spent months in full body casts and braces, showing the valor with which I have imbued my dragonboy.

The story has had great appeal, being reprinted for younger readers and used, in 1978, as the basis for a one-act play n Wisconsin. I have read it aloud to audiences from Liverpool, England to Fairbanks, Alaska.

I don’t know what my brother Kevin thinks of it – but then he’s not a great talker.”

I think it’s great to get these little extra ‘bits’ from Anne about the stories. I try to find as many of her introductions as I can and add those to my collection also.

My copy of TOP FANTASY is signed by Josh, but I have no idea if it’s real or not. I have not found any other signature to compare to. If anyone has his signature please let me know if you are willing to post a picture of it to compare to the one in my book. Thank you!!

aka Coelura1

Last edited by Becky; Sep 14 2009 at 11:08 AM.
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