Reviews of Best of Fritz Leiber, the (1974)
Review by clong (2007-08-25)
A very strong collection of twenty-two varied stories from Fritz Leiber (in the Afterwards, Leiber describes these as the best of his "science fantasies"). The only story I had read previously was the Hugo and Nebula Award winner "Gonna Roll the Bones," which I had thought was one of the stronger entries in Dangerous Visions, and which stood up well on a second reading. Other than "Bones," these stories are presented chronologically; the later stories are all very strong.
Of the stories that were new to me my favorites were "Coming Attractions," a story offering telling predictions about future America; "A Pail Full of Air," an emotionally powerful little tale about a family of disaster survivors; "Space-Time for Springers," a superb cat story; and "Little Old Miss Macbeth," a post-apocalyptic story with hidden meanings and effective symbolism. Even some of the stories that started as like dated, sexist adolescent wish fulfillment, like "A Deskful of Girls," proved to offer unexpected depth.
The biggest disappointment was "The Night He Cried", a story written when Leiber was angry at Mickey Spillane.