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book-date: 1958
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Richard Powers

Dell ("first printing") July 1958 paperback (# B119, "Dell First Edition".) Cover by Richard Powers, 255 pages. Condition is VG+: tight and square, spine has a faint line down length and a raised on crossways in middle; age tanning is mild to moderate and uniform; light overall wear including line next to spine, some short "finger" creases at top of back cover. No stamps, marks or writing.

After making a name for herself as an anthologist in the early Fifties, Judith Merril began a Best-of-the-Year series in 1956 that went on for 12 volumes, and was generally noted for its high literary standards, and willingness to use stories from outside the usual SF venues. Here are the first 4 of these "Best" anthologies, in their first paperback apearances. (They were jointly published with Gnome Press for a simultaneous hardcover edition- the titles for those began with SF: 57, SF: 58, SF: 59.) Most stories are from the usual magzine sources like Astounding, Galaxy, Infinity, The Magazine of F&SF... but many are from sources like Playboy, Atlantic Monthly, Saturday Evening Post, or British magazines like Science Fantasy and Nebula. Each volume collects stories from the previous year.

If you want an idea of what the best SF from the mid to late Fifties was like - what looked the best at that time, sample these books. Many stories will be familiar, but there are quite a few that have been forgotten undeservedly. For example (from this 3rd Volume): the Aldiss and Budrys stories are treasures, but not included in any collection by these authors. If I owned a publishing house, these are what I'd be reprinting and collecting. The Kuttner story is original - unavailable elsewhere.

S - F The Year's Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy, Third Annual Volume:

(Introduction by Judith Merril)
"Let's Be Frank" by Brian W. Aldiss
"The Fly" by George Langelaan (yes- this was the basis for the movie)
"Let's Get Together" by Isaac Asimov
"The Wonder Horse" by George Byram
"You Know Willie" by Theodore R. Cogswell
"Near Miss" by Henry Kuttner (Original to this book - his "last unpublished story")
"Game Preserve" by Rog Phillips
"Now Let Us Sleep" by Avram Davidson
"Wilderness" by Zenna Henderson
"Flying High" by Eugene Ionesco
"The Edge of the Sea" by Algis Budrys.
(articles) - From Science Fiction to Science Fact: Sputnik and Beyond:
"How Near Is the Moon?" by Judith Merril
"Transition- From Fantasy to Science" by Arthur C. Clarke
"Sputnik: One Reason Why We Lost" by G. Harry Stine
"Going Up!" by Dennis Driscoll
"Where Do We Go from Here?" by Willy Ley
"Science Fiction Still Leads Science Fact" by Anthony Boucher
(The Year's S-F, by Judith Merril - the year in review)