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Nerd joy

I'm working my way through Asimov & Greenberg's Great SF Stories anthologies, currently on the 1941 volume. They couldn't get rights to reprint Heinlein's stories, so they just inserted placeholders talking about the stories, with an editorial note that all four stories from 1941 can be found in the Heinlein collection, The Past Through Tomorrow. Wrong! It was the case for the Heinlein stories they selected for 1940, but not these. Well, the other Heinlein collection I have is 6XH, and two of the stories ("They" and "And He Built a Crooked House") are in that. Not "Solution Unsatisfactory" or "Universe," however. Furthermore, initial research on those two stories indicated they weren't both in any one collection of Heinlein's stories that I don't have. Grrr. In fact, looking at the Heinlein bibliography on Wikipedia my initial impression is that his complete short stories have yet to be collected in a rational way. But I digress!

In any event, it occurred to me that I might have the two stories in other anthologies in my collection, so I looked up "Solution Unsatisfactory" in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, and I saw that it had been reprinted in a 1946 Groff Conklin anthology called The Best of Science Fiction. Was that the Conklin book I found in a bunch of our old landlord's leftover stuff and stuck on my shelf without ever reading it? It was! And guess what! It also has "Universe"!

Over the years I've now and again contemplated getting rid of that book, because I hadn't read it and wasn't sure I ever would and it takes up space that I need for other books. So now my inexplicable decision to hang onto it has paid off. Nerd joy!

Tangentially, as I was reading the stories from the 1940 volume of A&G in The Past Through Tomorrow, it occurred to me that that book is one of the few from my earliest days of collecting that I still own. The glue in the binding has cracked, and the cover is coming loose. I'm not sure when exactly I got it, but I was a teenager for sure. The funny thing is that I'm not sure I had read anything in it except for "The Roads Must Roll" (which I actually read in the SF Hall of Fame) and "Methuselah's Children," which I read in my twenties or thirties. I sure don't remember reading any of the others before, although it's possible I read them as a teenager and simply no longer remember them. It's also possible I bought the collection and discovered that I didn't care for Heinlein very much. If so, that'd be kind of interesting, because while I've never been a big Heinlein fan, I don't remember being put off by him as a teenager. I guess I was more into heroic fiction in those days, so his stories probably weren't romantic enough for me. Too intellectual and political! I don't know. I really can't remember. I did read a bunch of his novels back then (including I Will Fear No Evil, woo woo), so maybe it was just something about the future history stories that didn't click for me. But why, then, did I hang onto the book, when I got rid of so many others?

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
scarlettina
Mar. 2nd, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
I still have all the earliest SF books I ever read, including The Past Through Tomorrow. And I can't tell you how many books I have that I purchased intending to read and never have. I still look at them and think, "Oh yeah, I need to read that." If intentions-to-read were a guarantee of lifespan, I'd live forever.
randy_byers
Mar. 2nd, 2015 05:28 pm (UTC)
Usually I don't put books I haven't read onto the shelves, but leave them on the TBR piles. Where I can ignore them forever! I can't remember why I treated this book differently. I think there are a few other unread books on my selves too, for various reasons.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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