Ken Tucker
September 21, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Various Authors
publisher
Library of America
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A

Here is literary irony at glorious work: The Library of America has issued a gorgeous two-volume collection of novels, American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s, most originally published as cheap paperbacks with cheesy covers. Yet many of the stories here — by Robert Heinlein, Fritz Leiber, Leigh Brackett, and others — now come off as highly crafted material. This anthology contains the spores of sci-fi themes that would blossom, consciously or by chance, in much of contemporary film, TV, and literary fiction. Indeed, 1953’s The Space Merchants, by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, now reads like a precursor to everything Mad Men addresses about the ad business — just set in the future, and on various planets. A

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