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Before They Were Giants: First Works from Science Fiction Greats (Trade Paperback)

***( )( ) (based on 6 ratings)

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edited by James L. Sutter

See Where it all Began!

Nobody starts at the top. Long before they were household names, all of the superstar science fiction and fantasy authors in this anthology were just fans with stories and dreams. Now, for the first time ever, fifteen of the genre’s most important authors have come together to show off their first published SF stories, many of them rare and never before collected. All fifteen stories come complete with brand-new retrospective critiques and interviews from the authors themselves, discussing the stories’ geneses, humorous anecdotes surrounding the stories’ publication, and what the authors know now about writing that they wish they’d known then. An invaluable look at the origins of speculative fiction’s greatest minds, and bursting with insightful advice for beginning writers, this book is a must for any science fiction or fantasy fan, aspiring author, or teacher.

    Stories include:
  • Piers Anthony: "Possible to Rue"
  • Greg Bear: "Destroyers"
  • Ben Bova: "A Long Way Back"
  • David Brin: "Just a Hint"
  • Cory Doctorow: "Craphound"
  • William Gibson: "Fragments of a Hologram Rose"
  • Nicola Griffith: "Mirrors and Burnstone"
  • Joe Haldeman: "Out of Phase"
  • China Miéville: "Highway 61 Revisited"
  • Larry Niven: "The Coldest Place"
  • Kim Stanley Robinson: "In Pierson’s Orchestra"
  • Spider Robinson: "The Guy with the Eyes"
  • R. A. Salvatore: "A Sparkle for Homer"
  • Charles Stross: "The Boys"
  • Michael Swanwick: "Ginungagap"

240-page softcover trade paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-266-1

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Product Reviews (6)
1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***( )( ) (based on 6 ratings)

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Only OK

***( )( )

I didn't buy this book to give me insight into being a writer. I bought it to be entertained. In that regard I was entertained for about half the book. Some stories are downright bad and left me wondering what the point was. Others were very good and left me wanting more. Some were nothing spectacular, but nothing I'd call bad either.

The interviews with the writers weren't anything groundbreaking or insightful, just more of the same kind of stuff I've seen before. I felt the anecdotes were the best parts in some cases, but then some anecdotes left me wondering if the writer understood the question.

A decent offering, but a format I wouldn't want to see again.

The only Planet Stories I've bought twice

****( )

I thought this a fascinating collection, in a completely different way than the usual Planet Stories books. As a bit of an amateur writer, this book was very encouraging; from this perspective, I value this book as much as any other 'How to Write Sci-Fi' that I've ever purchased. In fact, as the brother of an amateur writer, this book also made a great gift.

It's true the stories aren't the best from each author. To me, this compilation is more about the genre of sci-fi and the process or writing than it is the stories themselves. It's sort of the DVD Extras of the sci-fi industry.

The only reason I only rated it four stars is for those who on read books, and never even play with writing. For them, this book is only mostly good.

****( )

as some of the other reviewers have said, some of the stories are hit or miss. That being said, the stories that I didn't like had some of the more inciteful interviews of the authors, telling what they thought worked and why. I know what works in the stories I like, but its nice to hear why an author wrote something the way they did, especially if you don't like it.

As someone who writes in my spare time, it was really nice to see what pros think of thier early work... and in some cases it means all might not be lost.

Have to disagree with the other reviews

****( )

Certainly, there are some flawed stories in this collection (for me, the worst was the Salvatore offering). However, the majority were surprisingly enjoyable, considering the premise. And I found the Q/A sections a valuable insight into the process of many great authors.
One note: some of the variance in quality may be attributed to the fact that these are first-published short stories, so some of the writers may have published novels prior to what is presented here.

Just not very good

**( )( )( )

I have read all of the Planet Stories offerings so far. This one is by far the worst. Several of the offerings (Bova, Niven) were readable. Many were just horrible (to be polite). This is one of those things that seems like a good idea, but I really don't want to read any writers' offerings when they really were not very good. If you do another one of these, I will be tempted to do a skip on my subscription to avoid such horrible writing.

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