Monday, August 7, 2017

Crown’s “Classics of Modern Science Fiction” Series



This series consists of  ten hardcover volumes published by Crown Publishers of New York in 1984-85. George Zebrowski was the series editor. The series was published irregularly.  The first set of four books came out in January 1984. The second set of four books came out in October 1984. The final two books came out nearly a year later in September 1985. 

Three titles were by Chad Oliver, with two from Philip José  Farmer. The series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov appears in all volumes. All ten dust-wrapper illustrations are by Michael Booth.

The series evidently sold poorly. One wonders if the idea of “classic” science fiction had passed a generational boundary  before this series was begun.

Volume 1. Eric Frank Russell. Man, Martians and Machines. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by George Zebrowski. Originally published in 1955.

Volume 2.  James Gunn. The Joymakers.  Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by George Zebrowski. Originally published in 1961.

Volume 3.  Chad Oliver. The Shores of Another Sea. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by George Zebrowski. Originally published in 1971.

Volume 4. Philip José Farmer. The Classic Philip José Farmer 1952-1964. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by Martin H. Greenberg. First edition. Collection of six stories.

Volume 5. Philip José Farmer. The Classic Philip José Farmer 1964-1973. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by Martin H. Greenberg. First edition. Collection of eight stories.

Volume 6. Murray Leinster. The Forgotten Planet. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by George Zebrowski. “Author’s Note” (undated) by Murray Leinster. Originally published in 1954.

Volume 7. Charles L. Harness. The Paradox Men. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by George Zebrowski. Afterword (“The Flight into Tomorrow”) by Brian W. Aldiss. “Author’s Note” (dated March 1984) by Charles L. Harness.  Originally published in 1953 under the title Flight into Yesterday. This edition has been substantially revised.

Volume 8. Chad Oliver. Unearthly Neighbors. 1st hardcover appearance. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by George Zebrowski. Afterword (dated April 1984) by Chad Oliver. Originally published in 1960. This edition has been substantially revised. 

Volume 9. Chad Oliver. Shadows in the Sun. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by George Zebrowski. Afterword (dated April 1985) by Chad Oliver. Originally published in 1954.

Volume 10. Ward Moore. Greener than You Think. Series foreword (“Retrieving the Lost”) by Isaac Asimov. Introduction by George Zebrowski. Originally published in 1947.

2 comments:

  1. I remember the series and assigned several of the volumes for review in The Wash Post's monthly sf and fantasy column. I think the Crown Classics had seveeral problems: Few of the books were recognized as true classics--perhaps only the Farmer and Moore--and they were published in an odd size, squarish and smaller than regular hardcovers Booth's art tended to be low-keyed as well. It also seemed strangely skewed toward one author, Chad Oliver. --md

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    1. Indeed, the "odd size, squarish and smaller than regular hardcover" (a prefect description of them!) did not help sales. The prices ranged from $7.95 to $9.95, which seemed high for what your were getting.

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