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More by Robert Silverberg
Enter a Soldier. Later: Another
The first in a series of superb science fiction.
Alpha is, aside from the first letter of the Greek alphabet, a term that denotes excellence and primacy in a variety of disciplines: in nuclear physics, for example, it is the name of a particle of unusually large mass and charge. It seemed a useful label to attach to this volume, the first of an intended series of collections of science fiction stories.
The Alpha series of anthologies will center on no particular theme except that of literary quality. The presence in any one volume of a cluster of stories bearing other thematic resemblance—as in this volume, where there are four or five time-travel stories—will be purely coincidental. I propose to cull the files of the science fiction magazines for stories that an educated and sophisticated reader will find stimulating, and to assemble them in books of roughly equal size that will appear once a year over the next few years. Some of the stories will be fifteen or twenty years old and richly in need of restoration to print. Others will be quite recent: the literary level of the science fiction short story has undergone an extraordinary transformation in the past few years, a fact that demands recognition here.
Appropriately enough, this first volume of the ALPHA series covers a roster of writers from A to Z. Specifically, Aldiss to Zelazny—although this coincidence in alphabet is merely incidental to the fact that both these gentlemen, and the several others represented in this anthology, all write superb science fiction.
Two criteria were used in the selecting of these stories—literary merit and importance to the genre. The result is that the variety of subjects is matched only by the richness and diversity of their handling—brilliant, frightening, clever, bizarre, powerful, witty, funny—and several steps in-between.
So much for policy. The nine volumes of this series provide an exciting cumulative view of a field in which some of the most vigorous and inventive fiction of our times has been produced.
Simply put, here is the best science fiction from the best science fiction writers.
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