George R. R. Martin, Robert Sheckley. Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, all those science fiction icons are renown for their great novels, but also for brilliant short stories. Today we live in an era of thick 500 pages-long books that always are the first part of long series. The market changed. Today no one sells a good idea in the form of 20 pages short story published in a weird fiction magazine.
It was different back then. The whole genre, the golden era of science fiction, shined with brilliant concepts about time travel, first contact, weird gizmos, and all different space adventures. I was first introduced to science-fiction in 1990 thanks to the anthology Rakietowe Dzieci (Rocket Kids) that somehow ended up in my hands. I was 14 year old and I was a perfect target of this book. It was 240 pages long collection of science fiction stories. The tome collected:
- Ray Bradbury – The Small Assassin
- Mark Clifton – Star Bright
- Fritz Leiber – A Pail of Air
- Jerome Bixby – It’s a Good Life
- Poul Anderson – Terminal Quest
- Theodore Sturgeon – Mewhu’s Jet
- Frederik Pohl – The Man Who Ate the World
- Gardner Dozois – Chains of the Sea
The stories sucked me. I wanted more. I started looking for more things like that. I discovered Sheckley, Zelazny, Silverberg, and all other great sf writers. It took me less than a few months to become sf nerd.
It was 30 years ago, and although I love some thick books of the size of the brick, although I love my Game of Thrones, Dune, and other epic novels, I kept in my heart this special place for a good short story. For the brilliant idea, for the gig you sell on 10 pages and close with a clever punchline.
I mention this to provide you some context to the shoutout I am going to give today. Shoutout to LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS, the anthology of animated shorts that is a magnificent tribute to the golden era of science fiction, to the weird novels, pulp magazines, and the brilliance of the right punchline.
Do yourself a favor and watch the series. And if by any chance your story relates to mine, and you discovered sf through brilliant short stories from Sheckley, Silverberg, and Zelazny, I have good news – LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS is a time machine. Fasten seatbelts. You are going to be 14 years old again.