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The Best of Ian Watson

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The Best of Ian Watson

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Author: Ian Watson
Publisher: PS Publishing, 2014

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Book Type: Collection
Genre: Science-Fiction
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The Times once wrote that 'Mr Watson's short stories are spring-loaded with effect, compressed with a drama that, in others, might take a novel to eke out' while the Times Literary Supplement went three better: 'Many of his stories contain enough intellectual substance to fuel a trilogy'--consequently this first-ever collection of his best stories might be the equivalent of 72 books.

In 'An Appeal to Adolf' the Third Reich invades England by way of very long battleships bridging the Channel, while two gay sailors fret about the Führer's hatred for Wittgenstein. In 'The Great Escape' rebel angels set Hell in motion towards a very distant God, planning to harpoon the deity. 'Swimming with the Salmon' tells of the seduction by pheromones of a Scottish priestess who looks after genetically engineered superfish; while in 'The Moon and Michelangelo' a stone mason from Oxford achieves a petrifying transcendence on an alien planet. In Jerusalem a gate opens to a domain of inexplicable beings; while in ancient Babylon, recreated in the Arizona desert, immigrants from our own time encounter strange destinies. Here is science fiction of the highest calibre, and horror too, while other stories are surreally fantastical.

So as to cut to the cream, this selection by the author is guided by public opinion in the form of nominations for awards, inclusion in 'best of the year' anthologies as well as in other reprint volumes, and the number of translations over the years, although he has also slipped in some of his own less acknowledged favourites. Altogether this is an amazing showcase of treasures spanning 30 years from Ian Watson's pen (and typewriter, and computer).

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