Monday, September 01, 2014

Ancient, My Enemy, by Gordon R. Dickson

(hb; 1974: science fiction anthology)

Overall review:

Excellent, memorable science fiction anthology - all of the nine stories in this collection are well-written, entertaining: worth owning, this.

Standout stories:

1.)  "Ancient, My Enemy": A clan of mountain-ranging cannibals, led by a feud-minded chief (Hehog), track a group of prospectors back to civilization.  Excellent, memorable tale that resonates on multiple levels with its timeless themes and troubling emotions.

2.)  "Tiger Green": Intriguing story about a human crew that's trapped on a jungle world, awash in their own nightmares and impending insanity, who are trying to escape.  Like other stories in this anthology, "Green" sports a strong, satisfactory sense of morality, humanism and logic, especially in how the men's situation(s) play out.

3.)   "The Friendly Man": A time traveler (Mark Toren) discovers that his arrival in a strangely familiar future may be less - and more - than he expected.  Compact, fun Twilight Zone-esque read.

4.)   "Love Me True":  Another compact, fun Twilight Zone-esque entry, this one about a soldier (Ted Homan), whose exotic, affectionate alien pet (Pogey) raises red flags among his commanding officers. 

5.)  "The Bleak and Barren Land":  Bureaucratic pettiness forces a Colonial Representative (Kent Harmon) into an untenable political and survival situation - trying to head off an impending conflict between planet-native aliens (Modorians) and incoming imperious human settlers.  This is a masterful story, resonant on multiple levels and increasingly intense; it's also one of the best pieces in this collection.

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