On my bookshelf, I have a very battered paperback copy of Futures to Infinity. Written in 1970, I’ve had to tape the cover on, and the pages have gotten pretty brown over the fifty years since it was published. But like comfort food, we have comfort books, and this is one of mine.
This book is a collection of short stories by the Greats: Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, and others. The fun thing about this collection, aside from being some of the lesser-known works of the Giants, is that most of the contributors were still alive at the time and made changes and comments to their stories. Some, like Robert Heinlein, complained of writing for fan magazines and not getting paid. Most wrote under pen names.
I won’t go into detailed summaries of each story. I will say that some of them were written in the forties and are the archetypes of the stories we consider to be tropes today. At the time, they were incredibly ground-breaking. My favorites include Alfred Bester’s time loop story, “The Probable Man,” with Nazi knights in New York, and L. Sprague de Camp’s, “The Incorrigible” about a big black bear with a college degree who saves a group of scientists developing beer-producing goats. It’s a lot of fun, and I understand he wrote a series about his super-intelligent bear.
The L. Ron Hubbard story, “The Dangerous Dimension,” is a clever tale of a scientist who discovers how to self-teleport but can’t shut it off. You can really see Mr. Hubbard’s science fiction roots in this story.
Other authors are Clifford D. Simak, Henry Kuttner, A.E. Van Vogt, Isaac Asimov, and Sam Moskowitz (the editor and friend/acquaintance of the fellow writers). Each story is an easy read and could have been a memorable Twilight Zone episode. I use them for inspiration in my own writing.
It’s not been re-released, but there are some mint copies out there so I ordered one.