While I added a comment to the Daily telegraph article Robert Conquest Historian Obituary :
Also, with Kingsley Amis, he selected and edited five anthologies of Science Fiction which were published by Victor Gollancz (paperback in Pan) between 1961 and 1966 as Spectrum 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5. The series featured a variety of authors including Isaac Asimov, Brian Aldiss, JG Ballard, James Blish, Philip Dick, Robert Heinlein, John Wyndham… (I have the 1971 Pan editions :-))
…I thought to myself, ‘I could say more than that. So I dug out my 45 year old editions.
It was in the field of SF that I first became acquainted with his work.
Robert Conquest, advocate of Science Fiction
He saw that the genre didn’t need to follow the literary rule-book to achieve its effect, in fact it could be an impediment to slavishly ape those tropes. With Kingsley Amis, he selected and edited a series of anthologies which took in fiction from across the genre and were published under the series title of Spectrum. These were drawn from published stories over the previous two decades and were from a variety of sources. The collections read well and did a good job of illustrating the diversity of SF.
The Introductions to these volumes paint a picture of the genre in the early 60s. They help the reader to understand where SF came from, and give an insight into the then perception of the genre by the literary world. I found little in them to quibble with.
Volume 1 dwells on the criteria the joint editors (Conquest and Amis) employed: plausible, readable world building that did more than pander to literary fads, in stories that did not have wide circulation in the UK.
Volume 2 notes the de-ghettoisation of SF. In 1962!
Volume 3 dwells on the need for depth in SF and points out that simple errors of fact can impact on a work’s plausibility. It goes on to name check a pre-Michael Moorcock New Worlds (which was of course the premier monthly magazine for SF in the UK).
In place of a standard introduction, Volume 4 has a far-ranging conversation on Science Fiction between Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, and CS Lewis, which was recorded not long before the latter passed away.
Volume 5 takes a look at common criticisms levelled against SF and puts the case for the defence.
By the time of Volume 5, things were changing in SF, Michael Moorcock had begun his grand experiment with the periodical New Worlds. A New Wave in SF was flowing.
The stories are well worth a read!
|1959||F & SF||The Homing Instinct of Joe Vargo||Stephen Barr|
|1959||Astounding||Special Flight||John Berryman|
|1955||Astounding||The Executioner||Algis Budrys|
|1954||Galaxy||Inanimate Objection||H Chandler Elliott|
|1941||Astounding||By His Bootstraps||Robert Heinlein|
|1952||Astounding||Unhuman Sacrifice||Katherine Maclean|
|1951||Galaxy||The Midas Plague||Frederick Pohl|
|1956||Playboy||Pilgrimage to Earth||Robert Sheckley|
|1949||Startling||Limiting Factor||Clifford Simak|
|1951||Worlds Beyond||Null-P||William Tenn|
|1951||Galaxy||Beyond Bedlam||Wyman Guin|
|1956||New Worlds||There is a Tide||Brian W Aldiss|
|1953||Space SF||Second Variety||Philip K Dick|
|1958||Worlds of If||The Feeling of Power||Isaac Asimov|
|1955||Astounding||Sense from Thought Divide||Mark Clifton|
|1948||Astounding||Resurrection||AE van Vogt|
|1946||Astounding||Vintage Season||Henry Kuttner|
|1961||New Worlds||The Voices of Time||JG Ballard|
|1957||Astounding||Call Me Joe||Poul Anderson|
|1963||We Would See a Sign||Mark Rose|
|1948||Astounding||Dreams are Sacred||Peter Philips|
|1956||Astounding||Exploration Team||Murray Leinster|
|1954||F & SF||Fondly Fahrenheit||Alfred Bester|
|1951||Avon||The Sentinel||Arthur C Clarke|
|1951||Galaxy||The Marching Morons||CM Kornbluth|
|1962||Analog||Gadget vs Trend||Christopher Anvil|
|1962||F & SF||Such Stuff||John Brunner|
|1963||Galaxy||The Sellers of the Dream||John Jakes|
|1960||Fantastic Universe||The Large Ant||Howard Fast|
|1963||Galaxy||The Great Nebraska||Sea Allan Danzig|
|1954||Sunday Chronicle||Compassion Circuit||John Wyndham|
|1961||Galaxy||A Planet Named Shayol||Cordwainer Smith|
|1964||F & SF||Into the Shop||Ron Goulart|
|1962||F & SF||The Secret Songs||Fritz Leiber|
|1956||F & SF||Stranger Station||Damon Knight|
|1963||Galaxy||Hot Planet||Hal Clement|
|1952||Punch||The Choice||Wayland Young|
|1953||Galaxy||Student Body||FL Wallace|
|1953||Astounding||Crucifixus Etiam||Walter M Miller|
|1952||Astounding||Noise Level||Raymond F Jones|
|1955||Astounding||Grandpa||James H Schmitz|
|1953||Astounding||Mother of Invention||Tom Godwin|
|1954||Astounding||The Far Look||Theodore L Thomas|
|1958||Astounding||Big Sword||Paul Ash|
|1953||Astounding||Commencement Night||Richard Ashby|
Key & Stats
|Astounding||20||Astounding Science Fiction|
|Avon||1||The Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader|
|F & SF||6||The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction|
|New Worlds||2||New Worlds Science Fiction|
|Space SF||1||Space Science Fiction|
|Worlds of If||1||If: Worlds of Science Fiction|
Count of Stories by Year of First Publication, by Anthology
Robert Conquest, writer on Soviet Russia
born July 15 1917, died August 3 2015:
Started off like most champagne socialists, blind to the idiocies that ruined Russia. First you destroy the system then you destroy the people. Objectors to this lunacy became statistics. Stalin had a legion of useful idiots abroad, to help spread this lunacy to the West. Polemic helps to hide the truth from those who want to believe. Conquest was cured by postings in East Europe especially Bulgaria. Conquest worked hard to unpick the damage caused by Stalin’s many useful idiots; the mischief still goes on. His first landmark work was: The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties (1968 — hardback: ISBN 0-19-505580-2, paperback ISBN 0-19-507132-8). The Guardian declined to obit him but back in 2003 they did a decent profile. See also New York Times Obit: Robert Conquest, Historian Who Documented Soviet Horrors, Dies at 98.