Science FictionSix NYRB Classics
Our Science Fiction box boasts a mix of short story collections and novels that imagine far-off futures to pose enduring questions about our present. The collection includes two full-length works by the speculative fiction pioneer John Wyndham, whom David Mitchell calls “a true English visionary, a William Blake with a science doctorate.” In Chocky, with an afterword by Margaret Atwood, a young boy’s parents become increasingly skeptical of his alarmingly inquisitive imaginary friend. Set in a postapocalyptic dystopia, The Chrysalids follows a teen living in a fundamentalist society with zero tolerance for difference—and who discovers he has strange and dangerous superpowers he can only hide for so long. Another dystopian fantasy, Tatyana Tolstaya’s The Slynx is a satire of corruption and bureaucracy by an undersung Russian writer who’s garnered comparisons to Chekhov.Introduced by Jeff VanderMeer, David R. Bunch’s Moderan is a “disturbing, stark, and deeply thought-provoking collection of stories chronicling humankind’s demise into heartless automatons” (Kirkus)—all set on a plastic-encased, war-torn planet of the future. Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley, selected by Jonathan Lethem and Alex Abramovich, showcases the macabre, mischievous imagination of a writer often called a precursor to Douglas Adams. And Machines in the Head, a selection of stories by Anna Kavan, gathers the best of her haunting short fiction from across three decades of her career. Arranged in chronological order, her work grows increasingly surreal—and her late stories reflect the turn to science fiction evident in her final masterpiece, Ice.