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Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley

by: Robert Sheckley

Publisher: NYRB Classics (2009)

$18.95

Staff Pick by comrade:

Robert Sheckley was an eccentric master of the American short story, and his tales, whether set in dystopic cityscapes, ultramodern advertising agencies, or broad spaceships lighting out for hostile planets, are among the most startling of the 20th century.

Robert Sheckley was science fiction�s in-house reply to the black humorists of the 1950s and 60s: Bruce Jay Friedman, Terry Southern, and the young Thomas Pynchon were his nonetoo- distant relatives; Mort Sahl�s comedy, Charles Schultz�s cartoons, and Tom Lehrer�s songs all mined similar veins. Sheckley targeted the conformity and consumerism of our mid-century technotopia while it was still under construction. His new worlds, alternate universes, and future dystopias have only become more present with the passing years, even as his career, played out both in the pulp magazines and in front-line venues like Playboy and Omni, is a glimpse of a time when �science fiction writer� could be a kind of hipster credential. Mordant, absurdist, and deadpan, the best of Sheckley�s dissident farces represent science fiction�s high-water mark as an allegorical clearinghouse for twenty-century angst.