Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, November 4, 2021


 Political Science Fiction:  An Introductory Reader, edited by Martin Harry Greenberg & Patricia S. Warrick  (1974)

Over a storied career, Martin H. Greenberg (1941-2011) edited over one thousand anthologies, most in the science fiction and fantasy fields.  Greenberg began as an academic, having earned a doctorate in political science in 1969 and teaching at the University of Wisconsin -- Green Bay from 1975 until his retirement in 1996.  He had previously taught at Florida International University.  His career as an anthologist began in 1974 with the publication of six books coedited with Patricia S. Warrick (b. 1925), who taught at the University of Wisconsin at the time.  These six books were clearly aimed at the academic market, both teachers and students, covering such general topics as American government, anthropology, introductory psychology, school and society, and sociology -- all as seen through the lens of science fiction.  The very first in the series, and the first anthology that Martin H. Greenberg edited, was Political Science Fiction.

Why political science fiction?  As the book's preface explains:  "Fantastically complex supercomputers, weapons, systems of communication, methods of trvel:  this is the future world of science fiction.  When it becomes the real world, as part of it will, political systems will need to change to direct and control it."

The twenty-seven stories in this anthology -- dating from 1941 to 1970 -- have been divided into six sections:  Ideology and Political Philosophy, Political Leadership, Elections and Electoral Behavior, Political Violence and Revolution, Diplomacy and International Relations, and Conflict Resolution.  Because this volume is not aimed at the dedicated science fiction reader, many of the tales are familiar, just not necessarily to teachers and students.  Among the more acclaimed authors of the day included are Brian W. Aldiss, Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester, Arthur C. Clarke, Gordon R. Dickson, Harlan Ellison, Robert A. Heinlein (under his pseudonym "Lyle Monroe"), Clifford Simak, Mack Reynolds, and Jack Vance.  Anderson, Dickson, and Reynolds (at the very least) have made political science fiction a major part of their fiction.

There is not a clunker in the bunch.

The contents:


  • Mack Reynolds, "Freedom" (from Analog Science Fact -> Fiction, February 1961)
  • R. R. Fehrenbach (T. R. Fehrenbach), "Remember the Alamo!" (from Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction, December 1961; the first publication in Analog was as by "R. R. Fehrenbach" and following ones were corrected T. R.)
  • Alfred Bester, "Disappearing Act" (from Star Science Fiction Stories No. 2, edited by Frederik Pohl, 1953)
  • Poul Anderson, "The Last of the Deliverers" (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1958)
  • Gordon R. Dickson, "Call Him Lord" (from Analog Science Fiction -> Science Fact, May 1966; winner of the 1977 Nebula Award for Novelette)
  • Raymond E. Banks, "The Short Ones" (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1955)
  • Chandler Davis, "Adrift on the Policy Level" (from The Expert Dreamers, edited by Frederik Pohl, 1962)
  • Clifford Simak, "Eternity Lost" (from Astounding Science Fiction, July 1949)
  • Arthur C. Clarke, "Death and the Senator" (from Analog Science Fact -> Fiction, May 1961)
  • Isaac Asimov, "Evidence" (from Astounding Science Fiction, September 1946; a Susan Calvin story)
  • Isaac Asimov, "Franchise" (from If, August 1955; a Multivac story)"
  • Lyle Monroe" (Robert A. Heinlein) & Elma Wentz, "Beyond Doubt" (from Astonishing Stories, April 1941)
  • Michael Shaara, "2066:  Election Day" (from Astounding Science Fiction, December 1956)
  • Harlan Ellison, " 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" (from Galaxy Magazine, December 1965; winner of the 1966 Hugo for Best Short Fiction, winner of the 1966 Nebula Award for Best Short Story; winner of the 2015 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award)
  • Brian W. Aldiss, "Burning Question" (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1966)
  • Joseph P. Martino, "...Not a Prison Make" (from Analog Science Fiction -> Science Fact, September 1966)
  • Howard Fast, "The General Zapped an Angel" (from Fast's collection The General Zapped an Angel, 1970)
  • George MacBeth, "Crab-Apple Crisis" (from New Worlds SF, October 1966)
  • Jack Vance, "DP!" (from Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader, April 1953)
  • Poul Anderson, "The Helping Hand" (from Astounding Science Fiction, May 1950)
  • Herbert Gold, "The Day They Got Boston" (from Metronome, January 1961)
  • Jesse Bone, "Triggerman" (from Astounding Science Fiction, December 1958)
  • Arthur C. Clarke, "Superiority" (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1951)
  • Cleve Cartmill, "The Link" (from Astounding Science Fiction, August 1942)
  • Walter F. Moudy, "The Survivor" (from Amazing Stories, May 1965)
  • Mack Reynolds, "Pacifist" (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1964)
  • Art Buchwald, "Mars Is Ours!" (from The Washington Post, 1965 -- exact date uncertain)

A fine variety of stories and a fitting start to Martin H. Greenberg's career as a book anthologist.


  1. Hell, nearly all you cite made political stories a notable part of their collected works...

    Notable that a few of their selections here were previously in such textbook-market items as Dick Allen's SCIENCE FICTION: THE FUTURE (such as "Crab-Apple Crisis"). Perhaps this made the publishers more comfortable with their gamble!

    Heinlein liked to sell his ASTOUNDING rejects, for the most part, under his Monroe pseudonym, perhaps in part so as not to draw Campbell's attention/displeasure, at least early on, in bringing stories to other magazines. By the end of the '40s, and beginning to sell to THE SATURDAY EVENING POST and also doing his best to appear in every fantastic magazine (at least the ones he respected), hence, for example, "Our Fair City" in WEIRD TALES, that caution went out the window.

    I hadn't realized the duo had sold so many of their textbook to what would become a start that would be replicated in most of Greenberg's career...

  2. This looks like a grand anthology! I'll have to track down a copy!