Disch/Carr/Miller/et al : Ends of the World


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The threat of nuclear annihilation was pervasive in 1950s science fiction, as reflected in classic novels like Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon, Neville Shute's On the Beach, and Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz. The 1960s brought concerns about overpopulation and environmental degradation. Several anthologies beginning in the 1970s addressed these various apocalyptic themes.

Thomas M. Disch's 1971 The Ruins of Earth concerns ecological catastrophe, with six original stories and 10 reprints, including famous stories by J.G. Ballard and Daphne du Maurier ("The Birds," basis for the Hitchcock film). Disch was a provocative but only occasional anthologist, mostly of original stories; relevant but not compiled here is 1973's Bad Moon Rising [isfdb], with 21 original stories and poems about the "worsening political situation around the world," including enduring works by Harlan Ellison, Kate Wilhelm, and Robert Silverberg.

Reflecting early 1970s' anxieties were two unusual paperbacks. Voyages, "A Zero Population Growth/Ballantine Book" with a foreword by Paul Ehrlich (author of the infamous The Population Bomb), addresses the dangerous effects of population growth, reaching back to 1950s progenitors by Ray Bradbury and C.M. Kornbluth and gathering more recent foundational stories by J.G. Ballard, Pamela Zoline, and Norman Spinrad.

Survival Printout, credited to Total Effect on the cover and to Leonard Allison, Leonard Jenkin, and Robert Perrault on the title page, purports to be a "two-year dialogue" between the editors and Illiac 4, a giant Burroughs Corporation computer. After a couple pages of teletype text the result is a gathering of one essay and three stories in each of four categories, with classic works by Ballard, Bester, Ellison, Simak, and others.

Terry Carr's Dream's Edge, stories "about the future of Planet Earth," was produced for the Sierra Club in 1980. It acknowledges the threats of nuclear war and ecological destruction, but with an optimism that these problems can be solved. The stories are almost all from the 1970s, with classic works by Sturgeon, Le Guin, Waldrop, and Silverberg.

Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s sole anthology, assembled with the assistance of the ubiquitous Martin H. Greenberg, appropriately echoed the theme of his famous novel of a quarter century before, though the anthology is ominously subtitled "Twenty-One Sermons to the Dead." Miller's introduction begins with concerns about current politics and religious fundamentalists, and ranges across all history to explore the notion of a final Megawar. Stories include essential works by Spinrad, Moore, Ballard, Pangborn, Bradbury, Clarke, and Swanwick.

Future Primitive, Kim Stanley Robinson's only anthology aside from a Nebula Awards volume, its subtitle "The New Ecotopias" evoking Ernest Callenbach's classic novel, presents an optimistic take on the dangers of urban industrialization. One original by Callenbach is accompanied by 11 reprint stories, including the entire center novella section of Gene Wolfe's book The Fifth Head of Cerberus.

Finally, Robert Silverberg's first theme anthology in 30 years reaches back to Jule Verne and Olaf Stapledon and forward to a couple original stories and evokes the Biblical notion of apocalypse, with stories by Vance, Leiber, Aldiss, Le Guin, Tiptree, and Willis.

Authors most reprint in this group: J.G. Ballard and Robert Silverberg (4 each), then Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, and Roger Zelazny (3 each).

  • The Ruins of Earth, Thomas M. Disch, ed. (Putnam's, 1971) [isfdb]
  • Voyages: Scenarios for a Ship Called Earth, Rob Sauer, ed. (Ballantine, 1971) [isfdb]
  • Survival Printout, Total Effect (Vintage, 1973) [isfdb]
  • Dream's Edge, Terry Carr, ed. (Sierra Club Books, 1980) [isfdb]
  • Beyond Armageddon, Walter M. Miller, Jr. & Martin H. Greenberg, eds. (Donald I. Fine, 1985) [isfdb]
  • Future Primitive: The New Ecotopias, Kim Stanley Robinson, ed. (Tor, 1994) [isfdb]
  • This Way to the End Times: Classic Tales of the Apocalypse, Robert Silverberg, ed. (Three Rooms Press, 2016) [isfdb]



Combined Contents by Author and Title


Robert Abernathy
  • Heirs Apparent (F&SF Jun 1954) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Jim Aikin
  • My Life in the Jungle (F&SF Feb 1985) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Brian W. Aldiss
  • Heresies of the Huge God (Galaxy Aug 1966) -- This Way to the End Times
  • My Lady of the Psychiatric Sorrows (Universe 7, 1977) -- Dream's Edge
  • Who Can Replace a Man? (Infinity Science Fiction Jun 1958) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Poul Anderson
  • Fortune Hunter (Infinity, 1972) -- Dream's Edge
  • Tomorrow's Children (Astounding Mar 1947) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Susan Anderson
  • The Spirit Who Bideth by Himself in the Land of Mist and Snow (Amazing Jan 1976) -- Dream's Edge
  • Megan Arkenberg
  • Final Exam (Asimov's) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Dale Bailey
  • The End of the World As We Know It (F&SF Oct/Nov 2004) -- This Way to the End Times
  • The Rain at the End of the World (F&SF Jul 1999) -- This Way to the End Times
  • J. G. Ballard
  • Billennium (New Worlds Nov 1961) -- Voyages
  • The Cage of Sand (New Worlds Jun 1962) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • The Terminal Beach (New Worlds Mar 1964) -- Survival Printout
          -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Emilio S. Belaval
  • The Purple Child -- Voyages
  • Stephen Vincent Benét
  • By the Waters of Babylon (The Saturday Evening Post Jul 31 1937) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Alfred Bester
  • Fondly Fahrenheit (F&SF Aug 1954) -- Survival Printout
  • Terry Bisson
  • Bears Discover Fire (IASFM Aug 1990) -- Future Primitive
  • James Blish
  • Common Time (Science Fiction Quarterly Aug 1953) -- Survival Printout
  • Ray Bradbury
  • All Summer in a Day (F&SF Mar 1954) -- Voyages
  • There Will Come Soft Rains (Colliers May 6 1950) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • To the Chicago Abyss (F&SF May 1963) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Fredric Brown
  • Pattern (Angels and Spaceships, 1954) -- Voyages
  • Michael Brownstein
  • The Plot to Save the World (The Paris Review #48 1970) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • Edward Bryant
  • Jody After the War (Orbit 10, 1972) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • F. M. Busby
  • Three Tinks on the House (Vertex Jun 1973) -- Dream's Edge
  • Terry Carr
  • Virra (F&SF Oct 1978) -- Dream's Edge
  • Arthur C. Clarke
  • "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth..." (Future Sep 1951) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Theodore R. Cogswell
  • Consumer's Report (Imagination Oct 1955) -- Voyages
  • Grania Davis
  • Young Love (Orbit 13, 1974) -- Dream's Edge
  • Samuel R. Delany
  • Driftglass (If Jun 1967) -- Survival Printout
  • Philip K. Dick
  • Autofac (Galaxy Nov 1955) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • Daphne du Maurier
  • The Birds (Good Housekeeping Oct 1952) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • Malcolm Edwards
  • After-Images (Interzone #4 1983) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Harlan Ellison
  • A Boy and His Dog (New Worlds Apr 1969) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (If Mar 1967) -- Survival Printout
  • Kenward Elmslie
  • Accident Vertigo (The Paris Review #50 1971) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • Carol Emshwiller
  • Day at the Beach (F&SF Aug 1959) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Looking Down (Omni Jan 1990) -- Future Primitive
  • James Elroy Flecker
  • The Last Generation: A Story of the Future -- This Way to the End Times
  • Alice Glaser
  • The Tunnel Ahead (F&SF Nov 1961) -- Voyages
  • Karen Haber
  • Three Days After -- This Way to the End Times
  • Frank Herbert
  • Greenslaves (Amazing Mar 1965) -- Dream's Edge
  • Wayland Hilton-Young
  • The Choice (Punch Mar 19 1952) -- Voyages
  • James D. Houston
  • Gas Mask (Nugget 1964) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • Robinson Jeffers
  • Return -- Future Primitive
  • Science -- Dream's Edge
  • Gerald Jonas
  • The Shaker Revival (Galaxy Feb 1970) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • Garry Kilworth
  • Hogfoot Right and Bird-Hands (Other Edens, 1987) -- Future Primitive
  • C. M. Kornbluth
  • Shark Ship (Vanguard Jun 1958) -- Voyages
  • R. A. Lafferty
  • Boomer Flats (If Aug 1971) -- Future Primitive
  • Incased in Ancient Rind (Quark, 1971) -- Dream's Edge
  • Interurban Queen (Orbit 8, 1970) -- Survival Printout
  • Philip Latham
  • N Day (Astounding Jan 1946) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The New Atlantis (The New Atlantis, 1975) -- Dream's Edge
          -- This Way to the End Times
  • Newton's Sleep (Full Spectrum 3, 1991) -- Future Primitive
  • Fritz Leiber
  • America the Beautiful (The Year 2000, 1970) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • A Pail of Air (Galaxy Dec 1951) -- This Way to the End Times
  • The Secret Songs (F&SF Aug 1962) -- Survival Printout
  • Doris Lessing
  • A Mild Attack of Locusts -- Voyages
  • Katherine MacLean
  • The Other (New Worlds Jul 1966) -- Voyages
  • Marcia Martin
  • Last Hunt (by MM & Eric Vinicoff) (Analog Feb 1979) -- Dream's Edge
  • Terry Melen
  • Whale Song (Analog Sep 1974) -- Dream's Edge
  • Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • Alibi -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Ward Moore
  • Lot (F&SF May 1953) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Pat Murphy
  • In the Abode of the Snows (IASFM mid-Dec 1986) -- Future Primitive
  • Larry Niven
  • The Green Marauder (Destinies Feb 1980) -- Dream's Edge
  • Charles Ott
  • People's Park (Vertex Dec 1974) -- Dream's Edge
  • Edgar Pangborn
  • A Master of Babylon (Galaxy Nov 1954) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Alexei Panshin
  • How Can We Sink When We Can Fly? (Four Futures, 1971) -- Dream's Edge
  • Horacio V. Paredes
  • Population Control, 1986 (Atlas Apr 1970) -- Voyages
  • Rog Phillips
  • Game Preserve (If Oct 1957) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Rachel Pollack
  • The Bead Woman (Interzone: The 4th Anthology, 1989) -- Future Primitive
  • Frank L. Pollock
  • Finis (Argosy Jun 1906) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Kit Reed
  • The Food Farm (Orbit 2, 1967) -- Voyages
  • Golden Acres (Mister Da V. and Other Stories, 1967) -- Voyages
  • Frank M. Robinson
  • "East Wind, West Wind" (Nova 2, 1972) -- Dream's Edge
  • Norman Rush
  • Closing with Nature (Massachusetts Review 1970) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • Moshe Shamir
  • Doctor Schmidt -- Voyages
  • Robert Sheckley
  • The Store of the Worlds (Playboy Sep 1959) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Lucius Shepard
  • Salvador (F&SF Apr 1984) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • John Shirley
  • Under the Generator (Universe 6, 1976) -- Dream's Edge
  • Robert Silverberg
  • A Happy Day in 2381 (Nova 1, 1970) -- Survival Printout
  • House of Bones (Terry's Universe, 1988) -- Future Primitive
  • When We Went to See the End of the World (Universe 2, 1972) -- This Way to the End Times
  • The Wind and the Rain (Saving Worlds, 1973) -- Dream's Edge
          -- This Way to the End Times
  • Clifford D. Simak
  • Desertion (Astounding Nov 1944) -- Survival Printout
  • Cordwainer Smith
  • Scanners Live in Vain (Fantasy Book #6 1950) -- Survival Printout
  • Gary Snyder
  • Tomorrow's Song -- Future Primitive
  • Norman Spinrad
  • The Big Flash (Orbit 5, 1969) -- Voyages
          -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Olaf Stapledon
  • Last and First Men (excerpt) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Theodore Sturgeon
  • Occam's Scalpel (If Aug 1971) -- Dream's Edge
  • Michael Swanwick
  • The Feast of Saint Janis (New Dimensions 11, 1980) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • William Tenn
  • Eastward Ho! (F&SF Oct 1958) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • James Tiptree, Jr.
  • The Screwfly Solution (Analog Jun 1977) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Frederick Turner
  • from The New World -- Future Primitive
  • Sydney J. Van Scyoc
  • When Petals Fall (Two Views of Wonder, 1973) -- Dream's Edge
  • Jack Vance
  • Guyal of Sfere (The Dying Earth, 1950) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Jules Verne
  • The Eternal Adam (by JV & MICHEL VERNE) (Saturn Mar 1957) -- This Way to the End Times
  • MICHEL VERNE
  • The Eternal Adam (by Jules Verne & MV) (Saturn Mar 1957) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Eric Vinicoff
  • Last Hunt (by Marcia Martin & EV) (Analog Feb 1979) -- Dream's Edge
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • Deer in the Works (Esquire Apr 1955) -- The Ruins of Earth
  • Howard Waldrop
  • Mary Margaret Road-Grader (Orbit 18, 1976) -- Future Primitive
  • The Ugly Chickens (Universe 10, 1980) -- Dream's Edge
  • F. L. Wallace
  • Student Body (Galaxy Mar 1953) -- Voyages
  • G. Peyton Wertenbaker
  • The Coming of the Ice (Amazing Jun 1926) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Connie Willis
  • Daisy, in the Sun (Galileo Nov 1979) -- This Way to the End Times
  • Gene Wolfe
  • "A Story" by John V. Marsch (The Fifth Head of Cerberus, 1972) -- Future Primitive
  • John Wyndham
  • The Wheel (Startling Stories Jan 1952) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Roger Zelazny
  • Auto-da-Fé (Dangerous Visions, 1967) -- Voyages
  • For a Breath I Tarry (New Worlds Mar 1966) -- Survival Printout
  • Lucifer (Worlds of Tomorrow Jun 1964) -- Beyond Armageddon
  • Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
  • Prayers to the Sun by a Dying Person -- This Way to the End Times
  • Pamela Zoline
  • The Heat Death of the Universe (New Worlds Jul 1967) -- Voyages

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    This page last updated Thursday 3 Sep 2020 at 10:23 PT