Sunday, 11 August 2013

Four For The Future

Harry Harrison edited Four For The Future, an anthology of two stories each by Brian Aldiss, Poul Anderson, James Blish and Harry Harrison. Each author's two stories were respectively on the themes of "Sacrifice" and "Redemption," the point being that an animal might sacrifice itself to protect its young whereas redemption is a specifically human concept. (In Christianity, redemption is effected by a sacrifice.)

The sacrifice stories were written for a single issue of Impulse whereas the redemption stories were each published elsewhere before being anthologized. Anderson's sacrifice story, "High Treason," is in one of his collections and I posted about it recently. See here.

His redemption story has the to me unfamiliar title of "The Dipteroid Phenomenon." Thus, when a neighbor lent me Four For The Future, I expected to be able to post about a new story. However, "The Dipteroid Phenomenon" turns out to be "The Sharing of Flesh," indeed was originally published under that title to which it reverted when collected as part of Anderson's Technic Civilization History, so of course I have already posted about it under the heading of "The Long Night."

Tracking down unread works can be an interesting exercise - an apparently unread work can turn out to be a familiar work published under an unfamiliar title.

I did read Four For The Future when it was published mainly for the Blish stories but I also remember that the Aldiss stories were notable, particularly since the redemption story is a sequel to the sacrifice story.

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