41 Above the Rest: An Index and Checklist for the Anthologies of Groff Conklin
by Bud Webster
Review by Colleen Cahill
Wildside Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0809510804
Date: 14 October, 2004 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
For those familiar with these anthologies, this checklist will help you find all the titles and various editions that have come out between 1946 and 1998. Webster has been very complete in his bibliography, including not only books published in the United States, but those from Mexico, Europe and even Japan. There are checklists in chronological order, by book title and by author, with appendices of Conklin?s non-science fiction and non-fiction titles, lists of single author collections he worked on, and more. Printed in a size for carrying in-hand or to tuck in a book bag, this is designed for those who are looking through used bookstores or dealers? rooms and it is just the thing for keeping track of what volumes a collector has and what is being sought.
It is also useful to the science fiction researcher, as it shows the literary style of an era, who the innovative authors were and what was popular in that day, although Conklin did not limited himself to only current works. The collections included stories from giants of earlier years, such as Edgar Allen Poe and Jules Verne. The names you expect to see, such a Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury are certainly in Conklin?s collections, but there are also many stories by authors who were not quite as well known, as such as Murray Leinster, Damon Knight, and Katherine MacLean. It becomes clear that the editor had excellent taste, assembling the best works he could find. And Webster has provided some interesting appendixes, such as a list of the authors who had more than five stories in Conklin?s collections: just for the record, Theodore Sturgeon was obvious his favorite.
For the reader, this is a list of really good stories. Interested in reading some Fritz Leiber? Check the author index and your will find eight choices. Like stories about alien invasions? The Book by Title section lists Invaders Of Earth, with 22 tales of other world takeovers. In fact, just reading the list of titles can be intriguing: who would not want to check out tales with titles like J. T. McIntosh?s ?Immortality ... for Some? or A. J. Deutsch?s ?A Subway called Morbius??
As Webster states in his introduction, you might be able to find much of this information in other sources, but not in such a handy and easy to use form. A CD-ROM version of the bibliography is due out soon, which will be even more useful to researchers. For the Conklin collector, the scholar of science fiction or just the reader in search of good materials, 41 Above The Rest is a guide to finding just what you need.