Do you like classic crime fiction? Do you like classic sci-fi? Then this book might be your cup of tea, as the stories are a merger of the two genres. This is the 3rd of the British Library Science Fiction Classics I’ve read and again I found this collection to be a mixed bag. Only the story by P D James really wowed me. The rest of them were clever and sometimes enjoyable but I’d never want to re-read.
I liked the general introduction and the mini introduction to each story, which were spoiler-free and quite interesting. Some of the stories are by authors best known for crime fiction, others are known for science fiction. As always the authors are a selection of the famous and the obscure. I hadn’t previously read any of the 10 stories.
‘Elsewhen’ by Anthony Boucher – the impossibility of solving a murder where the suspect uses a time machine to provide his own alibi.
‘Puzzle for Spacemen’ by John Brunner is a very detailed murder investigation set in space but which didn’t grip me.
‘Legwork’ by Eric Frank Russell – a long story of a bank robbery by an alien, which became less interesting a few pages in.
‘Mirror Image’ by Isaac Asimov considers whether robots can lie to protect their masters, a typical Asimov robot story.
‘The Flying Eye’ by Jacques Futrelle is a humorous story about a giant eye which appears in the sky.
‘Nonentity’ by E C Tubb – a grim and clever murder mystery about survivors stranded in space.
‘Death of a Telepath’ by George Chailey examines how it’s possible for a telepath to be murdered, as they can read the murderer’s thoughts.
‘Murder, 1986’ by P D James is a brilliantly crafted story set in a frightening dystopia 16 years in the future.
‘Apple’ by Anne McCaffrey – in a society of people with psychic talents, police are chasing a woman who uses telekinetic powers to commit crime.
‘The Absolutely Perfect Murder’ by Miriam Allen deFord is an amusing warning against using time travel to attempt to remove your spouse from existence.
Published in 2021.