Book Review 2007 #4: The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century

The next book up, our fourth of the year, is another Christmas gift, The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century, edited by Martin Greenberg and Harry Turtledove


I was frankly disappointed, up front and without reservation.
A collection that bills itself the “best of the 20th century” had bloody well have a stellar lineup of stories so that it is at least in the same region as anyone’s set of stories that are evoked by the idea of the best 20th century time travel stories.
Some of the stories here are classics and are worthy of inclusion–Clarke’s “A Sound of Thunder”. There is a De Camp story here, and one of Niven’s Svetz stories. I really like the Silverberg entry “Sailing to Byzantium”. Anderson’s “The Man Who Came Early” is a nice counterpoint to Lest Darkness Fall.
And yet, the collection falls flat. Too many of the stories are only incidentally about Time Travel to be worthy of the subgenre, much less being BEST of the subgenre. There is a well written Ursula Le Guin story, as most of her stuff is…but its not really a classic time travel story. And there are plenty of stories and authors that are missing from a putative “best”. There are no Heinlein stories, for example, and Asimov wrote a couple of time travel stories that are certainly better than some of the stories in this collection.
I cannot in good conscience recommend this collection.