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SF Masterworks is a series of classics that deserve to be in print and kept there, rather than languishing as OP titles. They were published monthly by Millennium, which is an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, a UK publisher whose other imprints include Dolphin, Orion Media, Phoenix and Victor Gollancz. Below you'll find an overview of the series so far, with cover/title links to the SF Site reviews (where applicable) along with synopses of those titles yet to be reviewed (cover images are linked to larger images). They are in reverse order of release, with the newest ones on the left. It is a companion series for their Fantasy Masterworks line.

SF Masterworks | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 |            Fantasy Masterworks | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 |

Orion SF Masterworks
   No. 30
A Case Of Conscience A Case Of Conscience by James Blish
reviewed by Martin Lewis
A contact team of four scientists have been sent to decide whether to open up Lithia to Earth. This decision is complicated by the fact that Lithia is inhabited by intelligent, civilized aliens with the appearance of 12-foot high reptilian kangaroos. Michelis believes the planet should be opened up so Earth can benefit from contact with the peaceful, unified Lithians; Carver believes the planet's high quantity of lithium makes it ideal for turning into a bomb factory; Agronski is undecided, flitting between both views; Ruiz-Sanchez, a priest as well as a biologist, believes Lithia should be placed in permanent quarantine because it is a creation of the devil.

   No. 29
Man Plus Man Plus by Frederik Pohl
This novel of cyborg technology won the Nebula in 1976; the next year Pohl won the Nebula again for his now classic novel, Gateway. He is the author of countless other novels and short stories since the 1950s. "Ill luck made Roger Torraway the subject of the Man Plus Program, but it was deliberate biological engineering which turned him into a monster -- a machine perfectly adapted to survive on Mars. For according to computer predictions, Mars is humankind's only alternative to extinction. But beneath his monstrous exterior, Torraway still carries a man's capacity for suffering."

   No. 28
More Than Human More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
This book is powerfully written, in a style both sinewy and poetic. The characters -- each of whom follows a path of personal evolution that echoes the evolution of the Gestalt -- are strongly and compassionately drawn: the story turns on them, on their weaknesses and their strengths, as much as it does on the author's tightly-conceived plot.

   No. 27
Timescape Timescape by Gregory Benford
This is one of the best and most plausibly realistic time-travel stories ever conceived. This Nebula Award-winning novel from 1980 inspired the publishers, Simon and Schuster, to name their SF imprint Timescape Books. "1962: A young Californian scientist finds his experiments spoiled by mysterious interference. Gradually his suspicions lead him to a shattering truth: scientists from the end of the century are using subatomic particles to send a message into the past, in the hope that history can be changed and a world-threatening catastrophe can be averted."

   No. 26
UBIK UBIK by Philip K. Dick
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
Glen Runciter's business is beleaguered. The telepaths his telepaths are monitoring -- to prevent them from influencing consumer trends among the population -- are vanishing, and his precogs can't find them. Not even his dead wife can help him, from her stasis tank in Switzerland. Apparently, someone doesn't like Runciter's continuing efforts to get to the bottom of his problems, because he and several of his employees are caught in an explosion...

   No. 25
Flowers for Algernon Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
Charlie Gordon is a retarded worker in a bakery, who sweeps floors, acts as the butt for other's jokes, and struggles to learn to read under the guidance of Alice Kinnian. His situation takes a dramatic turn when he undergoes brain surgery designed to help reorder his brain tissue and to grant him intelligence.

   No. 24
The Time Machine and War of the Worlds The Time Machine and War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
reviewed by Neil Walsh
The author was certainly no Dickens or Thackeray and, as a science fiction writer, he was no Frank Herbert or even John Wyndham. However, his work is important to the history of the genre and it is worth reading a sampling to understand the roots of contemporary science fiction. Imperfect as these two stories are, they are probably the two best -- both for their historical importance and for exemplifying the author's style and scope.

   No. 23
The Book Of Skulls The Book Of Skulls by Robert Silverberg
reviewed by Chris Donner
What happens when the promise of immortality lies directly and clearly ahead, a path to be followed absolutely or ignored forever? How would we respond if we knew we could live forever, but that it would require absolute dedication, unfailing pursuit, regardless of the personal costs? This question is addressed by the author in this masterful novel.

   No. 22
Behold the Man Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock
reviewed by Neil Walsh
This 1967 Nebula winner has a very mainstream feel to it. Sure, it begins with a time machine, and the story, after all, is about a guy who travels back to 28 AD to meet Jesus, but the flashbacks of that guy are to his previous life in England -- from the time of his childhood in the late 40s to his thoroughly mixed up adult life into the early 70s. The character of Karl Glogauer, the time traveller, is extremely realistic -- complex, contradictory, multi-layered, and both emotionally and psychologically messed up big-time.

   No. 21
Star Maker Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon
reviewed by David Soyka
This is one of those works that are revered by critics and studied in academia, but largely unread even by serious readers. While Seamus Heaney's new translation of Beowulf may have sparked general interest in the oldest of English long poems (and forebear of sword and sorcery fantasy) beyond lit majors who have to read it, doubt exists that the Millennium SF Masterworks reissue of this novel will have similar results.

   No. 20
3 Novels A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
reviewed by Neil Walsh
This one was first published in 1977, after Dick had either had a severe breakdown or spent a lot of time in communication with superior beings -- take your pick. It follows the story of Officer Fred, an undercover narcotics agent who is so deeply undercover that even his superiors don't know his street identity, Bob Arctor. Consequently, Fred is given the task of monitoring Bob.

   No. 19
Emphyrio Emphyrio by Jack Vance
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is one of his better novels, and in many ways a good introduction. On display are many of the hallmarks of his mature style: his elegant writing, his wonderful depiction of local colour, his unusual social systems. It lacks only the humour that is so often present in Vance: this is one of his more melancholy books. It's also better plotted than many of his novels, and it's a stand-alone.

   No. 18
The Sirens of Titan The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
reviewed by Neil Walsh
The novel is centrally concerned with the meaning of life. Or rather, the meaninglessness of life. Winston Niles Rumfoord is a wealthy playboy who takes his privately funded spaceship and drives it straight into a chrono-synclastic infundibulum, just to see what will happen. He is smeared from here to the far end of the galaxy.

   No. 17
The Drowned World The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
This is a fascinating read, for it prefigures many of the themes that pervade the author's subsequent books: planetary/ecological disaster, entropy, the devolution of human nature, a preoccupation with the roots of violence. For those unfamiliar with Ballard, it's a good introduction -- more accessible and less transgressive than some of his later work, yet full of the arresting surrealism and hallucinatory brilliance of language that are hallmarks of his writing.

   No. 16
The Dispossessed The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
It's a book of opposites: a utopian novel that doesn't flinch from exposing the flaws of its model society, a feminist-themed narrative with a male protagonist, a social commentary that presents communal cooperation as the truest human ideal, yet focuses on the inevitable separateness of the creative individual within such a structure. Through these dichotomies, the author examines the tension between human aspiration and human nature, between what can be dreamed and what can be achieved.

   No. 15
Stand on Zanzibar Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
From the misty depths of the late 60s, Brunner gives us the ultimate dysfunctional society, a world of decadence spilling into decay, of high tech advances and the loss of common sense. There's a good bit of cyberpunkish foreshadowing here. The drugs, the mean streets, the ragged suburbs, and Mr and Mrs Everywhere on your TV set, who can be programmed to look just like you; through them you can attend the most exclusive parties, visit the most scenic places on Earth, meet the rich and famous, all at the flick of a remote control.

   No. 14
The Demolished Man The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
reviewed by Todd Richmond
It takes place in a future where a small percentage of the population has developed telepathic powers. Called peepers, they have revolutionized business, government, and, most importantly, law enforcement. In fact, no act of premeditated murder has been committed in more than 70 years. So Lincoln Polwell is somewhat astonished to be summoned to a popular socialite's home to investigate both a murder and a disappearance.

   No. 13
3 Novels Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick
reviewed by Neil Walsh
Jack Bohlen is a repairman on a desolate, dry Mars, inhabited by poor colonists and the remnants of the poorer native population, the Bleekmen. Jack's bored wife is addicted to barbiturates. His father is a ruthless land speculator. His neighbour's young son, Manfred, is an autistic with untapped paranormal abilities. His new boss, Arnie Kott, has a virtual monopoly on the available water on Mars.

   No. 12
Earth Abides Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Classics of science fiction, both this novel and The Purple Cloud by M.P. Shiel are post-holocaust novels in which a single man survives. Beyond being rousing adventures, and having almost opposite approaches to the human nature of their last man, they explore the role of personal integrity and that of knowledge in the development of humanity -- one centred on the concept of the all controlling, all conquering Übermensch while the other on the uneasiness of the absolute power his deification by other survivors has brought him.

   No. 11
Last and First Men Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
First published nearly 70 years ago, this text is regarded as one of the most influential science fiction novels of the 20th century. Olaf Stapledon creates a history of the evolution of humankind over the next two billion years.

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