Review of Here Today …Gone to Tomorrow edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenberg

May 16, 2007
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Here Today ... Gone TomorrowHere Today …Gone Tomorrow (Asimov’s All Time Favorite Time Travel Stories)
Edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenberg; Read by various
4 Cassettes – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dercum Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 1556562586 [out of print]
Themes: /Science Fiction /Time travel /Anthology /

Stories: “Try and Change the Past” by Fritz Leiber, read by Bill Fantini; “A Loint of Paw” by Isaac Asimov, read by Bill Fantini; “The Long Remembering” by Poul Anderson, read by Nelson Runger; “There Is A Wolf In My Time Machine” by Larry Niven, read by Bill Fantini; “The Light Of Other Days” by Bob Shaw, read by Nelson Runger; “The Kings Wishes” by Robert Sheckley, read by Nelson Runger; “The Little Black Bag” by C.M. Kornbluth, read by Ann Wilcox.

Old school. That’s what this collection of time travel stories is, with all the blessings and baggage that implies. The stories concern mainly white men, with women appearing mostly as henpecking baffles for their claustrophobic concerns, and, in general, the voices presenting the stories are brusque and hairy-chested, like those from a third grade filmstrip on pool safety (and if that simile has any resonance for you, then I think you appreciate what I mean by “old school”). A female voice does narrate C.M. Kornbluth’s “The Little Black Bag”, but the story is so piquant with elitism and misogyny, it might as well be read by a Victorian-era Harvard College president.

The cover claims the stories were hand selected by Isaac Asimov from his own personal library, and the photo shows the great one with his trademark facial fur and engaging grin in front of a tall shelf packed with his own works.* Happily, his own works do appear in this collection, but only in the delightful – a word to describe almost anything Asimov uttered aloud – introduction he delivers himself, and the brief, forgettable story “A Loint Of Paw” which he does not.

The list of authors is impressive. The stories, however, while enjoyable, are neither essential nor groundbreaking. The best of them, and the only one to offer even a glimpse of the wistful ache that is the primary motivation for the idea of time travel, is Bob Shaw’s “The Light Of Other Days.” I was caught off guard after the relatively bland intellectual exercises of the forgoing stories because this one starts out looking similarly simple and heartless, yet builds to a subtle and profoundly moving finish.

As a whole, this is a decent collection, but not one I’d risk any injury rushing out to acquire. If it falls in your lap, or if you are a rabid fan of old school SF, I’d give it a listen. Otherwise, I think you could easily find something more satisfying to fill your ears with.

[editor’s note – the cover depicted above does not match Kurt’s description. Kurt’s scan of his copy of this audiobook was not available at the time of this post]

Posted by Kurt Dietz

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