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Vintage Treasures: Matter’s End by Gregory Benford

Saturday, October 26th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

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Matter’s End (Bantam Spectra, 1995). Cover by Pamela Lee

Gregory Benford began his writing career with the story “Stand-In” in the June 1965 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He was nominated for a Nebula Award for his first novel In the Ocean of Night (1976), and won it in 1980 for Timescape. Since then he’s focused chiefly on novels, most famously the six-volume Galactic Center Saga.

But he first built his reputation on short fiction, and he’s returned to it again and again over the course of a 50-year career. His short fiction has been nominated for four Hugo Awards (for two short stories and two novellas), and many Nebula Awards. He’s produced more than half a dozen collections, including In Alien Flesh (1986), Worlds Vast and Various (2000), Immersion and Other Short Novels (2002), and The Best of Gregory Benford (2015).

His second collection was Matter’s End, published by Bantam Spectra in 1995. It contains 21 stories, including “Stand-In,” the Nebula-nominated title story, an original novelette, “Sleepstory,” and one original short story, “Side Effect.” It came in third for the Locus Award for Best Collection in 1995, and was quickly reprinted in hardcover (by The Easton Press in 1995, and by Gollancz in 1996), and in paperback in the UK by Vista in 1997.

To be truthful, I haven’t followed Benford’s novel career much. But his short fiction is a different story. I found a copy of Matter’s End in a collection I purchased recently, and I’ve very curious about it. Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

[Click the images for cosmic-sized versions.]

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Gollancz hardcover (1996). Cover by Bob Eggleton

“Freezeframe” (Interzone #17 Autumn 1986)
“Mozart on Morphine” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October 1989)
“Centigrade 233” (chapbook, 1990)
“Sleepstory”
“Calibrations and Exercises” (New Dimensions 9, 1979)
“Leviathan” (Omni, November 1989)
“Shakers of the Earth” (The Ultimate Dinosaur, 1992)
“Proselytes” (Full Spectrum, 1988)
“Touches” (Amazing Stories, December 1991, 1991)
“Nobody Lives on Burton Street” (Amazing Science Fiction, May 1970)
“Dark Sanctuary” (Omni, May 1979)
“Side Effect”
“Knowing Her” (New Dimensions 7, 1977)
“Stand-In” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June 1965)
“Time Guide” (Destinies, January-February 1979)
“We Could Do Worse” (Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, April 1989)
“Slices” (Destinies, August 1981)
“Immortal Night” (Omni, April 1985)
“The Bigger One” (Science Fiction Age, May 1994)
“Cadenza” (New Dimensions 12, 1981)
“Matter’s End” (Full Spectrum 3, 1991)
Afterword

Our previous coverage of Gregory Benford includes:

Birthday Reviews: Gregory Benford’s “Down the River Road” by Steven H Silver
Robert Silverberg, Gregory Benford, Dave Truesdale and Others Sign Petition Calling for Changes to SFWA

Matter’s End was published by Bantam Spectra in January 1995. It is 294 pages, priced at $5.99 in paperback. It has been reprinted multiple times; Gateway / Orion issued a digital edition in 2011.

See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.

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