A Hearty Library of Genre Fiction: The Arbor House Treasuries edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Bill Pronzini, Robert Silverberg, and Others

A Hearty Library of Genre Fiction: The Arbor House Treasuries edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Bill Pronzini, Robert Silverberg, and Others


The Arbor House
library. Cover designs by Antler & Baldwin, Inc.

Last week I ordered a copy of The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels, a thick anthology from 1980 edited by  Martin H. Greenberg and Robert Silverberg, and when it arrived I was astounded by the rich assortment of treasures within. Novellas both classic and long overlooked (even by 1980), including “By His Bootstraps” by Robert A. Heinlein, “The Golden Helix” by Theodore Sturgeon, “Born With the Dead” by Robert Silverberg, “The Star Pit” by Samuel R. Delany, “Giant Killer” by A. Bertram Chandler, “A Case of Conscience” by James Blish, “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” by James Tiptree, Jr, “On the Storm Planet” by Cordwainer Smith, “The Miracle Workers” by Jack Vance, and many more.

It made me wonder how I’d managed to miss this book for four decades, and sparked an interest in other Arbor House Treasuries. I knew there were a couple others… a mystery volume, and one on noir, or something? Twenty minutes on Amazon, eBay, and ISFDB (my research triumvirate these days) yielded at lot more than I thought — no less than eleven. I keep hoping a little more digging will yield a clean dozen.

The (very) impressive contents of The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels

The Arbor House Treasuries were published between 1980 and 1985 and covered a wide range of genre fiction, including SF, Horror, Detective, True Crime, and Westerns. They were compiled by a round-robin team of some of the most experienced editors in the field, including Martin H. Greenberg (8 volumes), Bill Pronzini (5), Robert Silverberg (3), Barry Malzberg (2), Charles G. Waugh (2), and John Dunning (who?) with one.

The books were published in library-friendly hardcover and big, beefy trade paperback editions, and while their cover designs could best be described as serviceable, they look very handsome side-by-side on your bookshelf.

The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural (1981), all 599 fat pages

The complete set contains a lifetime of reading (certainly at the pace I’m making my way through them, anyway), and would be the foundation for a robust library of genre fiction.

Here’s the complete details, in order of publication.

The Arbor House Treasury of Modern Science Fiction, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Robert Silverberg (766 pages, $19.95 hardcover/$8.95 trade paperback, April 1980)
The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Robert Silverberg (778 pages, $19.95 hardcover/$9.95 trade paperback, November 1980)
The Arbor House Treasury of True Crime, edited by John Dunning (476 pages, hardcover, January 1, 1981)
The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Barry N. Malzberg and Bill Pronzini (599 pages, $19.95 hardcover/$8.95 trade paperback, May 1981)
The Arbor House Treasury of Mystery and Suspense, edited by by Bill Pronzini, Barry N. Malzberg, and Martin H. Greenberg (607 pages, hardcover, January 1, 1982)
The Arbor House Celebrity Book of Horror Stories, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh (448 pages, $20.95 hardcover/$9.95 trade paperback, 1982)
The Arbor House Treasury of Nobel Prize Winners, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh (319 pages, 1983)
The Arbor House Treasury of Science Fiction Masterpieces, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Robert Silverberg (538 pages, March 1, 1983)
Arbor House Treasury of Detective and Mystery Stories from the Great Pulps, edited by Bill Pronzini (342 pages, hardcover and trade paperback, June 1, 1983)
The Arbor House Treasury of Great Western Stories, edited by Bill Pronzini and Martin Harry Greenberg (455 pages, May 1, 1985)

The sparse covers were by Antler & Baldwin, Inc.

The Arbor House Necropolis, a compilation of three scary Pronzini anthologies

Bill Pronzini published one additional volume in 1981, The Arbor House Necropolis, an omnibus of three of his anthologies: Voodoo! (1980), Mummy! (1980), and the unpublished Ghoul! He provided a separate introduction for each.

Here’s the complete details.

The Arbor House Necropolis edited by Bill Pronzini (725 pages, $11.50 in hardcover and trade paperback, November 1981)

Many of these books enjoyed a long life on bookstore shelves, thanks to constant repackaging by numerous publishers over the years. So The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels became Worlds Imagined from Avenel Books in 1989, The Arbor House Treasury of Science Fiction Masterpieces was reprinted as Great Tales of Science Fiction by Galahad Books in 1985, and on and on.

Worlds Imagined (Avenel Books), a repackaging of
The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels

Many volumes were retitled more than once. The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural, originally released in 1981, was repackaged no less than four times over the next three decades, as:

1985 – Great Tales of Horror & the Supernatural (Galahad Books)
1991 – Classic Tales of Horror and the Supernatural (Quill / William Morrow)
1991 – The Giant Book of Horror Stories (Magpie Books, UK)
2010 – Masters of Horror & the Supernatural: The Great Tales (Bristol Park Books)

I’ll be digging into a few of these books in more detail over the coming months, starting with Great Science Fiction Short Novels, a delightful volume that still makes fantastic reading today.

See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.

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smitty59

I’ve had the first one on your list, picked up not long after it was published. I’ve dipped into it a few times over the years, always with much enjoyment. I had no idea there were others in the same format. Thanks, John!!

Sven

John Dunning (1918-1990) was an American true crime writer who wrote at least a dozen books to on the subject.

I immediately thought he was the same John Dunning who has written multiple acclaimed mystery novels, but was sternly (and belatedly) admonished by Wikipedia not to confuse the two different authors.

Piet Nel

The only one I bought when it came out was Horror & the Supernatural (Pronzini, Malzberg & Greenberg), but I ordered Modern Science Fiction a few years ago. It makes a great companion volume to The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, also edited by Silverbob. I can’t see any overlap between the two.

Brian Kunde

I know of at least one more, that will give you your even dozen: The Arbor House Celebrity Book of the Greatest Stories Ever Told / Compiled by Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh, 1983. Don’t know if there were any more.

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