The 13 Short Novels trilogy (Bonanza Books/Crown, 1984-87). Covers designed by Morris Taub
I spent a lot of hours last year chasing down, reading, and writing about some very fine anthologies produced by the triumvirate of Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh. Their output in the decade before Asimov’s death in 1992 was frankly amazing: some 70 anthologies, including nearly a dozen each in Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction and Isaac Asimov’s Magical Worlds of Fantasy; a decade-by-decade survey of 20th Century SF, The Mammoth Book of Classic Science Fiction; and dozens of others. These were highly readable books assembled with a deep love and knowledge of the genre.
Asimov, Greenberg and Waugh were playful in the themes they chose, and they had a mathematician’s love of lists, in books like The Seven Deadly Sins of Science Fiction and The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Science Fiction, and especially the trio 13 Short Fantasy Novels, 13 Short Science Fiction Novels, and 13 Short Horror Novels — the latter assembled without input from Asimov. The 13 Short Novels trilogy, which collects 39 terrific novellas in three volumes, is long out of print and forgotten today, which is a shame. These are exceptional books, and one is absolutely fabulous.
[Click images for less-short versions.]
Back covers for 13 Short Fantasy Novels and 13 Short Science Fiction Novels.
13 Short Horror Novels in still in the mail, but I’ll scan it when it arrives, I promise.
The first volume, 13 Short Fantasy Novels, was published by Crown Books under its Greenwich House imprint; for the later volumes Crown’s Bonanza Books imprint did the honors. All three are sizeable hardcovers (680-760 pages), and were never reprinted in paperback. Or in digital formats, for that matter. But they’re not hard to track down (or expensive).
All three anthologies are packed with great reading, but the first, 13 Short Fantasy Novels, is absolutely spectacular, especially as an introduction to classic fantasy series.
It contains Thomas Burnett Swann’s Hugo Award nominee “Where Is the Bird of Fire?”, Suzy McKee Charnas’s Nebula award-winning “Unicorn Tapestry,” and Fritz Leiber’s timeless Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser novella “Ill Met in Lankhmar,” a Hugo and Nebula winner, plus a Thieves’ World tale from Poul Anderson, a Jack Limekiller adventure by Avram Davidson, a Conan classic by Robert E. Howard, an Elric novella by Michael Moorcock, a Witch World story by Andre Norton, a Dying Earth tale by Jack Vance, a Dilvish adventure by Roger Zelazny, a Brak the Barbarian novella by John Jakes, and more.
13 Short Fantasy Novels draws from some of the most popular fantasy sources of the era, including two Thieves’ World stories (by Anderson and Janet Morris), and no less than four stories from Lin Carter’s acclaimed Flashing Swords! anthology series (the John Jakes, Michael Moorcock, Andre Norton, and Roger Zelazny). The editors reach all the way back to the 19th Century (with H. Rider Haggard’s “Black Heart and White Heart,” taken from the January 1896 issue of African Review), and from sources published just three years prior (Zelazny’s “Tower of Ice,” published in Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers, in 1981).
Some of the sources for 13 Short Fantasy Novels: Thieves World, The Magazine of Fantasy &
Science Fiction, August 1878, and Flashing Swords! 4. Covers by Walter Velez, Alex Schomburg, and Don Maitz
Here’s the complete table of contents for 13 Short Fantasy Novels.
Introduction: Larger Than Life, by Isaac Asimov
“The Gate of the Flying Knives” by Poul Anderson (Thieves’ World, 1979)
“Unicorn Tapestry” by Suzy McKee Charnas (New Dimensions 11, 1980) — World Fantasy Award nominee, Nebula winner
“Sleep Well of Nights” by Avram Davidson (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1978)
“Black Heart and White Heart” by H. Rider Haggard (African Review, January 1896)
“Red Nails” by Robert E. Howard (Weird Tales, July 1936)
“Storm in a Bottle” by John Jakes (Flashing Swords! #4: Barbarians and Black Magicians, 1977)
“Ill Met in Lankhmar” by Fritz Leiber (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1970) — Hugo and Nebula winner
“The Lands Beyond the World ” by Michael Moorcock (Flashing Swords! #4: Barbarians and Black Magicians, 1977)
“A Man and His God” by Janet Morris (Shadows of Sanctuary, October 1981)
“Spider Silk” by Andre Norton (Flashing Swords! #3: Warriors and Wizards, 1976)
“Where Is the Bird of Fire?” by Thomas Burnett Swann (Science Fantasy, April 1962) — Hugo Award nominee
“Guyal of Sfere” by Jack Vance (The Dying Earth, 1950)
“Tower of Ice” by Roger Zelazny (Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers, 1981)
13 Short Science Fiction Novels was published in 1985, one year after 13 Short Fantasy Novels. It didn’t tap nearly as many well-known series to fill pages, but it had no shortage of acclaimed fiction.
Sources for 13 Short Science Fiction Novels: Astounding Science Fiction (July 1957), Galaxy (June 1963) and
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (March 1981). Covers by Frank Kelly Freas, Richard McKenna, and Paul Chadwick
13 Short Science Fiction Novels contained John W. Campbell’s Retro Hugo Award winner “Who Goes There” (inspiration for John Carpenter’s classic The Thing), Donald Kingsbury’s Hugo nominee “The Moon Goddess and the Son,” Philip José Farmer’s Hugo nominee “The Alley Man” (which lost out to Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” — no shame in that!) Phyllis Eisenstein’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus nominee “In the Western Tradition,” and Barry B. Longyear’s famous “Enemy Mine,” which swept the Hugo, Nebula, Locus and awards (and was adapted into a film staring Dennis Quaid).
It also contains a Time Safari novella by David Drake, a story in Robert Silverberg’s much-loved Majipoor sequence, and much more.
Here’s the complete TOC.
Introduction by Isaac Asimov
“Profession” by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1957)
“Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr. (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938) — Retro Hugo Award winner
“For I Am a Jealous People!” by Lester del Rey (Star Short Novels, 1954)
“The Mortal and the Monster” by Gordon R. Dickson (Stellar Short Novels, 1976)
“Time Safari” novella by David Drake (Destinies, August 1981))
“In the Western Tradition” by Phyllis Eisenstein (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 1981) — Hugo, Nebula, Locus nominee
“The Alley Man” by Philip José Farmer (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June 1959) — Hugo nominee
“The Sellers of the Dream” by John Jakes (Galaxy Magazine, June 1963)
“The Moon Goddess and the Son” by Donald Kingsbury (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, December 1979) — Hugo nominee
“Enemy Mine” by Barry B. Longyear (Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, September 1979) — Hugo, Nebula, Locus award winner
“Flash Crowd” by Larry Niven (Three Trips in Time and Space: Original Novellas of Science Fiction, 1973)
“In the Problem Pit” by Frederik Pohl (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1973)
“The Desert of Stolen Dreams” by Robert Silverberg (The Desert of Stolen Dreams, 1981) — Locus nominee
The last volume, 13 Short Horror Novels, was put together solo by Greenberg and Waugh.
Sources for 13 Short Horror Novels: Astounding Stories (June 1936), New Terrors (Pocket Books, 1982),
and Analog Science Fiction (April 1980). Covers by Howard V. Brown, Lisa Falkenstern, and Paul Lehr
13 Short Horror Novels contains two classic Cthulhu Mythos tales, “The Shadow Out of Time” by H. P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King’s “Jerusalem’s Lot,” plus Theodore Sturgeon’s Retro-Hugo Award winner “Killdozer!”, George R. R. Martin’s Hugo nominee and Locus Award winner “Nightflyers,” Fritz Leiber’s Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award nominee “Horrible Imaginings,” Robert Aickman’s British Fantasy Award winner “The Stains,” and T.E.D. Klein’s World Fantasy Award nominee “Children of the Kingdom.”
Here’s the complete TOC.
Introduction by Charles G. Waugh
“Jerusalem’s Lot” by Stephen King (Night Shift, 1978)
The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle (The Acme Library #1, 1894)
“Fearful Rock” by Manly Wade Wellman (Weird Tales, February 1939)
“Sardonicus” by Ray Russell (Sardonicus and Other Stories, 1961)
“Nightflyers” by George R. R. Martin (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, April 1980) — Hugo nominee, Locus winner
“Horrible Imaginings” by Fritz Leiber (Death, 1982) — Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy Award nominee
“Jane Brown’s Body” by Cornell Woolrich (All-American Fiction, March-April 1938)
“Killdozer!” by Theodore Sturgeon (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944) — Retro-Hugo Award winner
“The Shadow Out of Time” by H. P. Lovecraft (Astounding Stories, June 1936)
“The Stains” by Robert Aickman (New Terrors, 1980) — British Fantasy Award winner
The Horror from the Hills by Frank Belknap Long (Arkham House, 1931)
“Children of the Kingdom” by T.E.D. Klein (Dark Forces, 1980) — World Fantasy Award nominee
“Frost and Fire” by Ray Bradbury (Planet Stories, Fall 1946)
It also contains the complete text of Frank Belknap Long’s short Cthulhu Mythos novel The Horror from the Hills, originally serialized in Weird Tales in January – March, 1931, and reprinted in hardcover by Arkham House in 1963.
The Horror from the Hills (Arkham House, 1963). Cover by Richard Taylor
Here’s the complete details on all three volumes.
13 Short Fantasy Novels (Greenwich House/Crown, 621 pages, price unknown, August 1984)
13 Short Science Fiction Novels (Bonanza Books/Crown, 583 pages, $7.98 in hardcover, 1985)
13 Short Horror Novels (Bonanza Books/Crown, 767 pages, $8.98, December 1987)
13 Short Fantasy Novels and 13 Short Science Fiction Novels both had covers designed by Morris Taub, and if I had to guess, I’d say the cover to 13 Short Horror Novels was too.
All three books have been out of print for over 30 years, but are widely available at eBay and other other sources at very reasonable prices (I bought copies of all three for under 10 bucks). Believe it or not, Amazon still has copies of 13 Short Science Fiction Novels in stock.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Science Fiction and The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Science Fiction
(Fawcett Crest, 1980 and 1981). Covers by Jerome Podwil
Our previous coverage of anthologies by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh includes:
A Fine Addition to Any SF Library: Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction
The Seven Deadly Sins of Science Fiction
Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction 1: Intergalactic Empires
Isaac Asimov’s Magical Worlds of Fantasy 10: Ghosts
We’ve also discussed a few highly enjoyable volumes from Waugh, Greenberg, and others.
See all our recent Vintage Treasures articles here.