Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2021
Reading again the stuff one was reading some sixty years ago (Ooops!) is a bit like looking at the faded polaroids of a birthday party when you were holding hands with the kindergarten sweetheart - cute, winsome, yet pathetic. These are the seeds of current post-apocalyptic and dystopian fare, so much more naive, sentimental, guileless, and way too verbose. Most of the pieces aged poorly, some were never worth much, some I have re-read in other compilations, few shine bright even after six or more decades. So here it goes, only the good ones. As for the others - silence is their due:
1. A Man Spekith by Richard Wilson - An extra-long, but well written and very literate soliloquy. Very good except for the lame ending
2. Our Town by Jerome Bixby - Read it in another anthology, fair though patterned after London's leper island
3. Eddie For Short by Wallace West - The now over-used last man/woman with a predictable punchline - worth a peek
4. The Great Nebraska Sea by Allan Danzig - Read it elsewhere. actually pretty good geography starter
5. The Black Grippe by Edgar Wallace - Think Saramgo's Blindness and try being forgiving
6. Breakdown by Herbert Kastle - Excellent!
7. Mother to the World by Richard Wilson - Obvious, but bitter-sweet, introspective. Worth the time.
The selection above may comprise a mere 20% of the anthology. Only one excellent and two or three good. I realized that even Leiber could be pretty awful, but that's a risk one must take or limit one's self to the Bible or Shakespeare.