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Exemplars from the Masters

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

The zeitgeist of the golden age of sci-fi was anchored in the early 20th century, peaked in the 1950s, and continued through the millennium and beyond. It was a time when the giants of the genre were inventing it and honing their skills. Legendary authors like Asimov, Bradbury, Clark, Norton and many others published thousands of penny-a-word short stories in 25-cent periodicals printed on pulp paper. So many of those old stories later became novels, then movies, and sometimes franchises (perhaps with different titles) that we still know and love today.

This is what Sci-Fi Shorts is all about — short, human-scale stories, flavored by science and sprinkled with enough informed speculation to make them interesting. Not science lectures, not poems, but something that blends the two and, above all, entertains us.

Here are two stories from the golden boys of the golden era of sci-fi — Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. These two stories are bookends or mirrors of each other. One is about a planet where the sun almost always shines, and the other is about a place where it rarely does. Both start with scientific premises and go beyond to tell compelling human stories. Of course, we have the luxury to update the science, since we are now living in their futures!

We encourage you to follow the links and read (or re-read) them both.

Asimov’s Nightfall — 1941 Astounding Science Fiction

Bradbury’s All Summer in a Day — 1954 The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

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Regina Clarke
Regina Clarke
Aug 04, 2023

I still remember my first reading of "Nightfall." The surprise of it was a stunner. I didn't always like Asimov's work, not being wired to hard science fiction quite the way he was, but with that story he entered my understanding of great science fiction writing.

As to Ray Bradbury--my primary hero--I have read just about everything he wrote. I have a link to "There Will Come Soft Rains" on my browser. I think I've read "All Summer in a Day" every year since finding it.

Thank you for posting these grand, remarkable stories...


Jun 13, 2023

Nightfall is one of my all-time favorite stories. I am still blown away by how he based the entire story on a single sentence and what a compelling masterpiece he made.

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