Door to Anywhere: Volume 5 of the Collected Works of Poul Anderson (Nesfa's Choice)
by Poul Anderson
Review by Steve Sawicki
NESFA Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781886778979
Date: 30 January 2013 List Price $29.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Poul Anderson is one of science fiction's master storytellers. His career spanned more than 50 years and encompassed the pulps, the explosion of magazines, the introduction of the sf paperback lines, and a number of awards. His word count is something over 4 million. That's a lot of words.
This is the fifth book in NESFA's single author series. The series was supposed to be only four books but now it looks like there will be at least seven. There are twenty one stories collected here. Written between the 1950s and the 1980s they give a full representation of Poul's writing.
Unlike novels, short stories are not often remembered by title, or maybe that's just me. And, unless they have been anthologized they are not likely to have been widely read. This is why books like this one are so important to the field. Maybe you have he3ard of or read, "Door to Anywhere", "The Year of the Ransom", "The Master Key", "White King's War", or "Operation Incubus". If not, and you are a student of SF history or just love a good story told in the old ways, you probably should.
Anderson is known for taking an idea and running with it. Often these were simple ideas and often he ran in directions no one else would ever have imagined. His work was also a lot more character driven than his contemporaries, although that moved a bit from one end of the spectrum to the other over his 50 years of writing.
This is a beautiful book. Beautiful to hold, beautiful to look at, beautifully constructed and full of wonder and joy. If you've not read Poul Anderson then this series is an excellent introduction--more than an introduction really, but still a great place to find out what Poul Anderson was all about.
Buying a copy supports not only the thought that older SF still has a place in everyone's modern library but it also helps support NESFA's publishing efforts which deserve that support even if you are not sure Anderson is your cup of tea. With NESFA if not this book then the next will surely contain things you'll simply have to have. Highly recommended.