|The Very Best of Eric Frank Russell|
Eric Frank Russell
— used only — Book
Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Stories
Russell was a master of the short story, of bringing out his point in short prose. His characters often display great wit and humor, and he saw in detail how empires and other large constructions could be gotten around.
For example, "A Study In Still Life" shows how the machinations of one low-level clerk manage to get a piece of necessary equipment to a planet beset by a deadly disease despite the fact that the internal buereacracy dictates that a shipment of gin gets priority— and the clerk involved manages to wangle himself a promotion into the bargain. Other stories revolve around the empires of distant times, and how they can be subverted.
More touching, however, are his stories with a more philosophical bent. "I Am Nothing" involves the redemption of a powerful man through the agency of a refugee girl. "Dear Devil" shows how one unifying vision can overcome the lethargy of near-extinction. And stories such as "Into Your Tent I'll Creep" and "Homo Sol" are amusing in how they set mankind's pretentions on their collective ears.
Very good classic science fiction if you can scrounge up a copy.