This book is the second part of a two-book project that has brought back into print all of the science fiction and fantasy of William Tenn. The first volume is Immodest Proposals. A volume of his non-fiction, Dancing Naked, was published in September 2004.
Here Comes Civilization contains the novel Of Men and Monsters, as well as all of the short science fiction that was not included in the companion to this volume, Immodest Proposals. It includes such classic stories as "Bernie the Faust," "The Malted Milk Monster," and "The Discovery of Morniel Mathaway." Also included are several stories that have not been reprinted since their initial magazine publications as well as the short novel A Lamp for Medusa
Tenn has long been considered one of the major satirists in the field. The Science Fiction Encyclopedia calls him "one of the genre's very few genuinely comic, genuinely incisive writers of short fiction."
Paul Di Fillipo writes "William Tenn remains—despite 30 years of subsequent work by other younger, talented writers—the supreme example of Swiftian satire updated for the 20th century and beyond. Fueled by a sharp intelligence, a fierce sense of ethics, a world-weary cosmopolitanism and an abiding affection for mankind despite all its foibles, Tenn also possessed fine literary skills enabling him to get down on paper engagingly circuitous plots, jarring speculations and utterly believable characters, all forming eminently readable stories. In short, he was both timely and timeless, a writer for the ages....My 1960s Ballantine set of Tenn's work has stood for decades as a core part of my collection. Now, younger readers will be able to add these essential volumes to their own libraries."
Table of Contents
Introduction by Robert Silverberg
Here Comes Civilization:
- Bernie the Faust
- Betelgeuse Bridge
- Will You Walk a Little Faster?
- The House Dutiful
- There Were People on Bikini, There Were People on Attu
The Somewhat Heavy Fantastic:
- She Only Goes Out at Night
- Mistress Sary
- The Malted-Milk Monster
- The Human Angle
- Everybody Loves Irving Bommer
For the Rent:
- A Matter of Frequency
- The Ionian Cycle
- Hallock's Madness
- Ricardo's Virus
- The Puzzle of Priipiirii
- Confusion Cargo
- Afterword: For the Rent
- The Discovery of Morniel Mathaway
- Me, Myself and I
- It Ends With a Flicker
- The Girl With Some Kind of Past, And George.
- Errand Boy
A Lamp for Medusa
Essay: On the Fiction in Science Fiction
Of Men and Monsters
- Priests for Their Learning
- Soldiers for Their Valor
- Counselors for Their Wisdom
Afterword to the Two Volumes, "William Tenn: The Swiftest Tortoise" by George Zebrowski
William Tenn was the pen name of London-born Philip Klass. He emigrated to America in the early '20s with his parents. He began writing in 1945 after being discharged from the Army, and his first story, "Alexander the Bait," was published a year later. His stories and articles have been widely anthologized, a number of them in best-of-the-year collections. He was a professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, where he taught — among other things — a popular course in science fiction. In 1999, he was honored as Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the Nebula Awards Banquet in Pittsburgh. In 2003, he was the guest of honor at Capclave. In 2004, he was a guest of honor at Noreascon 4, the 62nd World Science Fiction Convention.
He lived with his wife Fruma in suburban Pittsburgh with several cats and many books. He died on February 7, 2010, of congestive heart failure.
He is not the Philip J. Klass who wrote for Aviation Week and Space Technology (and died in 2005).