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pghnative
2007-Oct-28, 09:56 PM
Well, not really a book, but a collection of short stories; .... and I'm not really desperate, but it's been nagging me for a while.

Anywho: When I was younger, I enjoyed reading a book of short stories, which I've since lost. I'd like to get another copy, which is why I need the name of the collection. All I remember is:

a) at least one story was by Isaac Asimov -- for all I know, maybe all of them were
b) one of the stories was titled "The (X) names of god" (X was a number), and was about monks (I think) who had been spending years cataloging all the names of God. IIRC, the monks felt that the world would end when they were done. Spoiler (highlight to read): at the end, the narrator, who didn't believe the monks, looked into the sky and saw the stars fading out.
c) another of the stories involved a human transported to another planet along with an alien being. Apparantly humans and these aliens were at war, and some higher beings transported one of each to this planet to battle it out. Winner takes all. In the story, the human and alien are separated by some sort of force-field like barrier, such that they can't get to each other, but they can throw inanimate objects at one another. The alien has the advantage, I think because he/she/it is bigger and stronger. Spoiler: The human wins by figuring out that the barrier prevented concoius beings from crossing. So he stood on a hill, knocked himself out, and rolled through the barrier.

If anyone has any idea what the name of this collection is, I'd greatly appreciate it.

01101001
2007-Oct-28, 10:16 PM
Don't know.

"The Nine Billion Names of God" is within: The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (http://www.amazon.com/Collected-Stories-Arthur-C-Clarke/dp/product-description/0312878214) (and appears in other books).

Maybe The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One (http://www.amazon.com/Science-Fiction-Hall-Fame-One/dp/0765305372). It contains 9BNG and "Nightfall" by Asimov.

(I have no idea if the other story you described is in there. I hate most 20th century science fiction. But, it might be Arena (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arena_%28short_story%29) by Frederic Brown -- which is in that Hall of Fame book.)

Nowhere Man
2007-Oct-28, 11:14 PM
Story 3 is indeed "Arena."

Fred

rdaneel
2007-Oct-29, 02:04 AM
Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume 1 does include Fredric Brown's story "Arena", as well as the Clarke and Asimov stories mentioned above, so there is a good chance that this is the volume you're thinking of.

scotsman
2007-Oct-29, 04:29 PM
Ole' Arthur C can certainly write a heckva last line , "Over head, Slowly and without fuss the starts were going out" - brilliant ....

The Bad Astronomer
2007-Oct-29, 04:48 PM
I have this very book sitting on my shelf. It was one of the first science fiction books I ever read. The stories in it are almost all extremely good. Some are duds, not having survived the ravages of time. Some are also incredibly disturbing.

Highly recommended.

pghnative
2007-Oct-29, 05:34 PM
Don't know.

"The Nine Billion Names of God" is within: The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (http://www.amazon.com/Collected-Stories-Arthur-C-Clarke/dp/product-description/0312878214) (and appears in other books).

Maybe The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One (http://www.amazon.com/Science-Fiction-Hall-Fame-One/dp/0765305372). It contains 9BNG and "Nightfall" by Asimov.

(I have no idea if the other story you described is in there. I hate most 20th century science fiction. But, it might be Arena (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arena_%28short_story%29) by Frederic Brown -- which is in that Hall of Fame book.)Thanks for the leads. It certainly isn't the first one, since that was first published (it appears) in 2000, and I read this collection sometime in the early 80s. It could be the second one, (publised 1970), but I didn't think it was that big (only about 9 - 12 stories, I thought). Who knows, maybe it was just a subset of that one.

I figure I'll either do some searching on "Arena", to see if there are any other collections which include it --- or, it might be easiest to just shift my goalpost, and just get Volume One from above --- looks like an easy way to re-read the two shorts that I most remember, plus get a number of other good reads.

Thanks again to all who pitched in.

jamestox
2007-Nov-09, 05:12 AM
Actually, there was also a paperback of this published in the mid-1970's; I had and read a copy of it while I was in electronics school in Millington around that time. You can see a copy of the cover here:

http://www.amazon.com/NINE-BILLION-NAMES-GOD/dp/B000CLRVT0/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/104-6605984-3335956?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1194584859&sr=8-2

I don't know whatever happened to the book - I may have given it away or traded it back then. I do remember that some of the stories were just plain disturbing and others didn't hold up well (not surprising, considering when they were written).

J.