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Martin H. Greenberg – Good for Science Fiction or Bad?

With the shrinkage of short story markets, once the major place for the development of new Science Fiction and Fantasy talent, you might suppose that Martin H. Greenberg’s endless themed short story collections are actually good. Except of course that Martin H. Greenberg mainly recycles commonly read stories by recognized authors, which lets them get paid for the reprint and creates an incentive for already well paid authors to keep writing short stories in a marketplace that rewards them better for simply sticking to writing novels.

It’s one justification for Martin H. Greenberg’s endless story collections that he edits the way compulsive gamblers play cards. Unfortunately it’s the only one. The con for the pro that Martin H. Greenberg lets professional authors get paid twice is that his short story collections are invariably terrible. Occasionally a good short story will somehow sneak in to a Martin H. Greenberg collection, probably because it was written 50 years ago by Isaac Asimov. But overall Martin H. Greenberg’s short story collections attract bad and outright overly reprinted stories the way lightbulbs attract moths, with the same destructive outcome.

Somehow it wasn’t this bad a decade or so ago when Martin H. Greenberg had a bunch of short story collections under his belt but they weren’t too frequent or too egregious. Lately though it seems as if Martin H. Greenberg turns out a dozen of them a year and that may be an exaggeration but not that much. Last time I stopped by, I saw at least four new ones and the covers alone made me slightly nauseous. The problem is that there are actually good short story collections out there, none of them however have the name Martin H. Greenberg on them. Martin H. Greenberg has become the Burger King of SF and F short story collections and the results are the same tasteless reprocessed junk.

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