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A collection completer for Anvil fans. A mixed bag but mostly in his usual style. If you started reading SF as Astounding was changing to Analog, you'll like it. Today, the tech and the themes might seem outdated, but it's still a good read.
Anvil is one of the unsung masters of the short story. It was fun reading about the War with the Outs, as dark as it was in places, and Ghost Fleet is among my favorite Anvil short stories. Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts was another story which delivered an impressive payoff in the last pages (although it might have been better if he hadn’t killed off quite so much of humanity). If you’ve liked any Christopher Anvil short story you’ll probably like almost everything in this book.
The Trouble With Aliens (2006) is the fourth SF work in the Complete Christopher Anvil series, following
Interstellar Patrol II
. This collection contains eighteen stories divided into three categories, most of which were originally published in magazines over three decades ago. This work also includes a Preface by the editor.
The War With the Outs includes nine stories related to the psionically powerful Outs. Three stories were modified for this volume and one is original to this work.
The Prisoner (Astounding, 1956) tells of the damage done by an Out agent loose in the human capital.
Seller's Market (Astounding, 1958) relates the trials of soldiers who are implementing a battle plan.
Top Rung (Astounding, 1958) expounds the problems of the man at the top.
Symbols (Analog, 1966) illustrates the power of thinking outside the box.
Foghead (Astounding, 1958)(modified) shows the hazards of centralized planning.
The Ghost Fleet (Analog, 1961) recounts the experiences of a realistic thinker.
Cargo For Colony 6 (Astounding, 1958)(modified) relates the problems of a group facing a powerful force with only a stripped down battleship.
Achilles's Heel (Astounding, 1958)(modified) conveys the situation of a commander trying to make peace with an implacable foe.
Of Enemies and Allies (first publication) reveals the thoughts of the implacable foe when the humans meet them face-to-face.
Beware of Aliens Bearing Gifts includes three stories on the theme of visitors offering unsolicited products.
The Kindly Invasion (Worlds of Tomorrow, 1966) conveys the thoughts of a prejudiced man.
Mission of Ignorance (Analog, 1968) explains the reasoning behind sending a junior officer to negotiate with the benevolent Galactics.
Brains Isn't Everything (Analog, 1976) introduces the humans to an alien who claims to be their friend.
The Uninvited includes six stories about encounters with the unknown.
The Captive Djinn (Analog, 1965) casts the aliens guards between a trained human engineer and a self-deluded cousin of their Emperor.
The Uninvited Guest (Analog, 1967) is about a highly reflective ovoid floating in a launch complex taking bites out of just about everything.
Sabotage (F&SF, 1966) reports the problem of countering an alien group taking over the minds of some humans.
Mind Partner (Galaxy, 1960) presents the dilemma of a man who lives several lifetimes in rapid sequence.
A Question of Identity (Analog, 1995) involves two humans in the middle of a dispute between a disparaging computer dictator and a very opinionated -- but powerful -- alien.
Advance Agent (Galaxy, 1957) throws Dan into an exotic alien society while a commercial rival tries to take over the population.
These stories are fairly typical of the author's works. He can involve his characters in a most difficult situation and then resolve the story in an almost believable way. More stories in a similar vein are available in the next volume:
The Trouble With Humans
Highly recommended for Anvil fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of humans interacting with aliens and solving the resulting problems.
I loved Anvil's stories since I read them in Analog Magazine, and so I was delighted to find that Flint was editing his work. Having all his wonderful aliens together in a book is terrific! Every story poses a problem for the heroe/s to solve, not by force and fighting, but by using intelligence, thinking things throuh and using available means. Some stories are humorous, others intriguing, but all entertaining. Get this book by all means and if you love SF, you'll not regret it!