Apeman, Spaceman

Apeman, Spaceman: Anthropological Science Fiction is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Harry Harrison and Leon E. Stover. It was first published in hardcover by Doubleday in June 1968, with a paperback edition following from Berkley Medallion in March 1970. The first British editions were issued in hardcover by Rapp & Whiting in October 1968 and in paperback by Penguin Books in November 1972 (reprinted in 1979). The book has been translated into German.[1]

The book collects eighteen short stories and novelettes by various science fiction authors, interspersed with a foreword, introduction, poems and essays by the editors and others. The stories were previously published from 1893-1966 in various science fiction and other magazines.[1]

Apeman, Spaceman
Apeman Spaceman
cover of first edition
EditorHarry Harrison, Leon E. Stover
Cover artistDonald Crews, Ann Crews
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)
808.83 S889a
LC ClassPZ1.S8932



Publishers Weekly called the anthology "[a]n ambitious, and for the most part rewarding, melange of science fiction, anthropology, and nonfiction about the future" featuring both "tried and true stalwarts" like Clarke, Oliver, Heinlein, Knight, and Del Rey, and "other lesser known writers." Hall's and Suggs's contributions are singled out for particular comment, the former as "one of the most devastating and original satires on Army red tape through the ages we have ever read," and the latter as "both good anthropology and interesting at the same time, no mean achievement." The book is summed up as "[i]n the main, a thoughtfully conceived assortment."[2]

Kirkus Reviews considered the book "a handy and stimulating anthology for the student who might wonder whether what would happen if Pithecanthropus were still around—as a football player for instance. The stories are top notch, from Arthur C. Clarke's Nine Billion Names of God to Peanuts. What if a galactic survey team picked an Eskimo as representative of Earth's highest form of civilization; if dolphins had to train man to survive in their world after the holocaust; if there were a lost tribe of Neanderthals somewhere? Mr. Stover contributes an entertaining lesson at the end to demonstrate where authors went both right and wrong and the book should become a teacher's pet in this science."[3]

The anthology was also reviewed by Yole G. Sills in American Anthropologist v. 71, no. 4, 1969, pp. 798-799.

The anthology was also reviewed by Charlie Brown in Locus no. 55, June 3, 1970, and P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, November 1971 .[1]


  1. ^ a b c Apeman, Spaceman title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  2. ^ Review in Publishers Weekly v. 193, iss. 16, Apr. 15, 1968, p. 92.
  3. ^ Review in Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1968, p. 486.
Anthropological science fiction

The American Anthropological Association defines anthropology as "the study of humans, past and present. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history, anthropology draws upon knowledge from the social and biological sciences as well as the humanities and physical sciences." However, Samuel Gerald Collins of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, Towson University, writing in the journal Science Fiction Studies has pointed out that:

In 1978, Margaret Mead, empathizing with the concerns of the 60s' counterculture, pointed to a grave deficiency in the science of anthropology: "Anthropology has to date made very meager contributions to man's developing concern with the future" ("Contribution" 3). Two decades later, the American Anthropological Association began awarding an annual prize for "Anticipatory Anthropology" in order to ameliorate this shortcoming, what Robert Textor (who sponsored the award and for whom it is named) called the discipline's "tempocentrism" – i.e., its concern only "with the past, the ethnographic present, and the actual present."

The anthropologist Leon E. Stover says of science fiction's relationship to anthropology: "Anthropological science fiction enjoys the philosophical luxury of providing answers to the question "What is man?" while anthropology the science is still learning how to frame it". The editors of a collection of anthropological SF stories observed:

Anthropology is the science of man. It tells the story from ape-man to spaceman, attempting to describe in detail all the epochs of this continuing history. Writers of fiction, and in particular science fiction, peer over the anthropologists' shoulders as the discoveries are made, then utilize the material in fictional works. Where the scientist must speculate reservedly from known fact and make a small leap into the unknown, the writer is free to soar high on the wings of fancy.

Charles F. Urbanowicz, Professor of Anthropology, California State University, Chico has said of anthropology and SF:

Anthropology and science fiction often present data and ideas so bizarre and unusual that readers, in their first confrontation with both, often fail to appreciate either science fiction or anthropology. Intelligence does not merely consist of fact, but in the integration of ideas -- and ideas can come from anywhere, especially good science fiction!

The difficulty in describing category boundaries for 'anthropological SF' is illustrated by a reviewer of an anthology of anthropological SF, written for the journal American Anthropologist, which warned against too broad a definition of the subgenre, saying: "Just because a story has anthropologists as protagonists or makes vague references to 'culture' does not qualify it as anthropological science fiction, although it may be 'pop' anthropology." The writer concluded the book review with the opinion that only "twelve of the twenty-six selections can be considered as examples of anthropological science fiction."This difficulty of categorization explains the exclusions necessary when seeking the origins of the subgenre. Thus:

Nineteenth-century utopian writings and lost-race sagas notwithstanding, anthropological science fiction is generally considered a late-twentieth-century phenomenon, best exemplified by the work of writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Bishop, Joanna Russ, Ian Watson, and Chad Oliver.

Again, questions of description are not simple as Gary Westfahl observes:

... others present hard science fiction as the most rigorous and intellectually demanding form of science fiction, implying that those who do not produce it are somehow failing to realize the true potential of science fiction. This is objectionable ...; writers like Chad Oliver and Ursula K. Le Guin, for example, bring to their writing a background in anthropology that makes their extrapolated aliens and future societies every bit as fascinating and intellectually involving as the technological marvels and strange planets of hard science fiction. Because anthropology is a social science, not a natural science, it is hard to classify their works as hard science fiction, but one cannot justly construe this observation as a criticism.

Despite being described as a "late-twentieth-century phenomenon" (above) anthropological SF's roots can be traced further back in history. H. G. Wells (1866–1946) has been called "the Shakespeare of SF" and his first anthropological story has been identified by anthropologist Leon E. Stover as "The Grisly Folk". Stover notes that this story is about Neanderthal Man, and writing in 1973, continues: "[the story] opens with the line 'Can these bones live?' Writers are still trying to make them live, the latest being Golding. Some others in between have been de Camp, Del Rey, Farmer, and Klass."

A more contemporary example of the Neanderthal as subject is Robert J. Sawyer's trilogy "The Neanderthal Parallax" – here "scientists from an alternative earth in which Neanderthals superseded homo sapiens cross over to our world. The series as a whole allows Sawyer to explore questions of evolution and humanity's relationship to the environment."

Harry Harrison (writer)

Harry Max Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey; March 12, 1925 – August 15, 2012) was an American science fiction author, known for his character The Stainless Steel Rat and for his novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966). The latter was the rough basis for the motion picture Soylent Green (1973). Harrison was (with Brian Aldiss) the co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.

Aldiss called him "a constant peer and great family friend". His friend Michael Carroll said, "Imagine Pirates of the Caribbean or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and picture them as science-fiction novels. They're rip-roaring adventures, but they're stories with a lot of heart." Novelist Christopher Priest wrote in an obituary,

Harrison was an extremely popular figure in the SF world, renowned for being amiable, outspoken and endlessly amusing. His quickfire, machine-gun delivery of words was a delight to hear, and a reward to unravel: he was funny and self-aware, he enjoyed reporting the follies of others, he distrusted generals, prime ministers and tax officials with sardonic and cruel wit, and above all he made plain his acute intelligence and astonishing range of moral, ethical and literary sensibilities.

Human Universe

Human Universe is a British television series broadcast on BBC Two, presented by Professor Brian Cox. An accompanying book was also published.

Leon Stover

Leon Eugene Stover (April 9, 1929 – November 25, 2006) was an anthropologist, a Sinologist, and a science fiction fan, who wrote both fiction and nonfiction. He was a scholar of the works of H. G. Wells and Robert A. Heinlein and a frequent collaborator with Harry Harrison.


"Omnilingual" is a science fiction short story by American writer H. Beam Piper. Originally published in the February 1957 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, it focuses on the problem of archaeology on an alien culture.

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