Reviews for Major Ingredients

Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 November 2000
Russell (1905-78), a British subject who published mostly in the U.S., had an authorial voice that made readers take him for an American. This volume reprints 30 of his short stories, including such classics as "Allamagoosa," "Homo Sap," "Hobbyist," "Jay Score," and "Now Inhale." The predominant themes are Russell's dislikes for pomposity, bureaucracy, and idiotic militarism (Russell has doubts that there is any other kind), and the belief that most people would rather live and let live. Read all at once, the stories begin to seem rather all of a piece, and their generally dated style and content don't help them, either. --Roland Green YA/L: Teens undeterred by the length of the collection will enjoy these classic tales with unexpected twists. CS.Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Kirkus Reviews 2000 October #1
Thirty short stories, 1941-65, from Hugo winner Russell (1905-78; Men, Martians and Machines, 1983), whom NESFA considers with some justification to have been unduly neglected. A favorite of legendary Golden Age Astounding editor John W. Campbell's, Englishman Russell contrived a wisecracking US prose style. Russell wrote best when following his own instincts: satirizing mindless bureaucracy ("Allamagoosa," "Study in Still Life"), denouncing war by proposing alternatives ("Late Night Final," " . . . And Then There Were None"), and presenting aliens as alien rather than as pseudo- or ersatz humans ("Metamorphosite," "Hobbyist," "Dear Devil"). The collection also includes "The Ultimate Invader," which inspired Alan Dean Foster's 1995 expansion-and-rewrite,Design for Great-Day. Other yarns, however, demonstrate the plodding ordinariness of pieces written to order--pandering to Campbell's anthropocentric chauvinism. The consensus opinion on Russell is that he was a top-flight second-rater; these stories aptly illustrate why. Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews