Randall Garrett had a long and illustrious career writing science fiction and fantasy. He is well known for his works such as the award winning Lord Darcy series about an investigator in an alternate reality where the Plantagenets still rule an Anglo-French empire and magic actually works. However, much of his output was originally published under various pseudonyms such as Darrel T. Langart (an anagram of his name), Gerald Vance, Ivar Jorgensen (shared with Paul W. Fairman), and others too numerous to list. Compounding the identity problem are a number of collaborations with other authors such as Robert Silverberg and Laurence Janifer published under the names Robert Randall and Mark Phillips respectively. Or a collaboration with Janifer as Larry M. Harris, a pseudonym used by Janifer for solo works. When all the permutations are taken into account, his list of works really is amazing.
The subject of Anything You Can Do… is an alien who is forced to land on Earth when his spaceship is damaged. The alien is neither evil nor intent on conquest, but is by its very “alienness” unable to recognize human civilization as something to deal with, leading to a path of destruction as it tries to build the means to contact its own civilization.
To counter the alien, the government of Earth creates a super human through biological enhancements. This introduces the second theme of the book, and perhaps the more important one. Would such an enhanced superman still feel that he was human?
The novel, and the earlier short story on which it was based, were written just as mankind was making the first tentative steps into space. Much of the science fiction of this period is concerned with what aliens would be like and what would humanities reaction to them be. Would we be able to live in peace with aliens? Would we even be able to relate to them in any meaningful way? The exploration of these questions is what makes the science fiction of this period so interesting. It is more than just an adventure story dressed up in spacesuits and spaceships.
Anything You Can Do… originally appeared in a shorter version in the magazine Analog Science Fact-Science Fiction in 1962. This edition follows the text of the 1963 Doubleday & Company book. Resurrected Press is pleased to bring you this edition and hope that you will enjoy it.