Technically, it’s only half a new book as some of the stories in this collection are ones I’ve read before. Of course, they’re Stross short stories, which means they’re always worth reading again to find something new buried deep within them.
The standard’s generally very high – though I’d agree with the author’s own assessment that ‘Trunk and Disorderly’ doesn’t quite work – and many of these stories contain more original and interesting ideas than most novels get into a much longer length. It’s also a good illustration of Stross’ versatility as a writer and his willingness to experiment with style and subject matter. Be it combining entomology and eschatology on a flat Earth in ‘Missile Gap‘, producing a humorous perspective on just what sort of contact SETI might generate in ‘MAXOs’ or producing a head-spinning interpretation of time travel in ‘Palimpsest’, Stross isn’t afraid to take risks and do something new, and it’s the efforts of writers like him that keep sf fresh and away from ploughing the same old furrows again and again. Recommended, even if you’ve read some of them already.