A collection of science-fiction short stories by the author of "Lucky's Harvest". They feature dozens of characters, a new way of travelling between the stars, a strange planet, magical powers, bravura set-pieces, and manoeuvres of narrative.
Watson (Lucky's Harvest) is an often perplexing beneficiary of the British New Wave movement. His works possess a scattershot brilliance and feature the picturesque imagery and Big Ideas that SF fans love, but these attributes are often presented in a difficult manner. The 11 stories here demonstrate Watson's range. In the title tale, a tour de force spinning on international intrigue and conspiracy, the narrator's doubting of her own perceptions parallels the story's increasingly improbable (yet eerily imaginable) events. Elsewhere, ``Nanoware Time'' takes the themes of traditional SF and conflates them in ways that would make both Isaac Asimov and Bruce Sterling proud. Even stories more limited in scope, such as ``The Tale of Peg and the Brain'' or the frustrating but brilliant ``Life in the Groove,'' overflow with imaginative marvels. Several selections suffer from Watson's most nettlesome stylistic tics, however, and his pack-rat attitude is reflected in his borrowings from the traditional fantasy milieu. While Watson's hodgepodges of plot and transgenre tropisms are often frustrating, even his relative failures never fail to fascinate.