The short story format isn't where Alastair Reynolds can be seen at his best. The stories in the Galactic North collection all feel like minor episodes in his Revelation Space universe, lacking the complexity and scope of his novels. Only the title story Galactic North attempts to cover the epic scope of eons, myth and history, but it suffers from compression into the short story format. Moreover, since there is a necessity for them to be read standalone, most of the stories tend to fall back on recognisable plotlines with sci-fi horror twists and shock endings that show their influences much more obviously than the authors extended works. (An interesting postscript by the author is quite open and forthcoming about this).
On the positive side, the stories are all very readable, showing the variation that Reynolds is capable of, and his strengths with characterisation and exciting, dynamic plots. Anyone familiar with Reynolds' work will recognise many of those characters and situations from several of his novels and very quickly work out where the stories are going, but the return visits or expansion into Revelation Space history are welcome nonetheless. Most importantly however, without the exploration of the ideas developed here we wouldn't have the magnificent richness of the universe that is depicted in the Revelation Space novels.