'Scientifiction' is used boldly in this collection, and it's a good thing that this term has been brought back to life. "A Different Sky" is an example why. This powerful yet simply told tale is fully realised as it is, but could also be the springboard for a novel. Brooke's feeling for land and for real earth is a beautiful contrast to what lies far beyond the muddy banks and purslane. The juxtaposition is unique. I usually hate any stories that have to do with space, as they are usually either mundane stories about human relationships in artificially-weighted settings and artificially 'alien' biology; or concepts in which the life-forms are artificial. This story goes beyond in so many ways, and isn't the only story in this collection to successfully deal with space, without being 'space opera'.
The nicest aspects of Brooke's fiction are that they are so deep and thoughtful, and thought-provoking, without the slightest hint of pretension. There is much lyricism of place, without anything sounding precious. It's the lyricism of someone who feels it from experience, from tramping in mud rather than sitting at a computer, thinking out fictional plots. The depths of emotional warmth make this thoughtfulness take on a resonance that is rare nowadays--as rare as the invisible author, actor, artist of any sort. This collection (and the others in this series, but this one is my favourite) has such quiet power because of that total involvement in the story and not the writer telling it. For this is, above all, strangely altruistic fiction. Another aspect to Brooke's short stories, that is common to his novels such as THE ACCORD is that, though they are highly political, the politics don't dictate the story and run the characters, nor can one say exactly what Brooke is hoping the reader will take away. As in all the best fiction, the reader can engage with the story and think whatever that reader will, as anyone does, faced with life and one's own experiences to mix with it.