More Than One Universe is a compendium of several of Clarke's collections of short stories gathered together in one volume. As such, devotees of Clarke's work will find nothing new here, but for the uninitiated, this book is a remarkable exposition of the work of one of science fiction's bona fide masters. Although universally acclaimed for his novels (2001: A Space Odyssey, and Childhood's End among others), Clarke's short stories are also widely regarded as classics in the field, and this volume shows why. One of the mainstays of the genre is what may be called the "reading problem" story, wherein the hero is put into a desperate situation from which he (and the reader) are challenged to find a way out. Such stories have been popular since the inception of the form, largely because science fiction opens up so many new venues for the traditional Man Against Nature conflict. Clarke shows his skill at presenting these puzzles, as evidenced by "Summertime on Icarus" (where the hero is in danger of being grilled alive by the heat of the sun), "Into the Comet" (wherein a space vessel loses all visibility and instrumentation) and "Maelstrom II"(orbiting the moon without rocket power), just to pick a few examples. Of course, the real test of a science fiction writer is in how well he works outside the standard formulae, and many of these pieces were ground-breaking indeed when they were first published. Clarke predicts the collapse of Western civilization into decadence in "Patent Pending" and "I Remember Babylon", and more seriously, questions divine will in "The Nine Billion Names of God" and "The Star". "Before Eden" warns how easily space exploration can become a destructive, even genocidal act, while in "Superiority" he describes how a warring nation defeats itself with technological advances. Lastly, "The Sentinel" leaves one of the most memorable (and convincing) depictions of how men might learn of other intelligences in the universe. Not every one of these fifty-odd stories is a masterpiece, of course, and as with most classic s-f, there's very little room for romance -- women are a decided minority in these tales -- so readers of the female persuasion may not be too enthused. On the other hand, this very lack of sexual context makes the book entirely appropriate for even the youngest teens. This is an excellent book for a young reader just discovering science fiction, but be aware that many longtime readers will already own a lot of these stories in other collections.