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Anthologies can be reviewed two ways: (1) as individual stories, or (2) as an editorial creation encompassing story selection, organization, and commentary.
As an editorial creation, this anthology is lacking. After three cogent introductions by the two co-editors and sf writer (and contributor to this volume) Gregory Benford, story selection and organization fall short. A reader might have expected a straightforward chronological approach, which would have had merit as a way of showing the ongoing genre conversation unique to sf, or at least a set of thematic groups (partial notes of which can be found in the afterword). Here, though, there's no apparent organization of the stories, with Nathaniel Hawthorne, Gene Wolfe, Hal Clement, and Raymond Z. Gallun pressed in cheek-by-jowl.
Story selection is hit-or-miss. Very early stories (Hawthorne, Poe, Wells, Kipling, Verne) belong for historical relevance, if nothing else, although their quality is generally higher than most of the stories by the Campbell/Astounding writers ("Proof" was Clement's first sale, which excuse isn't available for the Gallun, Latham, Campbell, Breuer, Garrett, and Jones). As far as hits go, some stories have clear literary and/or sfnal merit--LeGuin's "Nine Lives", Shaw's "Light of Other Days," Clarke's "The Star," Pohl's "Day Million," Benford's "Exposures." The list is not exhaustive, but does indicate the anthology's sweet spot is stories written during 1960-1980.
Another comment about the editorial direction: who is the intended reader? A hard sf purist would turn up his nose at the Ballards, McCaffery, Dick, Gibson, and LeGuin. A new sf reader curious about hard sf would be put off by the poor quality of the stories from the Campbell/Astounding writers mentioned above.
This book would best belong in the hands of someone with fluency in sf who wants to find older, quality stories he otherwise wouldn't. I've been reading sf for 30 years, and this anthology was my first exposure to Theodore Thomas' "Weather Man" (about as good a Campbell/Astounding story as I can imagine), Dean Ing's "Down and Out on Ellfive-Prime," Donald Kingsbury's "To Bring in the Steel" (featuring a "competent man" analog of Kim Kardashian!?), and Wells' "Land Ironclads," among others.