I am not a short story fan, which is odd, given my mouldering span of attention. But there is something irritating about a tale that is over just when you start to 'get' it. But I am a Charles Stross fan, one who discovered him late, and while desperately waiting for another novel to appear, I decided to try out his shorter output via this retrospective volume selected out by the author himself.
Stross has an incredibly wide-ranging imagination. He writes hard science fiction about very far out ideas. In fact the very first story here, Antibodies, is about a theoretical idea whose very existence can threaten reality. From there we go one to the economics of information in a very virtual universe, the coffee club that ate the world, what H. P. Lovecraft only suspected, and other, equally peculiar tales.
Stross's tongue is always squarely in his check, even as he displays an impressive intellect and a deep understanding of what the world inside a geek's head really looks like. I'm to old to be considered a geek any longer, but it is fascinating to read Stross's own spin on what was interesting about my own generation of 'techies' (the title story). And there is even a delightfully ironic narrative about a Y2K apocalypse cruise.
While I haven't been converted to a short story lover, my faith in one of the odder minds out there producing quality science fiction has been confirmed. This is a writer who first made his mark as a short fiction writer. If you want to see what the fuss is about, with the added pleasure of occasional comments by the author, start here.