rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m giving this one five stars, not because all the stories were perfect, but because taken as a whole, the collection presents a fabulous variety. Some of the stories are science fiction (like “Cash Crop”), some are contemporary with odd little twists (like “Just Like the Ones We Used to Know”), some have time travel (like “Fire Watch,” which has the added bonus of a Doomsday Book reference), and one is so downright creepy I’d like to forget it. Some short story collections feel awkward, not because the stories themselves aren’t good, but because they weren’t really written to be read all at once. With Willis’ stories, the book is organized by loose themes, rather than chronology, and while the style is all distinctly Willis, they never feel repetitive. The only thing missing was a note about when all the stories were originally published. This book is massive and a bit of a chore to lug around, but it’s just so well-rounded. I don’t always take easily to short stories (which is odd because I spent a whole class writing them in college) but this one more than won me over, and I’ll definitely reread it.