This is Reed's first short collection. While he's made his reputation on novels, he appears regularly in the magazines. There are only 11 stories in this collection. so I assume they were chosen to illustrate a particular theme.
While I enjoyed the stories, I failed to detect the theme. Some of the stories carry a gentle pessimism, an ending twist that has a rueful feel; others end with an upbeat emphasis on the Human will to survive in spite of defeat.
Reed writes powerful, evocative, vivid characters, set in fascinating and exotic scenarios. Several are set in the giant alien spaceship that he explores further in the novel Marrow. Occasionally the stories get a little messagy, a bit too cliched, though 'Waging Good' carries you past the unashamed cliche with its depth of feeling.
Overall a worthwhile addition to story collections, highly recommended.
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